I’m a half century old software developer (actually a physicist) and got the kayak bug a year ago. I live in the very southeast of Bavaria/Germany close to Rosenheim. Now I’m embarking on building a F1.
(Edit: Find the list of materials and sources at the end after all the paddling images.)
16th March 2019
I’m currently still preparing things. This is already getting a bit lengthy, since I could not get good wood and ended up cutting 30x50mm roof battens (I hope that’s the correct term) on the bandsaw and laminating them for gunwales.
For the ribs I could get some fresh pieces of ash trunks and cut them up on the bandsaw. Planing both down with my Makita hand planer proofed to get a little tricky so I ordered a thickness planer with is currently still to come.
18th March 2019
The thickness planer (a Triton TPT 125) arrived today. After setting it up and hooking it to my dyi dust collection I planed the rib stock to size.
I addition to this I found out that planing a good 30 ribs from roughly 10mm down to 6.5mm generates way more than a bucket of shavings and will fill up the shop vac, too…. completely.
Plans for tomorrow:
– Plane the gunwales and if the ordered router bits have arrived by then route them, too.
– Take some more photographs
19th March 2019
Went home from work early and found the routers I ordered from Wealden Tools in England in the letterbox. Royal Snail Mail seems to have gained speed considerably since last time 🙂 .
I ran the gunwales through the planer until they where 18mm thick screwed them together, marked them and then routed the rib mortises. I decided to I either dowel or screw the deckbeams in since I still lack some appropriate wood for the coaming and thus can’t determine the precise placement of deckbeam 3 in the moment.
Added form boards, capture forms and straps (wrong position in the foto). Checking the symmetry didn’t reveal any oddities, so I kerfed the ends and lashed them together.
Then I ran out of daylight and although winter is already on the retreat here it got pretty cold outside so I called it a day.
20th March 2019
Today I started with pegging the gunwales together
Then marking, cutting and putting the deckbeams in. Since I found a packet of 5x60mm stainless steel woodscrews in the workshop I went the easy route and just screwed them in. Probably not the prettiest way to do that, but fast and easy.
Still having no coaming I could not put in deckbeam 3, but I realised, that it was to short anyway. So I cut up some spruce only to find out that this particular one would not want to be bent at all. I had some hazel lying around, so I tried my luck with that. It steambent like butter.
I currently can’t get proper ash or oak for the coaming, but since I need it to go on with the build I decided that it was time to solve this. I took the saw and went to my wood behind the house to get some more hazel to make a coaming from that. If I get more ash in time I simply will build a second one. I cut the hazel on the bandsaw and ran it through the planer.
My coaming bending form. I admit it looks a bit rustic but I think it will do.
My steambox is too short for a coaming but I figured out I could bend it in 2 steps.
First the middle:
Then back to the box
then bend and glue the ends
21st March 2019
I fetched some more 30x50mm roof battens from the hardware store since I still needed to make the keel, both side stringers and the foredeck stringer.
Back home I decided to bend another coaming because yesterdays was quite thin (6mm) and I had some more hazel left. Seems I just took an image after planing and forgot to do so while bending. Anyway it didn’t look different than yesterdays except that this was 9mm thick.
I cut the new battens in half on the bandsaw and ran them through the planer. The stringers are fine, but the keel had one big knot in it I could not avoid. So I cut it out and joined it back together.
I cut and planed the new deckbeam 3 I had bent and glued up from hazel yesterday and it turned out quite nice even though it looks a little skinny besides the oversized ones I made from spruce. I put the coaming on and screwed the beam in place.
Then on to sorting, marking and cutting ribs. I rounded the edges and then stacked them up in the right order, only to find out that I had cut rib nr 3 to short. Make a new one, tidy up and call it a day.
22nd March 2019
Today I’d just planned to make some bending experiments and to thin the ends of the rips to fit properly into the mortises. But the bending tests with some rib cutoffs went unexpectely well,
so I thinned the rip ends while the additional water warmed up and began bending ribs.
Taking 5 minute intervals proofed a good choice for me. My deepest respect to those who can do it in 1 minute like Brian.
I lost 5 ribs due to questionable grain and pin knots.
I used a simple centering gauge to make sure the center mark of each rib ended up where it should.
Bending ribs freehand like Brian seemed a bit scary to me, so I fixed 2 round pieces of wood to my sawhorse for the initial bends. One with 65mm diameter, the other with 255mm (for those who prefer medieval measuring systems 😉 : 2 1/2″ and 10″ ) . They proofed very handy to me.
Having added a little door to the steambox was pretty good, too. This way you can save valuable seconds.
I had no more time to fit keel and stringers so I just clamped on the keel. The ribs kept their form quite well, so I’m pretty confident that the whole thing won’t run away until tomorrow.
24th March 2019
I just lashed on the keel, today.
25th March 2019
Not much progress today, since I could not leave too early from work and dropped by my local paint dealer to ask about PU coatings. It looks like they have something decent for a very fair price.
