Des Moines, IA F1 Build

Hello Everyone,

I have been in the planning process for building an F1 for about 8 months now. I have limited financial resources at the time, and I do not have a woodworking shop, or a wealth of nice tools. I have been slowly collecting chisels, rasps, drills, bits, hand jig saws, clamps, planers, and other tools. I have collected most of it from second hand stores so there has been some work to get things sharp and in working order.  Also, I do not have a table saw, power planer, band saw, or power miter saw. As I have a lot of friends, all of this was able to borrowed.

Here is a little background on my experience with Kayaking. 4 years ago, one of my mother’s very good friends was facing his end of life due to cancer. He was going through the process of finding new homes for many of his prized possessions. One of which was a 1958 Folbot super Tandem folding kayak. He offered to give it to me and transfer the title. The boat had been very well taken care of and is still in working order. I have over the last few years rebuilt a few parts that had been weakened over the years. It remains a favorite of my 5 year old daughter. After spending some time looking at how to replace the skin in the event of a critical failure, I stumbled upon the craft of skin on frame kayaks.

I became enamored with the idea of building one for myself. I dug in to researching the various builders, designs, and styles. I eventually decided to try my hand at a Kudzu Craft Short shot. The fuselage style seemed easier to me and while I seriously considered building one of Brian’s designs, the mortising, steam bending and overall design seemed overwhelming to me. After about 5 months I did complete the Short Shot. It is a great boat, fun to paddle and looks beautiful. It lacked some comfort and due to the fuselage cross members, it is hard to stuff gear into it. I could not use stuff-able float bags with it. So, I decided it was only going to be a first attempt at building a kayak.

When I began my first kayak, I had zero wood working experience. I mean absolutely zero. I had never built anything before in my life out of any material. So, building a kayak seemed way over the top for a first project. I learned a lot about myself during the process. Mostly what I learned is that, despite how daunting a task may appear to be, I am capable of completing it. I started off not believing in myself and ended the process thinking I was capable of achieving whatever I set my heart on.

I guess the reason I am saying all of this is because, I was not the type of person who would have ever believed I could build a kayak. If this is what you believe about yourself, I am here as an example that you can do it. Brian’s building system and class are remarkable in that they take you through every single step. He does a remarkable job of helping guide you past all of the pitfalls of easy to avoid mistakes. Brian holds your hand the whole time and every step seems like a well earned achievement.

I had some left over beautiful rift saw clear perfectly grained cypress from my previous boat, but not a lot of it. With limited financial resources i set out to find wood at a budget. Clear western red cedar is very hard to find in Iowa. But, I was able to find some lovely Douglas Fir boards. they were only ten feet long though. The price was right and from my previous build i was confident in my scarf jointing skills. Bending oak was not able to be purchased locally and all of the local mills did not respond to my inquiries. With limited access to a table saw i opted to acquire the bending oak from Cape Falcon. I am glad I did. I did also have a little bit of western red cedar from a 8×8 post that I had used for for building a paddle a year ago.

My friend is a talented art museum art installer and allowed me access to his shop for a morning where I cut and planed all of my stringers and gunwales. 3-9-2019

Time was cut short though so i was not able to get the cross sections cut.

Knowing I that I would need to make some scarf joints that I could be confident in, I decided that I would need to make a jig. I did not have a power miter saw but did have an antique Stanley Miter saw. The saw for it was very dull though, so after some youtube I got started sharpening it by hand with a small triangular file.


April 3

So I did all that work sharpening my antique miter saw only to realize that the jig I had made for the miter saw would not fit it. So I borrowed a power miter saw from my friend. I built the above jig so i could accurately cut diagonal cuts into my long stringers and gunwales. It worked out pretty well.

One struggle I had on my past kayak with building scarf joints is that when you clamp the two pieces together, they want to slide away as you apply more pressure. To remedy this, I drilled holes into the perpendicular faces through the joint and pounded dowels through the joint. this added stability and kept the two edges from sliding apart. The first photo is a stringer. the second is a gunwale. I decided to cut in butts into the angles to make the joint stronger. I dont know is actually the result. I also put a few dowels through the gunwales. Overall, I was pretty happy with how they turned out. they seem very strong.

Here are some photos of the curved deck beams while under glue and clamp in the forms. I have decided that I greatly despise working with Gorilla glue and will try to avoid using it again. It is messy, sticks to everything, is hard to clean, and leaves a lot of work to do in order to make the finished product look nice. On one of these laminations I clearly used too much glue. Make sure you take Brian’s advice and wax your form. I somehow missed this step and wished I had not. The curved deck beams are made out of Cedar (1) and Cypress (2 of them)



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