Lisa’s East Greenland Kayak, Hannibal, Missouri

Hi, my name is Lisa. I am a potter, artist and high school art teacher, originally from St. Louis, MO.

This is my third Cape Falcon build. I have previously built the F1 and West Greenland, which has become my preferred kayak. Sadly, it’s “docked” for the winter since my roll isn’t “iron clad”.

I am not a carpenter, or boat builder. My “shop” setup is rudimentary…circular saw, craigslist table saw, 2 roller stands, a power planer and a router.

Brian’s plans and process make it easy to succeed.

As stated, this is my third build, and has yielded the best, most error free gunwales and deck beams that I have made so far.

I was stockpiling ribs that were from previous builds, and learned that this does not work. The majority did not steam bend well, so I ended up scraping them. Even though I had them wrapped and in a cool place, they were very stiff out of the steam box. It could have been the case that they needed a longer steam time, but some of the last ribs were steamed 15 minutes and still didn’t bend well.  Fresh bending oak made all of the difference.

Update: February 29, 2020

Today I set the stems, keel and stringers. I couldn’t resist “mocking up” the masik and the foredeck stringers. These will be peened together with bronze ringed nails. I’ve never done that before, so I’ll be watching some YouTube videos on peening.

Update March 29, 2020

The frame is oiled and ready for the skin.

I used nails to fasten the foredeck stringers to the masik, and peened over the back side of the nail. This assembly was then attached to the gunnels as one unit. I really liked adding this  metal “element” to the kayak.

I also cut out the rib that my heels get “hung up on” while sliding in and out of the kayak. I didn’t do this to the West Greenland, but the lower masik of this EG makes things a little tighter. It isn’t  so bad sliding in, but if (when ) I have to wet exit, I want a little more peace of mind that I can get out without my feet/heels/knees slowing me down. Removing the rib makes a difference!

Update April 8, 2020

Making Coamings:

The part of the SOF process I procrastinated on the longest, I have now completed.

I made two coamings to give myself practice before the one I would keep. I will actually use the practice one on this East Greenland because I got my wood mixed up. I inadvertently ended up using the more sketchy cut wood on the second attempt. Oh well…it still looks pretty darn good.

Two things happened to the first one with the better wood; the glue foamed out too much and I didn’t get my overlapping of the tails tight enough. It must have sprung open a bit while I was trying to clamp it therefore added about a 1/2 inch…which is just enough to make a difference in the fit to the kayak. I learned a lot by the second one and better controlled the overlapping, especially with adding the nails and working out the gaps.

My biggest struggle is squeezing the dang spring clamps open with one hand. My hands just aren’t strong enough to do the job alone, so for me, having a helper is a must…until I find a “work around”. I also realized that my jig has a peg that sticks out a little farther than the others, and therefore gives a little bulge on one side of the coaming. I couldn’t see this until I made the coaming. As I shave down the peg, I’ll check it with ratchet strap. The thicker edge of the strap material should give me a better visual on the contour.  The other mistake was my glue foaming out of the joint/overlap. I must not have had it clamped enough.

April 25 Update

The skin is on and the only things I have left to do, are to add the deck lines, toggles and rub strips. I’ll take it out tomorrow for it’s first paddle.

I have decided to use clay for my fittings. Since I have Harvey Golden’s book, I can make them to scale and shape. He has drawing from all angles, so it’s super handy to make them accurate. (I love and appreciate that book the longer I have it. It’s a gem of a record of so many details and aspects of the 104 kayaks documented in its pages.)

My only concern with using clay is the wearing of the skin where they touch. The clay I have is not super abrasive, but there is enough grog in the clay body that it is something that I have to plan for, and so I will burnish them smooth like a river stone. I’m sure I’ll make several sets. I might also remake them with some prospected, local clay. The gray, local clay I have from a river bank will probably fire to some version of red due to the prevalent iron content in our soil, and I’d rather have white toggles. I’ll have to test it.

Below is a pic while the clay is still soft and before cleaning them up and burnishing, so it looks kind of squishy and smeared.

Update 4/26/20

Took the East Greenland for a spin today. It’s not as tippy as I thought it would be. It is very fast and quiet. I really like it! I can’t wait to get the deck rigging installed.

Comfort wise, it’s not bad. My legs are very straight out in front of me as I paddle. This is the first time I have thought that I may need to stretch before getting in a kayak. I do feel my tight hamstrings. I love paddling it, though. It is so effortless to propel forward.


  1. Jared
    November 3, 2020

    The two-tone framing looks great. I think you are the only builder (at least the only one who has blogged about it) who has made an F1 AND both the East and West Greenland boats. Can you talk a little about East vs West Greenland boats in terms of fit and handling?

    1. Lisa Wiese
      November 28, 2020

      Hey Jared,

      I don’t know if I ever answered you…but the East Greenland paddles like a dream…it is so effortless. I would love to paddle that kayak every time I’m in the water, but I have to meter out my time in it. The fit is so snug, I can’t paddle it for hours. I’m thinking of making another that deviates away from the historical form, handles just as well, but allows me to flare our my legs just a tad for a more comfortable fit. Not sure I can have my cake and eat it too, but I’ll inquire with Brian. Good for rolling

      The West Greenland is a bit more comfortable. It paddles beautifully too, and is easy to maneuver for a long kayak…It just isn’t the sublime feeling of the East Greenland. Both feel tippy at first but that quickly dissipates.

  2. Tibor
    November 27, 2020

    Yeah as Jared says! I am enviously looking at your pictures for inspiration for my second build 🙂

  3. Lisa Wiese
    November 28, 2020

    Hey Tibor!

    I rarely look back at my blog pictures…but looking back now, man, that frame really is pretty. As it hangs in my garage I don’t get to see the bare frame with it covered with the skin. Maybe I should make another and just leave the frame unskinned!!

    Good luck with your second build. I’m getting itchy to do another.

  4. Wade
    April 25, 2022

    Wow Lisa, great to see an East Greenland being used so far inland! I’m a scant 400 miles from the coast myself. As much as I do want to play in the salty, I’ll be rivers, lakes, and creek-bound for most of my paddling. Thanks for sharing your experience and impressions of the longest CFK (excepting the F2). I’m starting with the F1 flat deck, have wood working experience, and hope to get started very soon. Where did you source the wood for your gunwales? That’s one of the hitches in my plans, I may scarf together some shorter wood. Thanks.

    1. Lisa
      April 29, 2022

      Hi Wade,
      Thanks for your comments. St. Louis, which is 2 hours drive away from my location, has a lumber yard that specializes in western red cedar. Even though they specialize in it, they often dont have a lot or its unusable for kayak gunnwales purposes.

      I have scarf jointed one of my other kayaks and it works well. I have no hesitations about it and just try to licate the joint in a least stressed place…like in front of the cockpit where the gunnwales are starting to relax into the natural curve of the bow.

      Have fun with your build!! Cant wait to see it!


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