I cut both stems to fit and started lashing the bow stem just when the sun went to sleep. When I was finished it had begun to rain and temperature was just about freezing so I stopped for today. The old greenlanders would probably have called something like this a warm summer night 😉 (ignoring the fact, that they don’t have nights in summer….).
26th March 2019
Still just little progress. I got the stern stem lashed in and when I decided to take the night shift, too and lash the stringers on I first realized that I had not beveled them yet and then that I accidentally had cut them to the length of the keel. After shortening and rebeveling I somehow lost momentum…
Just some shaky images with very low light of yesterdays on todays work:
28th March 2019
- lashed on left stringer
- broke right stringer
- made a new stringer
- lashed on right stringer
29th March 2019
Just lashed the ends of the stringers today.
31st March 2019
Just pegged the secondary stringers today. From tomorrow I will be on a business trip for a week, so no progress on the boat 🙁
10th April 2019
If anyone following this wonders what’s up: Brian mailed me last week while I was still on my business trip and told me, that the mid and aft ribs where too round and I would end up with a tippy boat. I tried to fix the ribs with a heat gun, but it didn’t work as planned. I now have to prepare some more ribstock and take the boat apart again. Since I have a couple of other things to work on, so don’t expect to much progress until late April / early May.
16th April 2019
Got a bit of oak for free. Just need some time to get it sawn.
27th April 2019
I figured out instead of waiting until I get the oak sawn I just could resteam the current ribs and try to get them into the right shape. If it fails I just lost some time. So I unlashed stringers and keel and cranked up the the steambox. Since it wasn’t in the way too much I left the keel on the boat so I had a guide for the ribs. I had marked the stringer position on the ribs. That turned out to help a lot in finding the spot where the main bend had to be. Brian mentions that in the video when telling to grab the ribs at the end and bending just above the hand, but I somehow had not realized that this is about the position of the stringer. Reheating and bending the ribs went quite well. I just had to replace 3 ribs for which I still had some ash stock left. Having the keel still there I quickly lashed it to the ribs again.
28th April 2019
Lashed the stringers back on and doweled the aft deck stringers to the deckbeams. To finish off the day I gave the frame a good coat of wood oil but forgot to take some photographs until it was to dark outside. But, yeah I finally see some progress again 🙂
30th April 2019
Today I just got time to take some images
5th May 2019
Winter tries to come back and I to get the skin onto the F1. I took refuge in the carport, but there are probably better things to do on a rainy day at 7C….
7th May 2019
Finished sewing today and then removed the lacing since I had probably pulled a little too hard and got holes in the skin. I recon the skin I use is quite a bit softer than that Brian recommends.
The front turned out pretty OK
The back part is a bit uglier
For anyone not wanting to buy an expensive hotknife: I used a 200W soldering gun with adjustable temperatur. Was just 25.-EUR on ebay and worked fine.
14th May 2019
The last days I was busy with my coaming. Since I had no proper wood at first I just had made one of hazel. But because I thought I would not use it I had skipped the lip. As things go I still have no proper wood so I decided that I would use the hazel coaming. It’s a tough stuff anyway. So I bent a lip for it. Hazel is nearly white and would not look that good on a white boat so I stained it with walnut colored woodstain. For I didn’t want to risk the stain washing into the nylon I had to put some varnish on, too.
Today the coaming went onto the kayak and I could finally shrink the skin. It was a bit dark to take proper fotos so here just 2 very shaky ones.
15th and 16th May 2019
Time for some chemistry
Painting went OK. I used 270ml batches (180ml PU and 90ml hardener). The bottom got 2 double batches and a final coat of one batch. The top 2 single batches and a third coat with a half batch. So all in all it was 1350ml PU and 675ml hardener. Just if anyone wants to use the same stuff. Payed 40EUR for that. I could bring back what I didn’t need. Did I say that I absolutely love that paint dealer?
17th May 2019
Weather was fine today but the forecast for the next days rather bad. So I threw something to sit on into the kayak made a little makeshift backrest and ignoring that I still have to fit deck lines and rubstribs I took it for a maiden voyage onto Lake Chiemsee.
King Ludwig II’s last and unfinished castle Schloss Herrenchiemsee
A bit of panorama: Left Hochgern, right Kampenwand. Both still coverd with some snow.
Ah well, how does the F1 paddle? Good question. I’m not an experienced paddler by any means, so take the following just as a newbies blabla.
Entering was a bit tricky. As long as you sit on top, the F1 feels VERY tippy, but once your bum makes contact with the seat it’s nothing but fine. There are no real waves on Chiemsee except those made by the big tourist boats which can be well over half a meter and very short and choppy. But I never felt uncomfortable even when I got deliberately near to them. The F1 seems to me reasonable fast, but not having paddled my Wave Sport Hydra for a couple of months I’ll have to do some side by side testing. I needed some time to adjust to a boat with no rudder but then it felt just natural. All in all I think we’ll be friends.
