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 Post subject: Balsa Canoe
PostPosted: August 29th, 2005, 6:36 am 
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Joined: April 22nd, 2003, 8:26 pm
Posts: 805
Location: London, Ontario, Canada
May be of interest,
http://members.ozemail.com.au/~storerm/ ... canoe.html


Doug

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"Some people hear the song in the quiet mist of a cold morning..... But for other people the song is loudest in the evening when they are sitting in front of a tent, basking in the camp fire's warmth. This is when I hear it loudest ...."



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PostPosted: August 30th, 2005, 6:14 am 
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Joined: September 28th, 2004, 6:52 am
Posts: 442
I built a balsa kayak about ten years ago and it too was quite light but before anyone rushes out to build a balsa boat there are some caveats.

First, balsa rots quickly once water gets to it so pin holes in the laminate that allow water into the balsa become a serious problem.

Balsa soaks up water like a sponge so if you do get a leak in the skin your light weight boat will get heavy in a hurry. The water migrates with the grain so a leak in the bow can soon become soaked balsa amidships. As the balsa soaks up water it also expands which can lead to delamination. It also turns black when it gets wet (like basswood)

Balsa has very poor compressive strength so dings in the hull can become serious problems especially with lightweight skins.

Commercial boat builders use balsa to stffen hulls and decks but they use end grain balsa. The little square blocks of balsa are attached a light cheescloth-like glass, laid in the wet resin matrix, then covered with glass. This works well because balsa soaks up more resin and has good compressive strength in th end rain. Of course, this method weighs more. I know of no commercial builders who who had success with plank balsa.

Finally, in Ontario, good quality plank balsa cost me an arm and a leg. I did not try the cheap stuff.

The boat was light but it was useless for anything but puttering around where there was no possibility of hitting botttom.

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Cheers,

John Winters


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PostPosted: August 5th, 2006, 10:13 am 
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Joined: August 5th, 2006, 9:54 am
Posts: 6
Location: Adelaide, Australia
I just noticed someone come from here to look at my site listed above

The balsa canoe was great fun to build.

It also lasted very well - beyond my expectations - I assumed with the very light glass layup that it would last a year or so and be a bit of a curiosity.

5 years, used a fair bit and then sold to someone who had to walk down a twisty bush track to go to their local canoeing spot.

I would agree with Jwinters that it is prone to denting - but I avoided that by putting it down on the ground upside down and when paddling jumping out when the stem or keel touched the bottom.

Not a boat for shooting rapids!!! But for lakes and good sections of most Australian rivers - fine

I did puncture the outer skin a couple of times but just filled it with epoxy/Qcels which yellowed to much the same colour as the balsa. Certainly didn't have any timber swelling or delamination probs. the balsa never got wet enough to rot - or even put on any weight.

One of the worse punctures ended up with a slight water stain that had its limits less than a 10mm (3/8") away from the hole after a weekend of paddling. Left boat in sun for coupla days and then filled as above.

Anyway - was a fun project and a well used boat and a curio - and the only real weak point was the tendancy to dent.

It did show me just how light glass could be used and still take the loads required - 0.75oz, doubled over the areas of the bottom that might touch ground and in the sitting area of the interior.

Perhaps the two layers of glass were the reason I had less of a problem with puncturing than JWinters?

Best wishes to all
Michael


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: December 14th, 2007, 6:02 pm 
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Joined: August 5th, 2006, 9:54 am
Posts: 6
Location: Adelaide, Australia
The above link to the balsa canoe is now

http://www.storerboatplans.com/Balsacan ... canoe.html

Best wishes
Michael Storer


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