Paul’s F1 build – Fort William, Scotland

Start up trials

This is what started the project. Quite a few Greenland paddles appeared on club outings. I made one of spruce 1048 gm, followed by one of cedar 782 gm. Compare these with my carbon fibre split (Adventure Technology Quest) 880 gm and a conventional (Palm Drift Pro) split 1243 gm
Started by making up a coaming jig using 22mm flooring chipboard.
Made the nose of the jig by turning a circle from a bit of joist.
Copied the dimensions from my Zegul kayak, much the same as in Brian’s video.
Drain pipe for soaking coaming – used some elm
Steam bending tube lagged with building joint insulation and parcel tape.
First go at bending, nice soft elm but very twisted grain and burrs.
Getting rid of some of the twists while the wood is still damp.

The build starts

Pine gunwhales being compared for bend
Planing the gunwhales
Scarfing the Western Red Cedar keel and stringers
Bending the deck beams; I overdid it with the Gorilla glue!
Delux Steam box with insulation rescued from a skip
Steam box with insulation
Routing rib mortises with fence – too shoogly!
Routing rib mortises with jig – much easier
Cut ribs on the band saw, then through the thicknesser. All my tools are metric so even the slide rule , last used in the 70’s came out; and the callipers are graduated in “thou”!
Smoothing the edges of the ribs, the grooved jig is screwed to the bench.
Nice to see the deck taking shape.
Cutting mortises

Impossible to get dowel of this size locally so it’s a DIY job on the lathe!

Tidying up the dowel ends.

Now for the “loop and gloop” stage.

The skin is Ballistic Nylon, high tenacity, greige fabric, 850 den, 310g/sqm, white from Extremtextil, Dresden and the gloop is Lechler (Como, Italy) LS140 (29140) Isolak High and Hardener (29340).

The materials were bought in a rush before Brexit so I have no idea how they compare to the recommended Corey products used by Brian. So I asked advice from Brian also from Franz (Bavaria) who did use similar products. What follows are some pictures of tests and the final result.

The Launch

A mild day after a long spell of cold weather so the launch is “go”. The F1 has had a few days for the paint to cure but it still reeks. The boat weighs 15 kilos. ready to go, except there are no bouyancy bags. It is easy to lift one handed though I am surprised how far forward I have to hold on the coaming to get the balance. I’m lucky, I can put in in front of the house, down the garden and over the railway.

First Impressions:

A very comfy sit, the matting, back rest and foot rests are all spot on. The full length keel makes it a bit wobbly to start. As there was noone else on the water and with no bouyancy bags I didn’t test the limits but the secondary stability with the hard chines seems good. It paddles easily with no hint of the side deck getting in the way. Directional stability is good, no problem drifting in a staight line while taking photos. On return after two hours on the water the boat was dry inside apart from a few drops carried in from my feet.

Verdict – excellent – can’t wait to try in more testing conditions!


  1. Avatar
    November 29, 2020

    Well done Paul, looks like the Elm has bent nicely, was it green or had it been dried? It’ll be good to see your progress. You’re in a good place to launch and get some superb trips. Best wishes,

  2. Avatar
    Chris Terrell
    December 5, 2020

    That looks like good progress, by the way, it appears that you’ve had to saw the deck beam free from the jig. I prevented this by putting a plastic sheet, with holes for the pegs (i just cut ‘x’s in the plastic), over the board to stop glue adhering to it. It was just a sheet of thin stuff, large plastic bag really, a bin bag would do.

    How has the cockpit worked out? I have some oak left over for both the coaming and added rim that you could have if you need it.

  3. Avatar
    Jason Stone
    February 7, 2021

    Good effort, Well done paul. that looks beautiful.
    I’m interested in making a greenland paddle myself and a skin on frame kayak myself and would love some advice from your own experiences. Here’s my email address incase you want to get in touch and help me out

    1. Avatar
      February 7, 2021

      Hi Jason. Thanks. I made my paddles just by copying others I had seen, and before I had seen CFK’s excellent videos. Unless you have ready access to Cedar I would recommend starting with a bit of cheap spruce or pine from your local builder merchants. That way you can make mistakes and try out the dimensions to suit you. But watch the videos they will short circuit a lot of the potential errors.


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