Oliver’s F1 Build, Schwyz, Switzerland

Hi everyone,

I’m an 18 year old joiner in the last year of my 4 year apprenticeship. Altought I’m familiar with the machines and everything, I don’t work with solid wood that much. At my workplace, we use chipboard most of the time. This made the build even more interesting for me.

6th October 2021

I went to a big wood supplier an hour drive from my home. I decided to go with larch instead of red cedar, just because it’s growing in europe. I only made one exception for the bending wood where I chose white oak because this is Brians first choice. The supplier didn’t have fresh sawn wood but he gave me airdried boards which should also work. Later that day, I also went to a hardware store and bought everything I could from my shopping list. There were a few things they didn’t have so I had to order these things online.

7th October 2021

Today I cut all the wood down and also plained everything. I’ve made a cutlist with all the mesurements in mm so it was easier for me to not make any mistakes. Even tho this helped, I also always had the plans from Brian with me.

you can see the crack in the stringer on the top

I already faced a few problems here. As you can see, one stringer had a pretty large crack in the middle. Sadly, I didn’t have a long enough leftover so I had to glue the piece together. Another problem came with the white oak. I was so focused on buying straight grained perfect wood, that I buyed a 30mm thick board instead of a 40mm one. To compensate this mistake, I had to plane the rips down to 28mm instead of the 33mm which are in the Plans. But I recently saw another blogger who planed the ribs down to 25mm and had no issues so I hope this also works for me.

30th October 2021

The next step for Preparation was making all the Forms and jigs. This was pretty straight forward altought it took some time.

As you can see I, once again, made my own plans just to save some time while producing everything. For me this just worked much better than just working with the plans I buyed that were all in mediveal measurements.

With all forms and jigs done, I first made the Steambox and after that the laminated deckbeams before I started to make the coaming. The deck beams happened to be made pretty easy. It was kind of hard for me to bend them free handed so i just pinched them between the dowels. I made the jig for glueing 3 deck beas simoultaneously but I forgot that I just had enough clamps for glueing one at a time.

I added some plastic wrap on the inside for a little more isolation.

Zero clearance insert for tablesaw
End thickness of 20.5mm (little bit less than 13/16″)

While I still had the right blade in the tablesaw. I figured I could also cut the ribs to thickness.

Made a test with my router bit before cutting the ribs to find the right thickness.
Cut them to around 6.8 mm for the perfect fit. That’s 0.5 mm thicker than it says in the plans but I thought that would compensate the mistake I made with plaining them to 28mm instead of 33mm.
For this jig, I made the dowels a little bit to short. Becuase of that, I couldn’t let some space between the jig and the deck beam. To prevent the deck beam sticking to the jig, i just taped some bluetape down. this worked very well.
The next step will be finishing the deck beams by plaining them.

6th November 2021

I let the deck beams ran through the thickness plainer to clean them up. The easiest way to do this was just putting them in the Jig.
The “finished” deck beams after I sanded them.
Checking the Gunwales for flex.

Now my order of the steps might confuse you a little bit. Instead of making the coaming first, I started with mortising the gunwales. I didn’t want to do the coaming alone but the person who would help me didn’t have time yet so I started with the gunwales.

Measuring locations for deck beams and ribs
Marking everything
Setting up the plunge router
Checking every mortise for the right depth and width.
Took about 30 minutes to make all the mortises.

My plunge router setup worked pretty well for the rib mortises. After every mortise, I checked the fit with a leftover from my ribs.

When I was finished, the day was already over. Before continuing with the gunwales, I’ll make the cockpit coaming first because I’ll have a colleague help me. After I finished the coaming, I’ll get on with the order of the videos.

9th November 2021

After a normal day of work l tried to make the cockpit coaming in the evening together with a workmate. I set up my Steam machine and the pipe. I didn’t expect it to get this soft but it still held the steam inside. I had 3 sample pieces and one good piece. For the first one I tried a steaming time of 10 minutes, then 15 minutes, then 20 minutes and then 30 minutes. Every piece broke. This was very frustrating but after I broke the last piece, I noticed, that the top of the jig was pretty narrow. I checked the planes and I noticed, that I made the top of the jig one inch too narrow.. My plan was now to replace the narrow piece with a one inch wider piece and also let the wood soak in water for a few days.

Today I also got to buy the coat from a guy who built another skin on frame kayak and ordered way too much skin. Because it was just laying around at his place, I just had to pay the material without the shipping cost. (ballistic nylon from extremtextil)
This soldering gun I got for around 35$ and I think It’ll work pretty good.

13th November 2021

This morning the first thing I did was correcting the jig for the coaming. After that I made a few new coamings and comaning lips. Unfortunately I didn’t have a board of white oak left that had the rigth lenght but we had a board of spruce laying around that had nearly perfect grain orientation. So I decided to make 2 Coamings out of this spruce and for one coaming I decided to split it in two 5mm parts . With this measurement it was possible for me to take a few leftovers from my ash board. In the end I had 3 sets of cockpit coamings. I tied them all together and put them in the long pipe. Then i filled the pipe with water and let it soak in probably until the Frame is finished.

The oak I used for the first coamings was the same as I’ve cut the ribs out of so I knew I had to let them also soak in some water for a few weeks. So I beveled all ribs and also laid them in water.

(At that point, I have to mention that Brian reached out to me in early november saying he was concerned about my ribs that were to thin. After a little back and forth of me explaining my situation and him wanting my kayak to last as long as it can, he offered me to send me a set of Ribs for free. I would have been stupid if I’d rejected the offer so I thankfully took it with the only concern that it would take them very long to arrive.)

After that, I could finally carry on with the Frame. I made the Jig for the 25° deck beams and then I made the mortises with a drill bit. It came out cleaner than I thought but I think if I’d do it one more time, I’d just make an angled deck beam mortise jig for the plunge router becuse that saves time fitting the deck beams.

20th November 2021

Today I started with the last steps of the Prep Course. And that was cutting the rolling bevels on the stringers. The Planer isn’t my favourite tool at all althought it worked better than I thought with the Cockpit Coaming I wasn’t sure that I would get the bevels right. First I tried to get the right motion with the block plane and it turned out that it was also doable with the block plane alone and so I did the first one without the planer. For the other three bevels I started out with the planer and then used the blockplane to make a clean finish.

Takes a little longer with the block plane but I think it’s worth just to be sure I wont mess up the Stringer.
Finished rolling bevel

After I made all four rolling bevels, I continued with rounding the keel and stringers as the last step of the prep course. I rounded them with sand paper.

Before I could start with the assembling I had to make the rib mortises wider so that the ribs from brian would fit in.

And after all the preparing, I could finally start with the first step of assembling the kayak. I put the capture forms over the gunwales and the spreader forms in the marked locations. Then I sew the ends with my japanese saw, drilled some holes for the dowels and glued the dowels and the ends together. Already looks like a boat.

27. November 2021

Fitting the mortise and tenon deck beams was easier than I thought but it also took longer than I thought. It took me around six hours for alll the deck beams. The Videos of Brian were, once again, very detailed and didn’t miss a single advice. The technique with the two special sticks was very convenient. For me, the straight deck beams were way more difficult than the curved ones. First of all because the mortises weren’t as clean because I made them with the drill bit and second of all because the hard ash was harder to work with than the soft larch. At the end of the day after 9 hours total I was happy with the end result and stoked about continuing with the process. In the picture on the right you can see the branch in the right gunwale, I was concerned at first but I’ve never heard any cracking noises so I guess it’s fine.

first deck beam in place

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