May 2018, an Idea is born…
Last time long-paddling in a kayak was 1987 ! It was a 2 weeks tour to the Norwegian Fjords. Me and my wife had 2 greenland inspired kayaks that we imported from UK 1982. They where 5m long and 58cm wide and had very tight and small cockpits. Very nice Baidarka models.
Now, 30 years later… Some weeks ago my olde’s daughter did a evening trial paddling. I started to goggle and found Cape Falcon Kayak web site. It took a week and three… four mails to Brian and another builder in north Sweden and I had bought the fundamentals for build of one F1 for my daughter and a LPB for me. Despite Brians video recommendations … I thought I need a bigger kayak than the F1 to distribute my additional new kilos since 1987. And I want to re-live my old kayak that I sold 1992. The build plan has been made and looks like the following:
- July. I hope Brians deliver as promise everything we need (coaming kit and accessories and ribs) – DONE
- August. Prefabricate all parts and build of deck – DONE
- September. The ribbs and keel to be build. A bit scary, when I see all blogs, but I look forward to it – DONE
- October. Skin mounting – DONE
- November. Painting. What color to take?! – DONE
- December. Build of 4 Greenland paddels – DONE
- January. Ice in baltic sea, so impossible to kayak – DONE
- Febuary. More ice on baltic sea Good time for diving under the ice – DONE
- March. Water cold as a drink full of ice-cube’s – DONE
- April. FIRST TRIAL PADDELING – DONE
- New life, restart an old dream – DONE !!!!!
Please follow us to see the progress on our build’s and help me improve the result by giving me hints, tricks and please share your learnings !!
On the blog I miss pictures and videos on the cape falcon kayaks in the water. Please page more usage pictures and videos from expeditions or short tours!!
June 2018, Starting the build . . .
So finally we started our build of the F1 and LPB kayak’s. The day started with understanding the US way of using inch dimensions. In Europe we cut everything by using meter and millimeter. First we downloaded an app to our cellphone’s but is was both boring and time consuming. So we thought we need to build and think in inch from start. I found an old “tumstock” (folding role) with both scales :)) Perfect. Now let’s start !!
The forms and jigs, the steambox and the deck bending jig was build. We also arranged a 16′ long working bench. Without the saw bench this would have been a hard task, now it was done within half a day.
Next will be to find and buy the right materials.
8 Forms ,
One steam box, painted on the inside, using a wall paper remover as steamer (4 liter)
A jig for the deck beam’s. We will only glue one at the time
Portable workbench 96” x 24” . . . . besides the one I already have. The open ends on the bench are needed for the long parts
. . . and a 16′ long for the build of keel and ganwales. I just place it on the newly build bench
July 2018, Pre-fabrication . . .
This weekend we transported the ceder wood we ordered last week, 2 pieces of 16 feet blanks for the long stringers, keel and gunwales and 4 blanks for the 4 paddels (all with 6×2 in section). It took us 3 hours to cut out everything from the blanks. Everything is now ready, nice and straight, only fine tuning left. Deck beam material is also cut and first two in production.
Two Kayaks on the car roof ;)). Next time I hope with skin and ready painted for the first trail test…
2 blanks 16 feet long Canada red ceder
And now cut into 4 gunwales, 2 keels, 10 different stringers and 4 paddel blanks. Strange I think is that the foredeck stringer has same dimension/lenth on LPB and F1 kajak in the drawing, I hope it is no typing issue by Brian :))
Nice looking deck beams 30 pieces, good for 6 beams
First 2 ready, wow, how stable it gets when its glued !!
Everything is now glued and ready finished. 8 pieces should be enough to fail in the cutting process later on. The 4 gunwales are also ready into length/ hight and all cuts.
We did 108 cuts, most of them look good, some a bit shaky and not full straight but it will work just fine I hope.
To do the straight beams cuts in the gunwales with 25 degree angle we used a drill. That was more complicated than we expected. We used a jigg however the gunwale’s are slightly thicker than drawing so the jigg did not fully match and the cuts where very close to the corners of the gunwales on the outside, still half inch down on inside and 25 degree angle – the cut came out close to or on the edge on the outside of the gunwale. I hope the strength will be there anyhow.
