I build traditional style arctic kayaks with lashed wood frames. When I first started building kayaks, I always used lumber that I bought, but after a while, I got the urge to see how well I could do with scavenged lumber. After all, Arctic kayaks used to be built entirely out of scavenged wood. So I started looking out for nice pieces of lumber that washed up on the beach.
The lumber on beaches is good but has a short shelf life. People use it for making fires. City crews remove it and believe it or not, you and I are not the only ones who harvest this natural resource.
So if you want a better selection of lumber, you might want to look to break waters and remote locations inaccessible from land or from the water in conventional motorized boats. The kayak is the ideal craft for getting at this lumber. It has a shallow draft and can be landed on the beach. And surprisingly, even though the average human only operates at 1/7 horse power, you can tow some fairly large pieces of wood behind a kayak. Because lumber is long and thin, it slides through the water easily.
Step 1: Tools
You will need a kayak, a paddle, a quarter inch diameter rope at least 20 feet long and some time to go exploring.
Your kayak will need some kind of deck fitting that you can tie the rope to and that is also strong enough to endure the stress of towing the lumber.
The kayak in the picture, by the way is made at least partially with scavenged wood and the rope is also scavenged off the beach. In other words, the artful scavenger can scavange many of the scavenging tools needed for more complex scavenging.