Matt the Carpenter’s F1 build, Vancouver, BC


I live on the west coast of British Columbia, and most days see me driving along some of the most beautiful coast lines that I have ever seen.

Being able to access that has long been a dream of mine, but I couldn’t justify the expense of a new kayak. I think that I was mentally prepared to build a boat when I the F1 video came up on Youtube.

That’s where this build begins.

I’ve spent the past few weeks getting my workshop space sorted out. I took Brian’s advice and made myself a simple 16′ long workbench with a sheet of 3/4″ paperfaced plywood for concrete forming (which gives me a nice smooth surface) and ripped it down to 2′ wide so that I could double the length. After this photo, I also added a shelf under one side of the table for tool storage while working.

I also got 2 LED worklights that I have on the ceiling at 1/4 way points on the table that give a nice raking light across to minimize shadows while working. I’ve worked in enough dimly light spaces to really appreciate the value of good lighting.

I had to purchase some new tools and blades for the build, such as a ripping blade for the table saw, a few chisels, and a block plane and the spring clamps. I’m putting together an excel spreadsheet of the costs for the project to help keep track of the overall cost, then also the cost per boat, once you factor out the “one time” expenses.

You can see the spreadsheet here (it’s in Canadian $)

***Note: after starting the milling process, it’s immediately obvious that I over purchased material for this boat, my oak has provided me around 3 full sets of coamings as well as more than enough rib stock for 2 boats. So these prices “per boat” in this spreadsheet are actually going to be pretty high with the wood cost****

This is Henry, he’s our rescued Saluki from Qatar. He’ll be responsible for all of the precise measurements on this build, as well as the emotional support. My wife makes all of his collars (and she has an Etsy shop called LongboiCollars!)

I haven’t been able to find any hardwood around here that has not been kiln dried – the nearest place for that is on Vancouver Island and it would cost a TON to get it over here…so I am going to make do with the oak that I have purchased.

I milled down more coaming than I needed in case I have a catastrophic break on steaming day (3 sets) and put them all in an 8′ section of PVC – filled it up with water and about a 1/2 cup of unscented fabric softener and left it lying in the lawn for a while.

I purchased a moisture content meter off of amazon so that I can check water content in the wood at different stages in time. For this white oak, we are starting at around 10% MC and I’m hoping that I can get it up to 17-20% within a week or two (which is apparently the sweet spot for bending – thanks internet!).

The specialty hardwood store that sold me this beautifully clear oak doesn’t stock cedar products, so I got in touch with the manager and asked him for a quote for the pieces of wood that Brian specifies on the F1 plans. For those few pieces of wood, he quoted me just shy of $1000 CAD before tax (15%).

It’s safe to say that I got really bummed out at that stage. I didn’t think that I’d be able to afford building this boat if I had to pay such a large premium for all of the parts.

But as they say, necessity is the mother of invention and I started to cast my net farther afield. I finally found a cedar wholesaler down near the border who mills their cedar on site and air dries it. They don’t stock the 12″ wide boards that the list specifies, but looking at the cut list, I was able to figure out what kind of dimensions would work.

I ended up looking at their 5/4″ cedar decking plank stock. It wasn’t clear grain to be sure, but because it was such thick stock, I could rip it and then rotate it to achieve a vertical grain, and by buying more than I needed, I was able to cut around the more grotesque defects.

I ended up getting some great looking cedar pieces cut out of that stock and the final price tag on the order was something like $180 CAD! I’ll drive an hour each way to save $900.

But who knows, maybe at the critical moment everything will fail and I will realize that I’ve made a terrible mistake. Who knows! This is my first time building a boat.

Here are all of the ribs and the rips for the deck beam laminations.

I’m also going to be doing a video at the very end of the whole project which I will post on here so stay tuned.

That’s all for this week.


View posts by Matt_The_Carpenter
I'm a journeyman carpenter living in Vancouver, British Columbia. I have never built a boat before!

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