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. Chris
    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. 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. 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. Paul
      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.

  4. Franz
    March 7, 2021

    Hi Paul,
    great to see your F1 on the water. I hope my comments helped a little.
    Nice images. Next time I come to Scotland I have a kayak on the roofrack.

  5. Aidan
    March 23, 2021

    Paul, I’m currently building an F1 in Dublin and am struggling to find a suitable fabric coating. I’m investigating your Lechsys finish and am wondering how it has performed? There are plenty of 2-pack urethanes out there, but I’m worried mostly about flexibility. Coelan seems madly expensive… Any advice welcome.

    Best, Aidan.

    1. Paul
      March 23, 2021

      Hi Aiden, Thanks for your comment. It’s early days yet, I’ve only had my F1 on the water 4 times since the first launch in mid February. I’ve only capsized it once in white horse conditions when I couldn’t get the spray deck on quickly enough. So the boat has been thouroughly soaked inside and out, though the 3 times I did stay upright there was virtualy no water inside. The drain plug in the stern works well and I would say it is essential. The skin has remained tight although I left the boat outside for a few days in damp conditions after my first trip and the skin did slacken off a bit. So I have since kept the boat hanging up inside the workshop between trips. As it is my first experience of skin on frame I can’t compare the flexibility with any other material, although I can say the set is softer and not as brittle as epoxy resin. Cheers Paul

      1. Aidan
        March 23, 2021

        Thanks a mill Paul – sounds like you have no major complaints so far. Next trick is to get it from the UK to Ireland with Brexit barriers in place! Best, Aidan.

      2. Iain Anderson
        July 29, 2021

        Hi Paul, great build and photos. I hope you get good use of your nice canoe over on the west coast. I am in a similar position as you looking for 2 part poly finish options. How is the Lechler product holding up? Any good for abrasions resistance and toughness?

        1. Paul
          July 29, 2021

          Hi Iain
          So far so good with the Lechler coating, though I haven’t used the kayak as much as I had hoped. I am concious that the boat is not as tough as plastic and much more care is required launching and landing. I put gorrila tape on the bow which is sacrificial. It usually only lasts for a single trip especially if there is an onshore wind.

    2. Franz
      March 23, 2021

      Hi Aidan,
      I used the same fabric and PU coating as Paul and am rather satisfied with it. Just stay away from using colored PU. My paint dealer made me a testpiece with colored and uncolored Lechsys and the colored was significantly more brittle because the color is a powder, no a liquid. The uncolored was soft enough.
      A couple of weeks ago I met a guy with a Greenland kayak (replica from Harveys book). He had used Coelan on it. Felt pretty good I must admit. Almost rubberlike and really smooth. Would I used it? If the price was comparable, definitely yes, but sadly it isn’t. Lechsys is OK, just give the bottom 4 or 5 coats.
      Cheer, Franz

      1. Aidan
        March 23, 2021

        Many thanks for the information Franz. I’ll avoid the pigment – I am planning to use the Jacquard acid dye, so hopefully that will work. And, yes, Coelan sounds really good. But not good enough for the price!
        All the best, Aidan.

        1. Franz
          March 24, 2021

          Ah, yes, what I forgot: For the first coat I used foam rollers like Brian does and found that they make quite some foam with the Lechsys PU. Then I used short haired fur rollers (hope that is the right term). Worked quite a bit better. Using a plastic scraper like many of the youtube guys do is probably worth a try, too

          1. Aidan
            March 24, 2021

            Franz – thanks for that advice, which I will follow. I just need to source the product in Ireland now… Best, Aidan.

  6. Jim
    April 11, 2021

    I’m thinking of building a cfk but can’t quite decide between a west Greenland and an F1.
    Does anybody have experience of both? and what’s the general opinion please


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