August 2018, Deck assembly
First deck in jig. Dimensions looks to match, we feel proved managed so far. Now we need to start assembling process of the F1 deck.
and now we assemble everything together, to the book of Brian ;))
Assembly and pegging of curved deck beams was fairly easy,
Here also som not very perfect results. when mortise the straight beams the jig gave us some issues. I think however this will work anyhow. We will fill the gap with epoxy so it does not damage the skin later on.
Nice curve when ready. I assume the curve come from the geometrical fact that we bend the gunwales with a 25 degree angle. The shape looks very consistent. Same on both sides
Now we plan for the steaming and bending the ribs.
August/september 2018; Ribbes, keel and stringers
Full speed in the build. Yesterday we prepared all ribbs and the steam-box and today was the D day. The day where we when from the category “none ribb-bending people” to “ribb benders”. The material, oak, was bought from Brian. So we hoped to get the best of quality. And gess what. It was perfect. No cracks, Every ribb we bended worked fine, frim first trial rund to the last. We steamed 7 in the box with 1,5 min interval so in total 9 min per ribb. Just perfect. Smooth rythm, relaxed and very hot in the garage. Weight incl coaming the kajak has now a weight of 9,8kg.
Our steam box. Worked 100%. 4 liter water was enough for the complete boat. No refilling was needed.
All ribbs cut and adjusted to fit in the gunwales. We got 2 small cracks in the gunwales during ribb assembly but these we will glue later-on
Very nice an smooth lines. If it looks good it normally works good.
Now only skin and paint left ;))
I was supprized about the stringers and the forces they needed to take during assembly. Before I though the keel would be critical but this was much easier to assemble. When everything was tied up the frame got very robust and stiff. Good.
Im still wondering how my weight will be distributed into the frame w/o damaging anything.
Next step: The coming 2 weeks I will do the LPB build to the same stage as the F1. I can imagine it will go faster now when I know what to do.
This week I have been building the LPB, same process as the F1. Everything went as perfect as it can when you know what to do. One evening assembling deck, one evening preparing keel, stringers and stern(bow, one evening preparing the ribs and then saturday to steam ribs and assembling everything.
Now 2 nice boats. In September we start skinning them
I build a frame to store them as well. I believe they design of the kajak’s makes it best to have them upside down and 1/3 in for the stand.
Below a movie that shows the frame ready and coated. Next step is the skinn! We are very happy reaching this level.
October 2018; Skinning the frame
So, after som weeks of resting, we start again building on our kajaks. On the agenda is the skinning process. The frames are ready smooth and coated. First part was easy, putting the skin on the boat :))
Unfortunatly one of the skinns was to short from supplier ;( Lets see if we can solve this easy
As Brians instruction, Cut, nail and start sew the skin in front/back end.
Looks like a profi
Tighten up with big laches.
The famous shark picture shows in my view good bending ribs. The rope is for the floating bags.
One of the ribs are close to the skin but I think it will work fine anyhow.
Coaming centered and sew to the skin,
Straight line sew.
We are so happy that we started this project.
Here a short video on the F1 we skinned…
and the LPB…
After some thinking and surfing we finally decided to make the F1 “Aztec gold” and the LPB “chestnut”. We mixed as Brian told us and applied the warm mixture onto the skin. After a hour in the garage it was not possible to be there any more. The air was getting sticky.
Listen to the Kayak Drum Test. Even the master would like this solid sound
This weekend we coated the skin. In total we consumed 2 and a half can of coating. The finish was perfect on the hull but the deck could have had some more coating. However we did not want to correct it because it had already dry out for 24 hours. Learning for the next kajaks is to put first layer on and wait some 1…2 hour and then put on a second one. This will secure to get a glancy surface. Anyhow we are VERRY PROWED OF THE RESULT. This evening we attached deck lines, cockpit parts and the nylon protection in the back. ALL READY.
Now winter is here and the only water left not yet frozen is the baltic sea. All smal lakes are already covered with ice. Only weeks left till everything is tight and a kajak and his master can only be home in the garage waiting. So with some stress we took of this morning to testsit the kajaks we have been working on since June this year. Will we fit? will it be tight? Will the waterline come on right height?
First thing I noticed was the weight, 35 Ib (15kg). To put them on the roof of the car was easy. As a matter of fact it blow off just by the wind (car not yet started), luckily w/o any damage.
Well in the water the fit was perfect. I was afraid that the cockpit will be too big but it showed nearly the opposite.
We are so happy now having 2 nice kayaks, one F1 and one LPB. Completely ready.
