Monday 15 February 2010: The masik is a curved deckbeam in a traditional Greenland kayak that lies just before the cockpit. The knees slide under this beam, and one uses upward pressure of the top of the thighs, or knees against the bottom of the masik to brace when leaning or rolling. Frame 4 in the Sea Rider lies at the position where the masik would be in a traditional kayak. An advantage of a traditional masik over the 12 mm marine ply from which frame 4 is constructed is that a true masik is much wider and so provides a more comfortable surface against which to brace than would the thin plywood of frame 4.
And so I have wanted to make a real masik for this boat. I had tried steaming and laminating 2 strips of red oak about 3/8 inch thick and an inch and a half wide. They bent fine and held their shape well. But because I didn't build a full jig to clamp them, there were small gaps between the strips around the areas near where the bend was the greatest. I also didn't like the fact that at 1.5 inches wide this was still a little narrow. Looking at the way the masik is built in Chris Cunningham's and also in Mark Starr's books on building traditional Greenland kayaks, and also at this nice photo gallery by Bryan Nystrom: Steam Bent Masik, I decided to give that technique a shot.
First a blank is cut from a red oak 1 by 3 inch board:
The blank is cut on a bandsaw so that it thins to about 7/16 inch in the center, leaving the full thickness at the ends. This was steamed for about 30 minutes and then clamped:
After cooling and sitting, when released, there is some springback. But it looks pretty good. I round over the edges, then finish it with a belt sander and it is now ready to be fitted to the gunwales. I think I will cut out the top of frame 4 to install this. But I am still contemplating exactly how to place and attach the masik to the gunwales and whatever I leave left at the top of frame 4.