Help with Design Modifications

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by CardboardKing, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. DCockey
    Joined: Oct 2009
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    DCockey Senior Member

    I've seen servicable sails made using house wrap such as Tyvek. A disadvantage is they are very noisy when luffing, but perhaps that is an advantage for someone learning to sail.
     
  2. upchurchmr
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    It probably is possible to buy a rig off the shelf, but the price might be shocking.
    I have been looking for a beach cat mast and sail for a Tri I want to build. Not that many people sailing now days, keep looking at Craigslist for a cheap boat with the size of sail you want. Then be careful it hasn't been out in the sun and completely lost its strength.
    Search on this forum and woodenboat.com for Tyvek sails. There are some guidelines out there, I just haven't been interested enough to keep the link. You might also find something on Duckworks.com
     
  3. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    You can buy used sails from websites. They also buy sails. You could easily find sails that are pretty close to the dimensions you need. About 1/2 price.
    Ones I've bought have been in very good condition.
     
  4. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    making a simple sail from Tyvek or a blue tarp is far cheaper than buying a used one, that may or may not be suitable for the size boat you are building.

    I have made lots of sails this way, use two sided duck tape for the seams, and I also put a layer of one sided duck tape at critical areas. No sewing and easy to alter if you do not like it. learn something about sail shape, they are not just flat sheets, and than experiment with it. cheap way to learn sailmaking.
     
  5. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Log onto polysail.com and have a look at how they are made. It's easy and a great way to sort out rig choices and options on the cheap.
     
  6. CardboardKing
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    CardboardKing Junior Member

    Okay, so where does one get Tyvek or large sheets of HDPE for nothing/next to nothing? I know where I can get cardboard in basically limitless supply for free, but what if I want to make my sail from "donated" material, as well?
     
  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Poly tarp material isn't costly and available from several sources on line. TarpsPlus.com is a place I've used, but there are others. If just fooling around, for testing purposes, then use a cheap, light weight tarp with minimum thread count and low denier. Once you've found a shape that works well, get a 14x14 weave 1200 denier fabric in a weight that's reasonable for your use, which is 6 ounce or less for most folks.

    Tyvek is available as "house wrap" from the big box stores. This isn't the best stuff, because it's perforated (type 16), but is does work. Look for type 14 if you can find it. All of the Tyvek products breath, which isn't especially desirable, but they don't breath much, so not a big deal. The easiest way to get some Tyvek is to find a building that's being wrapped (new construction) and ask for a piece. It comes on huge rolls, of which they'll have some left over. Bring a 6 pack and you'll get a bunch of it.
     
  8. tomas
    Joined: Nov 2012
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    tomas Senior Member

    I was half expecting to read that you were going to make the world's first cardboard wing sail!
     
  9. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Petros Senior Member

    Go to construction sites near the end of the framing phase, or at the clean up phase. They always end up throwing away large pieces of Tyvek, plastic sheets, or tarps in their trash piles or dumpsters. Ask for permission and assure them you will clean up any mess you make, it saves them some haul-off costs but the last thing they want is for someone to scatter they trash pile around the construction site. I have also bought left over ends of rolls for a few dollars at garage sales after someone finished remodeling their house. The heavy plastic sheet could also make a decent sail but you will have to reinforce the edges and the anchor points with layers of duct tape.

    A whole roll will cost about $100, but you get 100 ft of it, WAY more than you will need. So look for scraps, often when large peices fall into the mud or dirt they will not want to clean it off and just put in the trash pile.

    You can seal up the Tyvek with laytex paint, it also covers the writing on it. You can also get free/low cost paint in most paint stores where they mis-matched colors or returns of special mixed colors. They have to treat it as toxic waste so it costs a lot to get rid of, they are usually happy to have you take it away. I like getting the strangest bright colors, they have little chance of reselling it and it looks great on a boat or sail. You can also get several colors and mix it to get enough to cover a boat, even so, a boat does not have to be all one color.
     
  10. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You can remove the printing on Tyvek with a quick acetone wipe. It (Tyvek) also doesn't take paint well, unless you use the etching types designed for plastic, such as Krylon "Fusion" or similar. Spray painting with an aerosol can doesn't add much weight, but hand painting with acrylic house paint sure does, possibly tripling the weight of the sail, which isn't good. Poly tarp is a better product than Tyvek for home made sails. Again, it's plastic so doesn't take paint well, but the Fusion paint I mentioned does stick. You can get low grade poly tarp from the local discount department store, usually in green, blue, silver and black. None of these colors look good. White is the best color and with some decorative spray can painting, say a American flag motif, can look pretty nice. I prefer the naked mermaid theme myself, though the other half gets pissed. If you go this route just remind her, you've styled it after her figure and move on quickly.
     
  11. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member


    I tried your acetone wipe trick, it does not work as good as you think. It will remove some it, smear most of it. Too much of the printing is too well embedded into the surface so it only lightens it.

    I have used cheap latex paint on Tyvek without issue, it covered the acetone smeared printing quite nicely with only one light coat (I used a roller). you only need to paint once side (the side with the printing on it), and it seals any breathablity and makes for a smoother surface, much more smooth than a cheap plastic tarp. I had no issue with it not sticking, it rolled on fine. If for some reason it does not want to stick you can change the ph with just a few drops of liquid soap in the paint, it breaks up any tendency of the paint to bead up on the surface so it will stick. Spray paint also sticks fine
     
  12. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Yeah, you have to keep turning the paper towel soaked with acetone, changing often too. A mixture of xylene (40%), toluene (40%), with a little acetone (20%) mixed in, works better, though you're still smearing it around until you can mop it up.
     
  13. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I was worried about the Acetone damaging the Tyvek laminate, it seemed to change the texture of the surface. It looked like it was dissolving what ever was holding the Tyvek together and I did not want to chance damaging it. Also, those solvents are not cheap to buy anymore compared to getting free mis-matched paint from the paint store.
     
  14. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member


  15. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I've seen this stuff and it's a low grade poly, with a low denier (800) and weave count (10x8 - 10x10). It's also breathable.
     
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