Some small rain on the deck. But it was both dry and warm in the kayak. I like my color also, which of cause is important.
Cecilia chose was a bit yellowish stile which also was a good decision. W/o any person in it the floating level is very high – Nice !!
In December we start build process of 4 Greenland paddels. Step by step according the video course. Today we made our own drawing based on all inputs in drawing, videos and other sites. We also went to a kayak store to test how it feels with different paddel length and shapes. After this we cut the base wood (canadian red ceder) to the right length and square. When this was completed we applied the drawing dimentions onto the wood
We only have a jig saw so it mut do the work cutting out the shape
This worked out well. All 4 are cut. All with slightly differen length.
Another day another A. The rough shaping is done with a Bosch blue powerplan just as the videos says. Next weekend we continue if not christmas prep sets a stop to it. Realy fun to work on the right side of the sharpie line.
Today we finished the 4 blades. By this all ready. Mission completed. The shaping of the paddels was fairly easy and fast. I think we spend ca 2 hours per blade. For the next time doing a paddel I will spend more time on the direction of the grades, this has a big influence I notice when shaping. Tomorrow we will test paddel if we find icefree water.
All 4 paddels are different in lenght. We want to test if it makes a difference in water. On the picture you see how different the grades are in the wood despite that we cut it same way on all four.
So now 6 month later we have 2 very nice kayaks. Both are absolutely streight, they are light and looks handmade. Im very happy with the finish and the roubust feeling. What I also like is that I easily can carry it alone. Perhaps I will build further one in near future. My sister asked for one. Lets see how life turns out.
Now its time to test. We have looked out a place with shallow water. Here we trained entering the kayaks and finding the right balance. It took an half hour then it was relaxing and nice to sitt in the kayak.
I will post some videos in the future here where you see the kayaks in use in the baltic sea. Hej for now !
January – Boring ice
What to do when you have 2 brand new Kayaks in the garage and the water is 100% frozen? Skating on it is nice but …
From left over ceder wood we did some cups. Not perfect but function is 100%.
It is June, the summer peak season in Sweden! Exactly one year after starting the build of the kayaks. Nice to take day tours, also in the city of Stockholm the water is very good and it is fairly easy.
A month ago a got a question via internet, a japan TV program asked if we would be interested to show our builds. Of cause we said yes!! So we met them a morning in the center of Stockholm. We showed them our boats, explained the build, why we did it, how it went on etc… The final cut will be shown in Japan end of the year. The program has ca 6.5 millon watchers !!
And here everything sum up in 5 minutes,
July 25, 2018
Hi Andre, I jumped to this blog as we are both in Scandinavia. I’m in Finland but originally from the UK. I’ve been here for 30 years and all that time I’ve been sitting behind a computer making corporate magazines and digital marketing for forest industries. However I just completed a 17 months course in boat building and I’m building a 21ft John G.Alden Indian Class day sailing boat. My interesting in boat building came from an interest in kayaks. So I was looking for something to do while I’m stuck at home recovering from a double hips replacement. Now 5 weeks after I’m in a position to start my building the forms etc.
July 12, 2019
Great to read blog.
One quick question. I’m planning on building my canoe in Norway now, but can’t happen to source the skin and urethane that Brian recommend. Where did you get that?
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Happy summer Holliday!
July 25, 2018
Thx for reading. Im just a humble dreamer. Let’s see if it will foat when ready. The drawings and video tips done by capefalcon are super and we learn a lot.
July 26, 2018
Same here, ex graphic designer an web artist struggling to find a craft and build something to touch and feel and leave my kids. Life would be miserable if all they got to show would be a USB memory stick with some .fbx files on it 🙂
July 30, 2018
Looks nice Andre, I am glad that you decided to build the Cape Falcon kayaks. Soon we can start a Scandinavian CapeFalconKayaks community 😉 It will be interesting to follow the progress of your building. I hope that I will get the chance to see your kayaks IRL at some point and compare with my F1 and see what it looks like when you have had access to Brians instructions.
August 1, 2018
September 28, 2020
Nice to read about your builds! I am living in the Stockholm area too and have a hard time sourcing wood. Either it’s the right dimensions but poor quality or vice versa. Do you have any tips? I think I might have broken Google searching for a decent sawmill that actually want to help 🙂
My limitations, apart from the obvious lack of knowledge, is I only have hand power tools.
October 1, 2020
I hand over my tips in a separate mail :))