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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 8:09 am 
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Just decided to open this thread for anyone interested in knowing more about, or discussing merits of the various different techniques, products, and equipment that make composite canoes weigh what they do (or do not!)

I was amazed to learn that in a typical sub 50 lb kevlar canoe (something around a 16'6"), the paint alone (gelcoat) could weigh 12-14 lbs, the resin used to hold the materials together at least 15lbs, the actual material (kevlar cloth, structural material, and foam core) perhaps only 5 or 6 lbs, and the gunwales about 8 lbs, with the seats, thwarts, handles and other fittings rounding out the balance.


Last edited by davidchiles on October 20th, 2009, 12:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 9:25 am 
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Good question.

A 16 1/2' canoe averages about 60-65 sq.ft. in surface area. Gel coat needs to be about .020" thick. That's a bare minimum of about 9 pounds for a 65 sq.ft. boat (I'm estimating at 80 lbs/cu.ft.) but I'm sure they lay it on heavier than that in practice.

Each full layer of 6 oz. cloth, therefore, weighs 2.7 pounds. The best contact lamination technique adds about an equal amount of resin, so tack on another 2.7 pounds. You're up to almost 15 pounds already. I'm not sure how much resin gets trapped between subsequent layers of cloth, but that is where vacuum infusion will shine. It pulls each layer tightly down to the others and eliminates lots of extra resin.

Some of the best wood strip builders are sending their boats out to be sprayed with catalyzed poly. They do this for durability, but I see no reason why a skin-coat boat can't get the same treatment and save several pounds while providing a much tougher and more easily repaired surface.

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 9:34 am 
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I think I am a bit high on my estimate of total resin in a boat, but a lot does get used if you have a full foam pan on the bottom, as well as a keel... My numbers were just reasonable estimates.

But it does open up lots of interesting ideas, like the rough weights of many american boats which are unpainted at least over kevlar, manufacturers claims of boat weights, the approximate weight of resin used depending on application technique and the like.

And further to that, why the fuss over light boats? I think you, I and many others on here justify the lightest boat possible, as we probably load them on and off cars, and portage them a fair bit... but does the average cottager really need anything lighter than a 60 lb canoe? based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence, I would guess that roughly half the 'high quaility' canoes sold in ontario are simply dropped in the water at the cottage in the spring, and taken out in the fall.

The Accidental Canoeist


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 9:38 am 
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davidchiles wrote:
And further to that, why the fuss over light boats? I think you, I and many others on here justify the lightest boat possible, as we probably load them on and off cars, and portage them a fair bit... but does the average cottager really need anything lighter than a 60 lb canoe? based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence, I would guess that roughly half the 'high quaility' canoes sold in ontario are simply dropped in the water at the cottage in the spring, and taken out in the fall.


viewtopic.php?f=49&t=21594&hilit=lightweight

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:06 am 
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...does the average cottager really need anything lighter than a 60 lb canoe? based on personal experience and anecdotal evidence, I would guess that roughly half the 'high quaility' canoes sold in ontario are simply dropped in the water at the cottage in the spring, and taken out in the fall.


I spend time paddling some of the cottage lakes around here simply because they are close... and it's always interesting to see what people are doing with their waterfront properties... (fertilized and pesticided lawns, landscaping, flower beds, apple trees, etc.)

The canoes that are left out there upside down by the water's edge usually seem to be the cheapies, the old aluminums, plastics and Royalex's.

The expensive ultralites are in Algonquin where portages are long... a third of those will be rentals and the owners of the others probably baby them, at least from what I've been able to see. I doubt that any cottagers that also own high-end ultralites will leave them outside the entire summer... sure haven't seen them left out, anyway.

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:16 am 
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lol, absolutely! great comment.

Though to clarify my point a bit on higher quality boats, I wasn't just meaing ultralight kevlars, but anything decent quality including fibreglass, basic kevlar, kevlar and glass hybrids, ultralight kevlar, and carbon boats by Scott, Bell, H20, Wenonah, Swift, Novacraft, Evergreen, etc, etc, etc, that are regarded as higher end.

It doesn't take all that many Scotts and Novacrafts sitting on the beach or lawn of cottages on a little half by one mile lake to account for a decent chunk of the Ontario market for boats...

And there just happens to be a nice H20 Composites standard kevlar in rental trim sitting on a lawn on a lake in your neck of the woods!


And as an aside, I do work from time to time for H20 Composites, and would love to see many people owning and enjoying one, but to be fair and honest, there are many manufacturers, large and small, of high quality boats. My aim is to basicially promote canoeing as an incredibly enjoyable pastime and activity for virtually anyone to enjoy regardless of experience (make no mistake, I am a novice myself), which is what it is.


Last edited by davidchiles on October 20th, 2009, 10:30 am, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:27 am 
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Quote:
... but does the average cottager really need anything lighter than a 60 lb canoe?

The superiority of the canoe over most other kind of boat is it's amphibious and thus gives you another degree of freedom that no other boat can match. You paddle down the lake, take out at a trail, carry 200m and plop it into a creek, upstream to the next portage and so on...
If the canoe is heavy (or poorly balanced or no yoke present), that freedom is not realized as lot of people are not strong enough to lift the boat in comfort. Thus, they don't even learn how to carry and thus never portage. They often can't even get the boat onto the roof of the car by themselves so they could drive to some nearby creek or lake for a bit of exploration.

Offer light and affordable canoes, market them appropriately and a lot of folks will get more use out of their boats.

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:33 am 
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excellent point erhard!