8th June 2019
Thorsten (see comments) and I met at Chiemsee today so he could take a ride in my F1. I also had my Wavesport Hydra with me so we could compare them side by side.
Thorsten taking off from Sundowner Beach in my F1 faster then I could grab the camera:
We went across half the Lake and payed King Ludwig II’s castle Schloss Herrenchiemsee a short visit.
Actually we just went to the toilett and took a photograph for you guys 😉
Then we went around the north side of the island, stopped shortly to swap boats on the Krautinsel (the small island between Herreninsel and Fraueninsel) and headed back to the starting point.
This is me in the F1 on the way back.
All in all we spent about 4 hours on the water and the F1 is definitely easier to paddle than the Hydra. I get to like it more and more. Thanks, Brian! Hope I could help Thorsten with his desicion which boat to build.
21th June 2019
I had time to go paddling today until noon, so I went to the Chiemsee again for a short loop around the islands.
Ah and yes in the meantime I added a backrest. Since I could not find a european source for a propper backrest and the seat i my Wavesport Hydra is pretty fine I tried to replicate this. A piece of 2mm alu with some polyethylene foam and a camstrap did do the trick. I just needed to fix some holders on the gunwales.
25th August 2019
I was out on Chiemsee quite a few times now and I have to say that I like the F1 more and more. Today I rolled it the first time, although I still had a paddle float on. I’m still struggling to do it without the float but it’s just a couple of weeks I have taken a 2h rolling training with an instructor in which I used my plastic Wavesport Hydra.
My planned trip to the swedish part of the Baltic Sea fell victim to searching a new job, but I hope to take the F1 with me to a trip to Sardinia in September.
29th October 2019
It’s 2 weeks that I’m back from a 5 week trip to Sardinia, now. Paddling on salt water for the first time, I learned a lot in this short time. At the beginning 30cm waves make you wet your shorts, but after some time trying you find out what the F1 is up to and what you can do with it. At the end of the trip I was out with a guy I met on the campsite in La Maddalena in a solid level 3 sea condition ( 1.3m waves and 25-30km/h wind ) and we still had fun and I never had the impression the the boat could not handle that. This is probably the point to give a very big THANKS to Brian for creating such a good kayak!!!!
Enough talking. Time for some images:
Back home I got myself a water proof camera, an Olympus TG-4 and went paddling on Chiemsee again:
3rd May 2020
High time to get on the water again. Since I started the new job in November I didn’t get to paddle. At first to much work, then low temperature, then the coronavirus. Now watersport is actual OK with the current restrictions, but since a lot of people went to the Chiemsee they closed down all the public parking lots at the shore. Today I decided that enough is enough and that I’d go and see if I can find a place to leave the car where I don’t have to far to get the F1 wet. And what shall I say? I found a cool little parking lot in front of a currently closed hotel in the very northwest of the lake. 20m to the water. Spent a couple of hours to go around all the islands.
30th Aug 2020
Once again paddling Chiemsee today, but no glassy boring sunshine day. The forecast was 14°C, rain showers and wind between 15 and 20km/h changing from NE to W. All in all a bit of choppy splish splash and occacionally up 3/4m waves. Had a good workout and a lot of fun.
24th Sep 2020
Went paddling Chiemsee together with Harry (see comments below) my collegue Filipe this afternoon. We had quite some fun with relatively big waves from a quite strong wind coming the completele other way as all forcast’s predicted. I paddled Harrys skin on frame boat (Whooha! was this little thing tippy!!) most of the way while he tried out my F1 and Filipe did his first kayak ride ever in my Wavesport Hydra. I just took a single image when we had a short stop before he hit the bumpy and way more fun to paddle part. Here the two swapped boats for a moment
Since I get quite a couple of questions about my material sources:
Because of the astronomical shipping costs I did not order anything from the US. Here a list of my materials and the sources (with Brians approval):
- Ballistic nylon 310g/m2 : www.extremtextil.de
- no name Footbraces (25.-EUR): kanucenterhh on www.ebay.de
- Lechler 2 component (29140 and 29340) PU-coating: Farben Schiffmann, Kolbermoor (www.farbenschiffmann.de)
- 1/4″ router bit: www.wealdentool.com (UK manufacturer that sells high quality bits for very competetive prices)
- Dacron bowstring (used double stranded as a replacement for artificial sinew): www.ebay.de
- Holzmann LP700 200W adjustable soldering gun as hotknive (any adjustable soldering gun with 150+W will probably do): www.ebay.de
- Ottocol P84 wood glue: www.ebay.de (Due to some funny health regulation this is only sold to professionals. Some ebay sellers don’t care 😉
- foldable ruler with inch and meter devisions: www.ebay.de (my personal method of not going crazy about medieval measuring systems 😉
All these I can recommend and I would use again if I build another boat.
In case anyone needs local help or just wants to get in touch / paddling with me: Just leave a comment. I can see the nonpublic email address and will respond to you.