Background I’d seen a number of skin on frame kayaks for years and they had always been under the category of “Why?”. Unlike most kayaks you can’t find a local dealer and take it out for a spin. A friend had mentioned Cape Falcon Kayaks but the idea of spending time and money building one and then saying “Nah, don’t like it”, or worse, building one that would only paddle in left hand circles while slowly sinking had little appeal. I finally tried a F1 in heavy water where I’d been struggling with my glass kayak and the difference gave me the answer to “Why?”.
My purpose for this blog is to keep track of what went unexpectedly well or unexpectedly bad. Brian has done an incredible job of saying what things should be so I’m not going to spend a lot of time duplicating what he has already done.
As in all things I do, I anticipate that this project will take a while, just because.
12/15/2020 Prepping the workspace
First things first, I cleaned out the basement, smaller than Brian’s recommendation but I had no plan B, and built a new table.
12/30/2020 Gathering materials
The majority of the wood came from Compton Lumber. They only had 16 footers, which also turned out to be a stroke of luck. After I screwed the gunnels together I was able to trim them to exactly the same length. I had 2 feet left over for morticing trial pieces. It let me dial in adjusting the jigs and make all my mistakes on scraps.
1/28/2021 Making morticing jigs
The morticing jig I made was slightly different than the one Brian uses. The major difference is that his is attached to the router and you slide it along the work piece. For the one I made the jig is clamped to the work piece and the router slides in the jig. Once I made the jig there were fewer ways to screw up, although it is slower to use than Brian’s jig. Once I used the jig for the rib mortices I repurposed it for the deck beam mortices. It also allowed me to keep both hands on the router at all times. I did manage to mess up a little. I found that the rib mortices were getting a little deeper as I went along. It turned out that every time I did a plunge the plunge stop moved just a little. Gentleness and an eye on the depth gage solved the problem.
2/04/2021 Keel pegging error
I had high hopes that pegging the gunnels would be perfect, gunnels cut to exact size, excellent wood and good instructions but I was off by a little, 3/64th. I pegged the stern well but when I did the bow I did not do the second check after I clamped the wood and it slipped a little. I emailed Brian and he said should be ok but I could just cut the pegs down the middle and put in new pegs. Knowing that my brain would not let go of the error I did the repeg.
2/08/2021 Cutting tenons
Cutting the tenons went well with one small cavate, because I cut the width of the tenon before the height there was no good way to make sure that there wasn’t any forward and back slop. A few had some movement but nothing that really needed repair. Walking the beams over to the mortices to eyeball them might have helped. I also was able to use my wood vice to cut the curved beams a little easier than shown in the lessons.
4/08/2021 Beached whale day
Brian was having no luck getting rib bending stock from his local suppler so he suggested using Josh Swan from JW Swan boatbuilding in Wisconsin. It took about a week to get the ribs delivered, including four extra ones marked test so I could get the feel of bending without it mattering much. They came wrapped and ready to go. I wasn’t 100% sure I was selecting them for the different parts of the kayak in the proper way but I just did my best. The sizing jig and instructions were very clear for this step. I had started the prep work on the rolling table but switched to saw horses when I started to actually build the boat but I decided to switch back to the table. Because it was on rollers I was able to easily move it to work from either side and it gave me a place to put any tools I was working with. I did raise the kayak a little off the surface with carpeted 2X4’s.