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PostPosted: March 10th, 2009, 6:47 pm 
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Well, its been a few years now and this material has yet to take the industry by storm. There are two canoe manufacturers that I know of that make hulls out of TwinTex: Esquif and Mega Sports Vertriebs (Germany). I am very interested to hear about other peoples experience with TwinTex. I've searched on Google, and some of the best information is here at myccr.com (cuz it's the center of the universe). TwinTex has recently been sold to Dow Corning. Given the information available, here is what I have learned (albeit I stress that this is anecdotal - and may not be a true indication of material performance):

1. There are still production issues with the material. There are photos on the 'net of delaminated hulls - there is at least one poster on this forum that returned a TwinTex canoe due to delamination.

2. Positive buoyancy was a problem but this has been solved by using a balsa wood core - this also helps hull stiffness.

3. Repairs are an issue - is it duct tape to factory? As far as I know there is no home repair solution.

4. Cracking is an issue - especially in cold weather.

Does anyone else have experiences with TwinTex that would better inform the real world (canoe tripping is the real world) performance of the material? As anyone taken a TwinTex canoe to hell and back and swear by it? Has anyone wrapped one around a rock, rescued the boat, and finished the journey?

I should also add that everything I have heard about Esquif's customer service is that if there is a problem, they will take care of you.

At the end of the day I'm a fence sitter. I'm thinking of a Mistral 17.6 but I'm not sure it has the right stuff. Any early adopters out there?

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PostPosted: March 11th, 2009, 9:13 pm 
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I have the same concerns, how do you repair this material? Looked at a boat at the Bloomington REI last fall, liked it alot, too short, need the 17.5 footer. Now I see they dont carry the Mistral on the www, though they have one on clearence at Bloomington, and they carry other models from Esquif. Just wish someone would chime in about repairing, its got to be a 3M adhesive or somthing.
CB


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2009, 3:18 am 
I have 'inspected' some livery Robson BROOKS canoes made from this material on the river the Regen in Germany, and they seemed good enough.
Bu as long as they are not about the same price as Polyethyleen and/or really lighter than Royalex, it will be hard to sell them successfully -- I think.

Last year I met an engineer who was experimenting with the material to make canoes, but while he knew a lot about engineering, he didn't know much about canoes and canoe design...

Dirk Barends


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2009, 7:42 am 
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I've owned a Zephyr for two years and our club has had a couple in its fleet for three. They are in the water from March to December, so we have plenty of cold water experience. Cracking of Twin-Tex is not a problem. At least not for bangs and collisions. Solo boats are hard to wrap, so we've never done that, but just about everything else has been done to the Zephyrs.

Factory-installed outfitting has remained intact, but privately done outfitting has sometimes had to be re-done. You need the correct glue, plus heat AND pressure to get a good bond.

Zephyrs are single-sheet construction -- can't talk to delamination.

I would be curious if anyone has wrapped a Twin-Tex boat and what happened next. Repairable? Write-off?


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2009, 9:06 am 
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Strath, contact Marc Scriver. He is the Ontario sales rep for Esquif. He is a real straight shooter and has answered questions for me honestly in the past. If anyone knows what kind of abuse these things can take, he's the guy.

His e-mail can be found here:


Esquif Sales Reps

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PostPosted: March 12th, 2009, 9:07 am 
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Peter K. wrote:
I've owned a Zephyr for two years and our club has had a couple in its fleet for three.
Peter, can you comment on abrasion resistance and general wear relative to the Royalex boats in your fleet?

Hey BK, missed your post. I'm going to be in Madison this weekend and I intend to stop in and talk to the folks at Esquif.

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PostPosted: March 12th, 2009, 2:42 pm 
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Well, none of them are very shiny anymore, but there have been no problems. My expectation is that they will last as long as our Outrages, and longer than our Detonator which lost vinyl along the chines quite quickly. The scuffing after 3 years is only cosmetic. It will take a long time to create weak spots.


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PostPosted: March 12th, 2009, 3:51 pm 
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I've seen isolated reports that as TwinTex wears, tiny exposed fiber ends can cause skin irritation to those handling the boats. I think that some hard varnish would cure that.

Someone raised the issue of whether TwinTex is really lighter than Royalex. In shorter boats like the Zephyr, TwinTex certainly is lighter, though not as light as Millbrook composites.

However, in longer canoes, I think TwinTex will lose some of its weight advantage over Royalex, because without the bracing effect of float bags and a thwart supported saddle, and with thwarts farther apart, TwinTex may have to be a little heavier per square foot to get acceptable stiffness.

