Inspired by André’s and Cecilia’s builds of two Cape Falcon Kayaks (a LPB and a F1) two years ago, we just couldn’t resist the temptation to build three more. The winters in Sweden are dark, so what could be better to keep the spirits up than spending time together, indulging in the crafting of these beautiful boats? We decided to build three more F1s.
We have a plan 🙂 ….
The overall aim is to build the kayaks mainly one weekend-day every fortnight during the dark season (autumn to spring), and then enjoy them when spring arrives:
August: Order/buy all material for the kayaks.
September: Cut all wooden material.
October: Build the jig to the plunge router mortiser, do the mortising; build and form the deck beams and opt at forming the gunwales.
November: Build the decks and start building the rest of the frames.
December: Bend and attach the ribs, and build most of the remaining parts of the frames, including the keels and the stringers.
January: Finish the frames and build the paddles.
February: Sew the skins, colour and coat the kayaks.
March-April: “Test & Fest” = Swedish for “Test & Party” 🙂
All material ordered (kits etc. from Cape Falcon Kayaks, the wooden material from Cederträ väst AB and the skins and coating from Skinboats.org) and starts arriving… 🙂
And a small addition to André’s well-equipped workshop equipment: digital calipers with rapid converting between inches and centimeters:)
PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) on, and we sawed all wooden material for the three kayaks, using André’s table saw a warm Swedish autumn Saturday. Great to get started!
The excitement and expectations were palpable, and jokes and smiles added to the joyous atmosphere. We double-checked the converted measures from inches to centimetres several times, checked the dimensions on the pieces we sawed and marked. This, since all three kayaks are being tailored to match the users, with slightly different dimensions in each F1. We started sawing the longer pieces, with the material for the gunwales, stingers, keels and paddles, followed by the shorter parts, including the secondary stringers and foredeck stringers.
By the time we sawed the 45 (15 for each kayak) 4 mm wide deck beams (which will be laminated and curved soon) it felt as we were working on a production line with smooth collaboration and an easy work-flow. It took us about three hours to saw all material: In total 180 meters of sawing with mm precision! No wonder lunch was welcome, as was a forest-bathing and mushroom-harvesting tour in the nearby Stolpaskogen forest afterwards, including the delicious Boletus Edulis mushrooms, as seen in the photo. This at the time when the trees just start to dress up in their red and yellow autumn dresses!
This month the plan is to build a jig for mortising the gunwales for the aft deck beams, do all mortising and form the deck beams. In addition we opt at forming the gunwales.
We started by doing the mortising for one kayak at the time. This enabled us to use a ready mortised gunwale as a “check” to a large extent, when measuring and marking all places for mortising on the other kayaks.
We used the plunge router for mortising the front deck beams and the ribs for the lower part of the kayak frame. I found this physically rather heavy, so I was happy André made most of the mortising also for my kayak. Also, nice to place the gunwales parallel to each other and imagine the ribs forming the gist of lower part of the frame… 🙂 Work in progress…
André came up with an easy-to-use jig for mortising the gunwales for the aft deck beams at a 25 degree angle. Using this jig we drilled holes to form the “mortising holes” instead of using the plunge router and were quite happy with the result.
Mortising perpendicularly with the plunge router and at 25 degrees angle with the drill.
Having finished all mortising, we checked the correct lengths of the gunwales for each kayak. I shortened my gunwales to tailor them for my kayak’s size. At this stage we also shaped the bow (front) and stern (rear) ends of the gunwales using a Japan saw. And we took care of the sawdust for later – the red cedar has a very pleasant scent and is becoming increasingly popular to buy for home scent-styling…
Laminating and curving the front deck beams: Forming the curved deck beams was both easy and hard: It was easy and took little time to glue and laminate the beams five layers, but to bend them so they fit the jig … Mon Dieu! Maybe spending time body-building would help … Anyways, collaboration is a good thing, also in cases like this 🙂 !
We were quite happy with the end result, both of the deck beams
and of the gunwales for the three kayaks 🙂
And talking about kayaks… When an autumn day is warm and sunny in Stockholm, especially when it is already mid-October, what is the most alluring thing to do…?
