Skin material for skin on frame kayak

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Hultis, Aug 29, 2014.

  1. Hultis
    Joined: Aug 2014
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    Hultis New Member

    I'll soon be finished with my first SOF kayak and well, I'm hooked and already planning the next one. I bought the skin from skinboats and while it certainly is good stuff it also cost an arm and a leg after adding VAT and shipping to Sweden.

    I'm curious if I can use something more readily and cheaply available to me without sacrificing too much quality. I can get 300gsm/9oz fiberglass weave and epoxy/polyester/polyurethane at a much cheaper rate, and that could also potentially (?) become practically transparent which would be awesome. However, I suspect that the fiberglass would be hard to get around curves and the result would break instead of flex. Is it (or a similar approach) a good idea? Are any fully transparent skins feasible?
     
  2. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Have you looked at yostwerks.com ?
    Clear vinyl can be used to skin the boat. It is supposed to be not very durable for scratching.
    Also it will fog up if there is any water inside in the sunlight, so get a picture quick while it is clear. gentrycustomboats.com makes a comment on that

    I used ordinary varnish to seal the skin (polyester/ Dacron). It doesn't go fully transparent, but looks translucent - you can see the outline of the frame in the sunlight.

    What kind of cloth did you use? You really didn't build a boat unless you show us a picture. :D
    Oh, and what kind of boat?

    How much did VAT and shipping add? I get 8 or 9oz dacron for $2.50/ yard 50" wide.
     
  3. Poida
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    Poida Senior Member

    I believe years ago they used hessian and shellac. I have no idea what shellac is, possibly a resin of some sort.

    Poida
     
  4. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Shellac is a resin secreted by the female lac bug, on trees in the forests of India and Thailand. It is processed and sold as dry flakes (pictured at right), which are dissolved in ethanol to make liquid shellac, which is used as a brush-on colorant, food glaze and wood finish.

    Wikepedia - I suppose its correct, not a controversial subject
     
  5. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Budget level, utilitarian approach would be light canvas or cotton Duck, painted with an 'enamel' paint.

    Epoxy/Glass isnt easy to do on a kayak frame, as keeping it tight and straight is impossible without some backing of some sort. The resin/epoxy will drip right out of a light material.

    The stuff you imported was probably ballistic nylon, which you impregnated with varnish. Very strong, very water resistant.

    There have been some successful kayaks built using papier mache.
     
  6. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Bill Hamm on the Guillemot Kayak forum makes SOF boats with a layer of glass with a layer of dacron over that.
    I've never understood his complete process, but apparently he has described it several times.
    You might get on there and do a search for a thread started by him.
     
  7. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Good luck with that - what a mess.

    There were some mentions of Dacron and Fibreglass - but I wouldn't recommend that. The two don't form a strong bond.

    You can stretch fabric over a frame, and lay glass on it, but the fibreglass distorts when it cures, and makes distorted panel.
     
  8. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Watson,

    Hamm has made such kayaks for a long time and has conducted classes on the technique. I've never seen his boats in person but there are pictures which look no different than anything I've made. Certainly not distorted.

    Normally your posts are helpful, but not this one.

    I suspect you have not built a SOF with this technique?

    Personally when making a SOF with dacron, I epoxy the uncoated fabric to the inner cockpit rim instead of stitching. Works fine, lasts a long time, plenty of strength.
     
  9. dinoa
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    dinoa Senior Member

    Nylon, polyester (dacron), PVC and hypalon listed in order of weight (the last two are used to make inflatable boats) will all work. I prefer Dacron brushed with Plastidip. It is heat shrinkable, doesn't sag when wet like nylon, can be bought in documented quality as Ceconite. For Dacron and nylon 9oz weight (single or in layers) will give a tough skin while 3oz is near minimum.

    Dino
     
  10. Dave Gentry
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    Dave Gentry Junior Member

    You should check out some of the Euro qajaq groups - I'm sure some of them have a line on fabrics available over there.
    #10 cotton duck canvas is typically available, even if you can't find industrial strength nylons or polyesters in your area.

    Email George Dyson and he will send you a pdf of all his skinning fabrics. Yes, he's in the USA, but he ships worldwide on a regular basis. He might have better prices than what you found. GDyson@gmail.com

    Good luck!

    BTW, skinning a frame with just fiberglass and epoxy sounds great in theory. In reality it's not so great . . . (sorry about the enormous picture, and no, these aren't my boats).
    [​IMG]
     
  11. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    I was talking about the Forum being a 'mess'. The search function was very limited, and the topic organisation was really hard to navigate.

    I searched for Hamms posts on the topic for a long time and never found them.

    If you can provide some concrete links, that would be handy.
     
  12. upchurchmr
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    upchurchmr Senior Member

    Dave,

    If you pick out at truely bizarre boat with too little framework, and obviously poor epoxy work you can "prove" anything.
     
  13. Hultis
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    Hultis New Member

    Thanks for all the replies and knowledge! It seems like a fully transparent kayak is a bad idea, and the same goes for straight fiberglass and epoxy.

    VAT and shipping nearly doubled the already pretty steep price... I'd kill to be able to get 9oz dacron at $2.50/yard with minimal shipping. I haven't heard of any euro qajaq groups, where can I find them? I could certainly give Dyson a try, though shipping from the US always tends to be significantly more expensive than from pretty much anywhere else, plus VAT.

    I've got to admit that I used soon in a rather optimistic sense. The frame is almost done and I've done a small test piece with the skin. The skinning can't be that hard, right? :p It's a traditional Greenland kayak because I love those curves, and 850 skin + goop because I want to have a good frame of reference for future attempts with cheaper stuff.

    If all I get get locally is stuff that will perform much worse I'd rather just pay the price and import it. I'm not that cheap! If I could get $2.50/yard dacron and combine that with some no-name polyurethane that would definitely be cheap enough. Would that work well?
     

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  14. rustybarge
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    rustybarge Cheetah 25' Powercat.


  15. johnhazel
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    johnhazel Senior Member

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