Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Canoe Update

After removing all the wax from inside the canoe I sanded the inside of the hull to further remove the wax but to also roughen the surface so that the epoxy that we were about to apply would adhere. This is a prototype boat and Martin wants to try some new boat building techniques. On this boat we will attempt to vacuum bag the final layers of kevlar inside the hull. Vacuum bagging allows for a more even distribution of epoxy. With three layers of kevlar and one more layer of S-glass cut to shape, Martin and I apply the epoxy and completely saturate all the layers. Next we layer on a sheet of nylon which will keep the epoxy from sticking to the vacuum bag. Next comes a thick pad that will absorb the excess epoxy that will get squeezed out when the pump is turned on. A durable plastic film is layed over the whole works and sealed all the way around the work area with two sided tape. In the photo you can see all the layers already in the hull and the hose from the vacum pump in place. With a little fiddling we were able to achieve an air tight seal. After 3 or 4 hours the pump can be turned off and the epoxy is left to set over night.

It was a good day today! I was able to finally put the boat in the water and see how it paddles. I just couldn't wait any longer. Actually part of the purpose of paddling it today was to check the seat placement. Well, there isn't an actual hung seat yet, just a seat attached to a pot. But it is a good idea to paddle the boat before a seat is installed. This way you can find the location that will produce the best trim.

In the last photo, four more layers of kevlar are being added to the sides of the hull where the seat will be located to reduce the amount of flex. In total there are 5 layers of kevlar and two layers of S-glass on the bottom, producing a very durable yet somewhat flexible hull.

Check out the boats maiden voyage on Youtube. It paddles very nice, it's very stable and for a 17 foot canoe, very maneuverable.

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