NOTE: Plans are designed to be used in conjunction with our Skin-on-Frame Kayak Building Course. Important details in the design cannot be replicated using the plans alone. To comply with our licensing agreement you must first purchase the kayak building video before you purchase plans. See license details below, and check out the FAQ below if you're curious why we don't offer standalone plans.
Equally at home on quiet estuary back channels, extreme surf and howling winds, glassy high mountain lakes, or long trips down big water rivers with occasional rapids, you’ll be hard pressed to find another kayak that can do so many things so well as the F1.
Comfortable, lightweight, maneuverable and quick, with good cargo capacity, excellent handling in surf and wind, and — most importantly — customizable to your exact body proportions, the F1 feels like exactly what it is: a kayak designed by paddlers. We’ve omitted useless overhanging ends that are a hindrance in caves, tight channels, the wind, and your garage, but left the waterline long enough that you can still punch it up to 5 mph when you need to give it some juice. Optimized for normal cruising speeds, the combination of lower weight, a flared hull, and a slightly shorter waterline reduces wetted surface results in noticeably less paddling effort. This combination of playfulness and touring capability means not only can you get where you are going, but you’ll have more fun along the way.
I offer the F1 in 7 scaled sizes to fit paddler 100–250lbs. In addition to the 7 sizes, different modified variations on the design shown in the appendices at the end of the plans. Consult these first because if you choose any of them it affects material purchase, layout, and prep work.
LICENSING AGREEMENT, PLEASE READ:
These plans are designed to be used in conjunction with our kayak building video course. There are important details in the video that you need to accurately reproduce the kayak. Purchase of a plan set allows you to build one kayak for yourself, and another as a gift for a friend who is not building a kayak. Two builders must buy two videos and two plan sets. Children under age 18 may build for free in an at-home setting. Commercial use is allowed with written permission and a plan set purchase for each boat built, contact for details. Violating the licensing agreement is bad karma!
Timeline of Plan Updates, READ THIS (Updated 4/8/22)
Downloadable PDF Plan Set: F1 Kayak
Are plans available in metric measurements?
Because the accompanying video courses call out imperial measurements, and we are constantly making updates to both the plans and videos, we’ve found that metric plans leave a lot of room for potential confusion or error. For builders outside the US, we recommend purchasing a metric to imperial tape measure to make your build easier.
Why can’t I buy the plans without the video course?
Unlike nearly all other forms of boatbuilding, skin-on-frame building has never seen the sort of commercial application that leads to good standardized building practices. Instead, what we have is a small handful of books written by experienced hobbyists. Using the techniques in these books, skin-on-frame building is slower, less efficient, heavier, and less durable than it needs to be.
This is where I started out 20 years ago. Using these books in combination with open access to kayak historian Harvey Golden's research library, I quickly surpassed the existing knowledge, building 15 kayaks my first year and almost twice that my second. From there I taught in-person skin-on-frame kayak building classes, producing between 50–80 kayaks per year for the next 12 years. To put it simply, in 14 years of building over 1000 skin on frame kayaks I developed better kayak designs, and much faster, easier, and more durable ways to build them. Many of these techniques just make the overall building process much simpler and more enjoyable, but some of these techniques are unique to my kayaks. My modern designs are often built with extreme tensions and unfair lines that, while barely visible in the finished product, are critical to performance.
“Ok, but I’ve built skin on frame boats before.” I get this a lot, so if that’s you, let’s dig a bit deeper here. Let’s say you’re going to clamp a stringer on my F1 design, all you’ve got to do is just measure the heights and clamp right? So you go and try to do that in the logical sequence, but every time you go to push the stringer up for that last clamp in the stern the whole thing snaps flat or blasts sideways off the boat. After about six frustrating tries you make the logical assumption that my measurement must be wrong, so you clamp it on ½ inch lower down, and it works fine and gives better skin to rib clearance which makes sense. Later on you get the boat out on the water and kick it up on edge to see this magic F1 edge-turn for yourself….and nothing happens. Why? It’s because of what you did with that chine. What you were supposed to do is clamp the stringer on with 2 inch metal spring clamps at a downward diagonal angle, starting at rib 11, then 1, then 5, then 15, and THEN you can get that last rib to chine connection to stay put in the stern. It’s simple and not hard, but also not at all intuitive, and not described in any book.
Take what I just wrote and apply it to a hundred other things about the kayak, and you can see right away why the video course makes a huge amount of sense. You get to skip the 15 year learning curve and have more fun building a better kayak faster.
How much should I budget for the build?
In addition to the cost of the course and plans, you should budget $550–$750 for your build. Materials costs vary based on local availability, shipping costs, and how many items you choose to build yourself as opposed to purchasing from us.
How will the plans be delivered?
The plan set is a digital PDF file that you'll be able to access through the website after purchasing. You can download and print the file, and will always have access to it and any future updates we may make to the plans through your account on the site.
Do the videos expire? Can I watch on multiple devices?
You can login and view the course on any device. Enrolling in a course gives you lifetime access to the course material, including any updates or additions we make to the material in the future. In fact, that’s one of the main reasons we created these video courses instead of writing a book, because our designs and techniques are constantly evolving and we want you to always have access to the best and most up-to-date information.
I don’t have internet in my shop, can I download the videos to watch later?
You can download individual videos to your device, but be aware that file sizes can be quite large.