I think you are talking of the "mid to high performance cottager", rather than the "average cottager" I was thinking of!

Cheers

David, the accidental canoeist


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:34 am 
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Yep my neighbor with 225 feet of waterfront has a canoe that never gets used. He does not want to leave it at the dock. But at 65 lbs its too heavy for him to pick up and use every day.

So he has a brand new planter. If you think he is weak well he does not have a yoke in the boat, is 70 and has a bad back.

And what could have taken him not only around his home lake but to the six or seven dozen other lakes around here is worthless.

Every cottage it seems has a canoe...and all are plastic or aluminum and some with weeds around them.


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:39 am 
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Dave has a point though. I own several canoes under 40 pounds (both solos and a tandem) and even one that weighs less than 25. I love them for day trips, or even for tripping on lakes and easy rivers where damage is very unlikely. So you go to BWCA, Quetico, Algonquin, the Adirondacks, Bowron Lakes for a week, and you see all sort of canoes that weigh less than 40 pounds. There is no doubt that porting these lighter canoes is real nice. But none of these higher priced ultralight canoes are suitable for much tripping beyond the borders of these parks with maintained canoe trails. You don't see anyone back in the serious backcountry with ultrlight canoes.... it's all 50+ pound full kevlar canoes, or royalex. So why are canoe purchasers (especially those who are just entering canoeing as a passion) so weight oriented? I know I was, I ported an Aluminum canoe through BWCA for 3 trips in the 1970s and 1980s and vowed I'd forever paddle kevlar after. But soon I realized that I was stuck on easy water in my kevlar canoe for anything more wild than porting from lake to lake.

Personally, I think that weight is one factor in what canoe I use, but often it's not the most important. I'm not about to sell my kevlar gear, but there is no real secret to how they make canoes light.... they take material out. You can only do so much to make a canoe durable, and taking material out regardless of what anyone tells you does not make the canoe more durable. So if you plan to only paddle lakes and easy rivers, by all means buy the lightest canoe you can afford. But if your plans dictate someplace a little further off the path, you better plan on porting a minimum of 50 pounds to have a canoe capable of surviving the trip.

PK


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:44 am 
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davidchiles wrote:
I think you are talking of the "mid to high performance cottager", rather than the "average cottager" I was thinking of!


Think of it in the light that it gives adventurous youngsters and women a better chance to become "mid to high performance cottager"s....

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Last edited by Erhard on October 20th, 2009, 10:54 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 10:52 am 
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I disagree to a point.. I managed to drop a 33 lb Hemlock carbon fiber hybrid offf a small cliff in Temagami (it or me) and the boat was fine.

What I do insist on is gel coat for abrasion reistance.

OTOH I went for UL layup in a Merlin II and that was trashed in the same area of Temagami. Rocks went right through the skin when it got caught in a rocky area with current. The foam cored bottom and thin 1 layer Kevlar sidewalls were no help at all.

The Peregrine is two lbs heavier but more thoughtfully constructed for rough use. Its not the perfect boat per se but did fine in three weeks use in Wabakimi and Woodland Caribou this year plus the outing in Temagami.

Personally I cant see dragging fifty lbs over blowdowns...and I saw more than I wanted.

I agree that if you go light, not all light is better. Yes resin may be taken out and the weight difference may be due not to a lack of material but to the presence of less resin..And from what I have read, more resin is not better.

And I am looking forward to paddling an UL in a wilderness setting for another ten years. I am already eligible for a"retirement community" but most wont allow canoeing.


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 11:16 am 
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Talk about a major hijack and we're only on page one. :doh:

Uh... anyone here care to hear about what insight Dave can give us regarding the advantages of the various composite lamination schemes, as per his original post? :roll: :lol: To be fair, though, he kinda jacked his own thread. :wink:

I'm curious about the straight fiberglass layup at H2O. S-glass or E-glass? How many layers? What weight cloth? Bottom reinforcement?

Nothing proprietary, of course. :P

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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 11:57 am 
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That's me, hijacking my own post!

Damn I am getting to like erhard... As I used to be an average cottager, and am definately now in the mid to high performance range... but his comment on getting new people into the sport is inspiring and insightful...perhaps a slogan like "Canoeing: just say no to golf clubs!"

Things I was considering on this thread were clarifications of manual lay up of resin versus bagging versus infusion.... It is actually hard to tell precisely low how much resin weight it saved moving from one process to the next.

Also the weight of paint is something I originally had no idea was that great a component.... and seeing the number of american canoes with natural cloth finishes, either clearcoated before resin, or using specialized resins that essentially become the outer skin of the canoe, or even canoes that are 'shot' with resin, and then clearcoated when popped out of the mold. A few canadian manufacturers are following suit, and I would hazard a guess that one other will also do so for 2010!

anyway, today I have to go and chop down a tree and clean up a yard, so take care

David


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PostPosted: October 20th, 2009, 12:15 pm 
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Why all the fuss over lightweight canoes?

In my case it simply means that I will be able to get across longer, more rugged portages, for hopefully, several more years. A short 350 metre port is a piece of cake for me but for the past couple of years, the 650s and over have become a real strain on my knees. My goal is to make 'em last as long as I can (and to keep up with Sid! :wink: )

Never thought that I would do it, but my 16' Nova Craft Prospector, Kevlar/Spectra layup with ash trim & skid plates (weighs in @ 56 lbs) has been sold :( , only to soon be replaced with a Souris River, Trailhead Prospector with aluminum trim, weighing in at about 40 lbs :D .

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