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Thread: Composite Hull Fabrics?

  1. #1
    Member arizonaguide's Avatar
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    Default Composite Hull Fabrics?

    I posted this in the canoe section also, but it's the same technology so I thought I'd post here also and get input from the Kayak builders amongst you.

    I've got my wooden framework complete, and I'm getting ready to glass...then I got thinking. I want this thing light. It's a lake and gentle stream rig, not something to bounce off rocks.

    FLAT water photography platform only. So, I'm hesitant to use the heavy woven glass fabric, if there's something else out there that's lighter that could be a good lightweight yet strong base for the resin.

    I wondered if perhaps something that would even heat-shrink, similar to the fabric used on SuperCubs.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

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    There are all different weaves of fiberglass. I can't remember the number exactly but I think 220 cloth would be about right for a canoe. You could also use kevlar and use fewer layers since its stronger. Make sure you have a good pair of scissors if you do though. Also you can use a combination of both and make it a hybrid. There are different materials you can sandwich between the layers, especially on the bottom that look like a mat material. This creates a gap that adds some rigidity to the otherwise flexible fiberglass or kevlar. You use the mat to add strength in certain critical areas and keep the overall weight down by using fewer layers of glass.

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    That's kinda what I was thinking.

    Finding a lightweight cloth and kinda shrink wrap it for shape, then a couple layers of Carbon fiber or lightweight glass.

    Kevlar is okay, IF you sandwich it REALLY well with other (protective) cloth like fiberglass...because if the outer glass layer gets punctured and water gets into the kevlar...it can actually soak up/transverse the water inside the sandwich structure. Carbon fiber and Fiberglass do not really do this like Kevlar does.

    So, I'm kinda looking for a cloth that could be "heatshrunk" to shape, and would take a bit of resin to reinforce that shape. THEN add some Carbon fiber on top of that.

    Does anyone know what that stuff they use on Supercubs is called?
    Or any other similar (heat shrink type) fabrics.

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    "Ceconite."

    Nonheat stabilized dacron fabric is used to cover "cloth" airplanes. After it is glued in place it is heated to specific temps to tighten it, Then UV protectors are applied and (normally) paint after. I of course would use epoxy resin rather than paint, if dacron is able to handle it.

    I'm thinking this would ensure a nice flat wrinkle-free initial layer to build upon with further composites. (Carbon fiber or Kevlar).

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    Ceconite seems very similar to the nylon peel ply you would use normally with composites. I don't think it would bond to the glass/resin, but it would give you a shape to start with.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hbons View Post
    Ceconite seems very similar to the nylon peel ply you would use normally with composites. I don't think it would bond to the glass/resin, but it would give you a shape to start with.
    Exactly! YOU got the IDEA
    Create a base "shell" to hold it's shape, then add to THAT with other further Composite layers.

    I've been looking into it, and Ceconite says its actually 100% polyester fabric...so it should be fine with epoxy resin.

    See, I've built a kayak out of Kevlar and Fiberglass, and it was a royal pain to lay the first layer of cloth, and keep it wrinkle free and not let any parts of it sag from the weight of the resin.

    So, to prevent that fight...I'm thinking about covering my wooden frame thus:

    1. apply ceconite fabric, and heat shrink to perfect shape.
    2. apply THIN (I said THIN!) coat of epoxy resin to ceconite fabric.
    3. allow to harden.

    Now I have a nice form-fitted "shell" that I can apply further Kevlar/Carbon/Glass layers to that will still hold it's perfect shape.

    Yes, I will have to give the dried ceconite/epoxy shell a light sanding (800grit) "prep" before adding new layers. But it will at least give me a hard "form fitted" shell to build UP upon with LESS chances of sags and wrinkles.

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    Default Here's the pic's of the project...

    Here's a link to the pic's of the project...so far.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...7&postcount=19

    And here's a pic of my first (completed) project.
    http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...9&postcount=20

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