This is simply a bank of questions we’ve been asked over the years. 

Can I carry the canoe on my car?  All of Valkyrie craft canoes are transportable on a car fitted with suitable roof bars. When carrying a canoe or sea kayak on a car roof it is very important to use suitable straps or ties that are in good condition. For added safety the canoe should also be tied down to the front and back of the car.

Can I try before I buy?  Yes. Our workshop is only a matter of minutes from the River Bann and we are happy to arrange a time for you to take a boat out depending on availability.  We build to order but do have a number of our personal boats on site that we are happy for customers to try.  Occasionally we arrange for boats to be tried out during outings with the CCKA and at various canoe gathering around the UK and Ireland.

What seats do you recommend?  All of our canoe seats are made by us. For more leisurely users the traditional cane seats look the best but have a shorter life span if treated harshly. Webbing and corder seats are more durable in situations of hard use.

Sea kayak seats are more difficult since they are a matter of preference.  We supply a thin foam seat with the kayaks which provides a low centre of gravity and take the hard ‘edge’ of the slatting.

What is the final finish on the canoe timbers?  Valkyrie boats are treated now treated with Woodskin which is both a saturator and a low sheen varnish as part of the building process. This oil based product is absorbed deep into the wood, impregnating it and replacing oils and moisture removed during the kiln drying processes used in the modern timber industry. Future treatment of the timbers simply requires additional coats of woodskin as and when the wood appears to need it, generally on an annual basis.

Will you deliver the boat for me?  Delivery can be arranged. In each case the most cost-efficient means is used. Cost directly relates to distance and the cost of ferries/ freight outside of Ireland.  In general we work to deliver multiple boats to reduce these costs. In most cases customers collect their boat, often using the opportunity to stay in the area and paddle some of the local rivers and lakes. Follow this link for a guide to Canoe trails in Northern Ireland.

What is the lifespan of the wooden fittings?  The lifespan of any wood is dependant on its subsequent treatment. Even without any maintenance the timberwork will remain serviceable for many years. Reasonable care coupled with annual re-saturation with Deks Olje as and when the wood appears to need it will ensure decades of service. In the interim period between applications of Deks Olje the timbers can be treated with a light application of tung oil, wiped over with a cloth, a ten minute job! Unlike a varnished surface this process does not result in peeling or flaking surfaces and does not require sanding prior to reapplication. The end result is a soft matt sheen. As an interesting aside, in 1989 an oak canoe was pulled out of the ground in County Clare that was dated to 1550 BC. Not one of ours though!

Repairs in wood and fibreglass. We are happy to assess and repair fibreglass and wooden boats. Cost of any repair is based on the materials and the labour required. Prior to doing any work we will provide a quote and ensure that you wish to proceed. If subsequent inspection whilst the work is underway reveals that the damage is more significant or requires more time we will contact you and indicate the problems before proceeding further.

Can you replace the gunnels on a plastic boat for me?  We can replace gunnels on plastic boats. Essentially we fit the same ash gunnels and decks that we use on our own boats. In some cases these have to be modified to fit and seal the double skin of some plastic boats. The cost of this process depends on the amount of additional work required but usually costs in the vicinity of £150.00 for materials and labour.

If the skin is breached can it be repaired?  Absolutely.  It is very very unlikely that this will happen in normal use.  However, repair ability is a key advantage of a Skin-on Frame boat.  Depending on the nature of the breach it can be either stitched and the repair resealed or a patch can be stitched or glued with polyurethane over the hole/ breach.  Carefully stitched, the damage can be only a minor visual issue.  Remember the Inuit boats were skinned using a number of hides per boat with all sorts of crazy stitching patterns depending on the shape and size of the skins used.  A stitched repair can be seen as a character mark and a story to tell.

Can a skin on frame boat be reskinned?  Absolutely.  This is one of the key advantages of a Skin-on Frame boat.  The skin can be easily removed using a hot knife, any damaged timberwork can be repaired and the boat reskinned – effectively rejuvenating it.

How tough is the skin on your sea kayaks?  Tough.  We use 10oz/ 290 gm per sqm Ballistic Nylon coated in flexible two part polyurethane.  The cloth may abrade a little if the boat is dragged over rough surfaces but it is very hard to cut through it.  The attached video is a detailed YouTube discussion of skin on frame durability produced by Brian Schultz of Cape Falcon Kayaks.  We use the same cloths and polyurethane as he does.

Cape Falcon Kayak – Discussion of Skin on Frame Durability.