Rory’s F1 Build with Yellow Cedar Ribs, Vancouver, BC

It’s Early August…I’m standing in my garage taking stock of the offcuts and leftovers from my yellow cedar tandem canoe build. I find myself doing some mental math and realising I have enough yellow cedar left over to make a steam bent cockpit coaming and about 45 F1 ribs..!

I was first drawn to Brian’s designs with the F1 before I found his canoe designs and course. I’ve been contemplating an F1 build for a while and having throughly enjoyed the canoe course and the canoe build it was an obvious choice to pick up the plans and the kayak video course. I have to say that the kayak course is exceptionally polished. Having learned a great deal with the canoe building course plus the detailed instruction in this one I’m finding the material is sinking in quickly.

By mid-August in just a few hours of work I’ve completed the jigs and forms and I’ve steam bent and laminated up a coaming. Because yellow cedar is not as strong as white oak, I’ve laminated two layers for the coaming body and two more for the lip. All mating surfaces are gorilla glued (it helps to have 50 spring clamps left over from the canoe course!), and finished with the usual bronze ring nails but with a 1/32” pilot. Inspired by Brian’s laminated deck beams it is light, incredibly stiff and seemingly pretty tough. We shall see if using softwood for the coaming is a good idea when the skin is stitched onto it – it might split out. Note this boat will likely not see very rough water or e.g. risk of cockpit implosions. 

Tip on the capture forms I had not seen detailed anywhere – If you can safely clamp the blanks on a table saw at the correct angles a plunge cut with a 7-3/4” blade makes light work of accurate edges for all the internal faces – saves fussing with a jig saw and poorly aligned cuts that inevitably result.

August 24th: Deck beams

I was able to get six deck beams with a couple of extra laminations all of clear wood out of a knotty 8’ red cedar 2×4, including a 2” wide deck beam #3 for a sail rig as suggested. Bending the laminates to fit the jig took a surprising amount of force that I wasn’t expecting at first! 

A single stick of red cedar I’ve picked up will do enough aft deck beams for two boats for a couple of dollars. I already have some Douglas fir for deck beam #4. The ash I had used for the canoe was really nice but when thinned to a narrow tip it seemed to chip occasionally. Looking at the joinery of those parts I decided to go with a piece of kiln dried white oak which I’ve added to the wood pile. 

Late August: Ripping! 

A quick Saturday trip to the lumber yard and I’m home with two clear 1x6s of red cedar 16’ long. The ends will serve for the stems, the rest for all the longitudinals. I spent about an hour ripping and trimming the pieces, which are all still 3/4” thick – learning from the canoe build I’ve decided to keep everything at the stock thickness and then I’ll plane them all down in one go on a borrowed thickness planer before assembly.

Unfortunately, one of the 1x6s had a check hidden 1/3 of the way down the board in the centre. My first attempt at a keel fell apart as I ripped it as a result but I turned it into a secondary stringer and I had enough wood to spare for another keel. I really wasn’t expecting that to crop up but the grain on the board I was using for the narrow pieces was a little off. Just a risk to consider if only buying just enough wood!


View posts by Rory
I've completed a Cape Falcon 66 tandem canoe in yellow cedar and I'm keen to build some more boats! Long time fixer, tinkerer and builder of other things. Keen outdoors enthusiast in all seasons. I got into paddling (canoes and sea kayaks) when I met my wife in Ontario many years ago and until building the canoe we have never owned our own boats. I find the idea of skin on frame building really exciting.

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