With plus four degrees Celsius and rainfall outside, we gathered in the warm garage to continue the tripple F1 build. Today’s aim was to shape and even all wooden material for the kayak frames:
- Saw the stingers to correct lengths and plane them to the desired shape where the edges cross sections have a triangular shape and then transform into a rectangular shape, 32 inches in (that is, towards the centre of the stingers).
- Round the right angles of the keels, the stringers, the secondary stringers and the gunwales
- Sandpaper the rough surfaces so they become smooth enough
- Plane and sandpaper the curved, laminated, front deck beams (3 for each kayak).
- We built four supports and nailed them on the long working plank, and then used two block planes, a bench plane and an electrical power planer to shape the stringers, with tool choice after individual taste. It took quite a while to plane each stringer into the desired form. For me this felt almost like a meditation and I indulged the rather quiet and focused work with the block plane, stroke after stroke, where each long stroke created a new corkscrew-formed and pleasantly fragrant, cedar-tree sliver. It took us approximately two and a half hours to form the stringers for all three kayaks, and a coffee/tea break was welcome and appreciated.
Working on the stringers and curved deck beams.
2. The next step was to round the right angles, to make them less sharp on all long wooden kayak-frame pieces. To secure smooth and high quality work, we clamped a long support beam on the working plank, so we could push the piece we were working on towards this “stop”. For rounding the right angles we used either the bench plane or one of the block planes. I preferred working with the Stanley block plane (1-12-020) – I appreciate its size and light weight and a, from an ergonomics point of view, good design (except that the support for the index finger is placed a bit too far from the support for the palm to suit my relatively small hands). After a while we got into a smooth work-flow, rounding in total, 84 lengths (2 gunwales, 2 stringers, 2 secondary stringers and 1 keel on all four “longitudinally running right angles” for each kayak, that is 7*3*4 lengths). As we did two rounds on every surface, this resulted in 168 “walks with the planer” back and forth.
3. We sandpapered all rough surfaces either by hand or by using an electrical orbital sander. Working together when using the orbital sander made the work safer and likely of better quality, since we helped each other to press the pieces towards the working plank. Also here we came into a routine that felt smooth and rapid. It felt almost like a cartoon series: material lifted up and placed in the right position by two of us, who then also pressed the pieces towards the working plank, at times playing hand-drums, while one of us danced across the piece with the orbital sander and then took a break while the others took care of the ready-made pieces, and as in a ballet danced to the supply-place (the floor J) and picked up another pair. All this while indulging the fragrance of the cedar-tree sandpapered dust (and maybe to a less extent the, if any, running noses or odd coughs due to the sawdust).
4. During the curing of the lamination process of the curved front deck beams, the Gorilla glue really had expanded, as if trying to escape and then been caught before succeeding. We started by cutting off the gist of the superfluous glue with a Mora chisel knife (Bragging now: this is one of the products, which has been spread worldwide, that I have been the project leader of, and the only one that fits into a handbag). Thereafter we used hand driven planes, the power planer and sand paper to craft three curved front deck beams for each kayak, each with a nice finish (however, adjusting them to fit in the gunwales’ mortised holes is in the plan for next month, when we build the deck-frame).
The curved laminated front deck beams.
When all this was done, we checked that all pieces were marked with the builder’s initial to secure that we choose the right pieces for each tailored kayak, and taped the longer pieces together into bundles for each kayak. We tidied the workshop, again also collecting the sawdust and the wooden slivers from the hand planing. Today’s four tasks took us approximately five hours. Now we’re ready to go, to start building the kayak frames, starting with the gunwales and deck beams. The picture shows two kayaks on the shelves, and the all wooden material for three more ready to go (for each kayak bundled together separately with blue tape).
The wooden material sorted and ready to go, and guarded by the already built dark brown LPB and the Aztec golden F1.
To clean the airways from all the sawdust a short mushroom harvesting tour in the Stolpaskogen forest, was lovely. In the rainfall from dark skies, with very little light seeping through the foliage, the air was fresh. Although it was pretty dark in the forest, the delicious Hydnum Repandum (“Blek Taggsvamp” in Swedish) shone like bright spots in the moss and grass, as if calling: ”Look, I’m here, please pick me” – and became a nice contribution to the Saturday night dinner.