The no-home-repair issue is still serious. Maybe the new West flexible epoxy or some other new resin will solve the problem.


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PostPosted: March 13th, 2009, 7:47 pm 
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this from Paddling.net:

http://www.paddling.net/message/showThr ... 57#1077934

Excerpt:

Field repair of Twin-Tex
Posted by: Eric_Nyre on Mar-08-09 6:52 PM (EST)

Duct tape is your friend.

I'd also carry some DP-8005, applicator, squeegie, gloves and fiberglass cloth/ tape. Worst case scenario you use the Methylacrylate like a resin, smooth it into the glass and apply to the crack. Won't be pretty but it should hold things together in cases that duct tape won't. It will bond to the Twintex in such a way you'll need a grinder to remove the repair.


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PostPosted: March 15th, 2009, 9:05 pm 
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The rental guys at Trailhead in Ottawa said that they had 3 or 4 16s and a 17' twintex boat in their rental program last year and they had to take three out of service and returned to manufacturer for repair after being wrapped, torn and delaminated. Consensus seemed to be that it's a great, light, durable material for a short playboat but if used in a longer tripping canoe it should be treated more like a composite canoe than a royalex though it's abrasion resistance is good.
Really, whatever the material, I can't imagine a balsa core responding well to a wrap.


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PostPosted: March 15th, 2009, 10:06 pm 
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Yeah, when boats wrap, it isn't usually a difference in boat construction. It's pilot error. And wrapping a composite boat will result in some delamination.


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PostPosted: March 15th, 2009, 11:55 pm 
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Well, I talked to the good folks at Esquif this weekend in Madison. They are really showcasing the TwinTex material. A few notes from the discussion:

1. To their knowledge there is no issue with "cold" cracking as I indicated above.

2. They have moved away from the balsa-core in 09 and have found a foam core that is compatible with the high heat vac-forming process required to form Twintex. The foam core has holes creating tack-off points throughout the lamination. It still retains positive buoyancy.

3. The DP-8005 is considered a temporary field repair material solution. Another option is a product called "Rec Repair" - which is basically a plastic patch with adhesive that can be formed at low heat and drape molded over the repair area. This material will effectively repair cracks in Royalex and Polyethylene boats. They have one customer that used it on TwinTex and reported that it held very well.

ezwater wrote:
Yeah, when boats wrap, it isn't usually a difference in boat construction. It's pilot error. And wrapping a composite boat will result in some delamination.
Very true. Though on wilderness rivers, we all know that it can happen and we should plan and prepare for that event. My primary concern is that the boat can be salvaged and paddled. I don't have an expectation that it would have any real utility after the trip..Does the boat rip in two, or does the core material crack and the TwinTex crease? I can live with that...(I think).

cedar rib wrote:
I can't imagine a balsa core responding well to a wrap.
Agreed. The material has to flex. I'm not sure if at the end of the day TwinTex is considered ductile or brittle. If it is ductile, the material will yield in a wrap -- plastic deformation. Every material has a stress-strain curve - and unless the canoe is made of silicone or nitenol, the stress will be evident. It could be in the form of a crease - as with royalex - or if the material is brittle it could result in larges rips or the boat snapping in two...(not good). Carbon and Fiberglass are brittle in the sense that the material doesn't yield. TwinTex is really a hybrid of both...

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PostPosted: March 16th, 2009, 7:49 am 
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Twintex is polypro/glass, right? PP is going to have a glass transition below 0ºC, so as long as your water is not solid the canoe should remain flexible :)

As far as field repair and permanent fixes, PP is not your friend when it comes to adhesion. You can make a patch, but it will never be quite the same.

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PostPosted: March 16th, 2009, 8:32 am 
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Almost every Zephyr I saw on the river last season had some sort of patch work done to it.


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PostPosted: March 16th, 2009, 5:05 pm 
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GWA wrote:
As far as field repair and permanent fixes, PP is not your friend when it comes to adhesion. You can make a patch, but it will never be quite the same.
Yup. The permanent fix is to take off the gunwales and put the boat back in the mold and heat it with a patch...not exactly easy. I was told that the field reps for Esquif have repair kits that utilize heat to create the patch and will make house calls.

No easy solutions. When you actually look at the boat it seems right. It looks and feels tough as nails. Its one big skid plate. I've always been impressed by the testimonials of PakBoats - they seem flimsy, but people swear by them. People that have been there and done that -- Jacobson, Archer, et al. If I were esquif I would sponsor a few expeditions and get testimonials from folks who are respected in the field. But again...I'm no marketing genius.

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