West Greenland Kayak Plans

taught by Brian Schulz
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NOTE: Plans are designed to be used in conjunction with the 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 details below.

Based on the CMC-IV-375 hunting kayak, stored at the Canadian Museum of History, this early 20th century West Greenland hunting kayak is the most versatile of any true traditional Greenland kayaks I've paddled.

The moderate length makes it a playful, controllable kayak that is noticeably quicker than longer boats due to the reduced wetted surface. It sits low enough in the water to tackle advanced greenland rolls, but still high enough to be useful as a day-trip sea kayak. Additionally, the deeper than normal foot area combined with my own framing adjustments make this a kayak that is significantly more comfortable than the original while still remaining true to the dimensions and classic lines of the original.

A near perfect Greenland kayak for paddlers 140-175lbs with up to 34 inch inseam and size 11 feet (although modifications for larger feet can be made) Subtracting 1/2 inch from the rib lengths makes this a good fit for paddlers down to 130lbs, or for those looking for a more exclusively rolling focused kayak.

Complete drawings, photos, details, and historical information can be found in Kayaks of Greenland by Harvey Golden, available for purchase at traditionalkayaks.com

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. Violating the licensing agreement is bad karma!

Why can't I buy the plans without buying the video?

Great question, to answer it we need to back up in time. Back in 2009 I put the line drawings as well as a detailed CAD drawing for the F1 online completely for free. In my mind I was giving something back to the kayaking community. Then 'they' started arriving. My assistant calls them F1-abee's. F1's built by people at home, that looked like F1's but didn't paddle like F1's at all. My attitude was "Oh whatever, it's not like many of these are being built." Except I was wrong, and by the time I realized I was wrong hundreds had been built, and stories started filtering in from all over the world of people who tried F1's but didn't like themInitially I was perplexed. Then I realized these people hadn't tried my kayaks, they were trying kayaks built from the drawings. 

What had gone wrong? Well, to start with the lines on a small scale drawing a nearly an eighth inch thick if you blow them up to full size. Add a little fudge factor and the fact that a flexible frame has a tendency to self-fair, and even careful builders were ending up with kayaks significantly different from my kayaks. Then there is the fact that the F1 is a very unfair kayak. It doesn't look it on paper but during the build process there are all kinds of tensions forced into the shape to get it to come out right. Human nature is to fair the lines, the natural tendency of the wood is to fair the lines, and the tendency of the line thickness itself to fair the lines all adds up to a lot of error.

But is it really a big deal? In most sea kayaks it really wouldn't be. A half inch here or there rarely changes anything. The F1 is different, however, because both it's entry and exit from the water rides the edge of what we can get away with and still have clean flow. The bow ribs in an F1 are crushed into such a deep vee that I often crack the first 3 rib mortises, something you wouldn't think was remotely ok unless you'd watched me do it in the video. Don't do this, and you end up with a flow that trips over the transition across the chine and disintegrates into a vortex that makes the finished product paddle like a wet sponge. In the stern the opposite problem is true, the gunwales are forced in just shy of the breaking point and the chines are forced up just shy of the breaking point, and all this adds up to a exit flow so tenuous that a change in angle of more than about 20 degrees causes a vortex to develop. Why would we want a vortex in the stern when we work so hard to avoid it in the bow? Well, normally you wouldn't, but it sure is helpful to yank the boat around once you edge the boat. Miss that nuance, and suddenly the incredible edge turning ability of the F1 vanishes.

These are just a few examples of finer design points that a set of numbers and a drawing can't communicate, and they exist to some degree on all my designs. It's why I couldn't write a book on this. I hope that helps explain why we've structured the information the way we have. Feel free to contact me with any questions. Enjoy your build!

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Brian Schulz
Brian Schulz

Hi, I'm Brian Schulz, owner and instructor for Cape Falcon Kayak. I've been teaching skin-on-frame boatbuilding for the last 15 years. I'm passionate about skin boat design and and helping people learn this amazingly easy and fun boat building system. My other passions include sustainable agriculture, natural building, and off-grid living. Enjoy the classes, and email me if you have any questions.