Lukas’ F1 Build, Burlington, VT

Hi, my name is Lukas, and I’m a graduate student at UVM.  A friend took Brian’s class several years ago, which was the inspiration for me to build my own kayak, though I wanted something a little more stable than the Greenland kayak he made just to get out and do some day trips.

While red cedar is available, it was a more expensive than I was looking for, and I ended up using a 1×12 pine board for all of the long pieces.

Starting cutting the long pieces! I don’t have access to a shop so all the work was done in my backyard

For the laminations, I worked around knots in a 2×6 piece of pine.

I wasn’t able to get the white oak right away, so I did as much of the prep work as I could while waiting to get the oak.

Gluing the laminations together. They might have been a bit thick as one or two broke when bending through the jig.  Also making use of extra clamps that were lying around.
Laying out the gunwales.
Making the rib mortises. I got access to a router later on, but the drill worked fine, even if it didn’t look as nice
Letting some laminations dry after soaking for a day to attempt to bend without breaking.
First time spreading the gunwales! Was trying to get a better estimate of rib lengths to try to save some wood.

I was finally able to get some air dried white oak from a local boat building school and maritime museum.  I picked up a approximately 1″x13″x10′ board, which was cut down into 10′ lengths of rib stock and stock for 2 coamings and lips.  There ended up being plenty left over for a second boat if I ever decide to build one, as I was probably able to use 90% or a little more of the board.

Once I had the stock ready, I got ready to steam bend the coaming, so I could finally mark the location of the 3rd deck beam on the gunwales.   While the long steam bending setup worked, it could probably have used improvements, and some way to make sure that the middle of the coaming and lip got enough steam.  After initial testing went ok, I proceeded with the actual stock, which in the end worked, but was definitely a low point in the build and the most frustrating part to see not working really well.  Definitely some take-away points for the future!

Lots of clamps and glue…
Almost cracked at the apex, and the bottom is a little pointy
Turned out all-right with the lip attached.

I was then able to mark the 3rd deck beam location, and create the mortises.  I had a router for the straight mortises, but didn’t have a long enough bit to get through the angled mortises, so was back to a drill jig for those.

Making mortises. Router mortices do look just a little nicer…

And on-to assembly!

Gunwales lashed together!
Laying out deck beams.
Deck beams in and laying out ribs.

Instead of cutting all the ribs to the same suggested length, I took a little more time and dealt with a little more annoyance lining up the 10′ rib stock pieces to the gunwales and cutting off of those.  In the end I was able to use less than half of all the stock I had.  Because I had plenty of extra, I tried to hide some of the poorer pieces (though it was almost hard to find poorer pieces) in the gentle ribs.  It worked for a few, but some others broke, which were replaced with some nicer stock.

Rib steam bending setup. I found a pot and bundt pan at Goodwill for a few dollars, and used the exiting central funnel in the bundt pan to direct the steam into a hose and into the steaming box. It worked really well, as long as I remembered to keep on putting wood on the fire!
The first two ribs bent slightly off-center, and were cracking a bit so shifting the center would have been a bit harder. I ended up replacing them as well as the other fully broken ribs
Stems and keel attached! I was tempted to go for a straight bow for aesthetic reasons, but ended up still curving it a little bit to stay closer to the Cape Falcon bow shape!
Stringers lashed on, and done for the long day.
Working on the finishing touches.
Moving up in the world with a brand new covered workshop!! Final touches completed, with the first coat of Danish Oil on
Aft deck stringers and secondary stringers

Over the weekend, I skinned the kayak, moving locations again to stay out of the sun.

Draping the skin over the kayak
Bow and Stern sown and stretched and pinned.
Lacing in place to tighten the skin.
Kayak wetted and ironed out.
Danish oil coats doing their job!
Kayak coated!
Hand carving toggles and rib strips.
Finished Kayak! Coated with rub strips and deck straps attached!
Out in the grass, with the first paddle.
Getting ready to launch on the maiden voyage!

All told it took about a month of work once I had all the materials – about 2 weeks to do some of the prep work (cutting down boards, getting ready) working half days usually, or a little less and not every day.

The paddling is amazing, tracks almost perfectly straight, and the balance is really nice, as is being able to turn without paddling just by leaning.  I can’t wait to get out more in it!


  1. Lisa
    August 11, 2018

    Your kayak looks great Lukas!

    1. Lukas
      August 16, 2018


  2. Philip Anderson
    August 25, 2018

    Very nice, inspirational even! I’ve built a yost style skin on frame Disco Bay but am now thinking bending ribs is not so bad and may try an F1.

  3. Lisa
    September 5, 2018

    Lukas, did you use any color on your skin or is that just epoxy over the white nylon?

    1. Lukas
      September 6, 2018

      no color, just the nylon


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