Folding Kayaks Forum

The user forum for FoldingKayaks.org
It is currently Tue Jun 19, 2018 4:28 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
 Post subject: Mead & Whalecraft
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 10:17 am 
Mead Kayaks
I never see any mention of Mead kayaks. They weren't folding boats, that I know of, but very popular on lake Michigan in the 1930's. I have the remnants of the one my parents purchased just before World War II. It has aluminum ribs and wooden longerons, kind of like a 14 foot dirigible. They were very light weight and good sailers. They were covered in Irish linen, soaked in nitrate dope. We rebuilt ours on a regular basis. Mine is now 20 feet long, as I've gained enough weight to need more buoyancy. Hence, I lengthened it during its most recent rebuild. Meads were manufactured in the Chicago area in a factory that later made gliders for the Army.

Whalecraft Kayaks
I saw a post that indicating that no one has reported experience with a Whalecraft kayak. My parents bought a Whalecraft after World War II and used it into the 1970's. It was quite like the Klepper Aerius, though a bit heavier. The bottom skin seemed to be rubber, and it was deterioration of the rubber skin that led to the boat disappearing. Wish I still had it. The Whalecraft wasn't as delicate as the Klepper and I remember it as easier to assemble and disassemble, though the pieces were nearly the same. I loved the sense of weaving through the water in it, as it was never totally rigid. It had no inflatable sponsons, so it flexed with the current and waves.

Anyone ever heard of either of these boats?

Owen.


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2007 11:47 am 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1713
Location: Southeast Michigan
I'd heard of Whalecraft, and used to have a link to their website (not defunct). If you'd do a longer writeup on these two boats I'd love to put it on the main site.

_________________
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: State of Whalecraft
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 1:05 am 
javascript:emoticon(':wink:')
Wink
Whalecraft is not dead. It is just in a semi-hibernation state. Daniel Niblock is the current owner and lives in Washington State. He is just finishing building a home on the Olympic Peninsula near Port Townsend, Washington. I helped him do some of the electrical wiring and personally installed the 220 wiring for his metal and wood working tools. He says it is very much his intention to restart production of Whalecraft.

I am recently retired from a career in industrial textile design and manufacturing mostly working with the Boeing Company. Daniel showed up at my shop in the early 90s, shortly after he bought the company, looking for someone to vulcanize air bladders for the Whalecraft double (There is indeed a Whalecraft single, but I don’t think it was ever in production. I built two singles with Daniel to update the patterns and material.) When he brought a sample double in for me to inspect I took a deep breath and told him the fabrics were World War II technology and very expensive if I could find them. I showed him industrial marine fabrics used on hovercrafts in Europe that would cost a fraction the amount, and be twice as strong, lighter and much more dimensionally stable. Before long I was the proud owner of a Whalecraft double, which we modified so it could easily be used as a single.

Before moving to Washington I was a sail maker in Hawaii. It didn’t take long while paddling into a fresh breeze that we started working of sail designs. We have paddled and sailed together over a great deal of the west coast of Vancouver Island in British Columbia in the past fifteen years.

It is correct that the company is technically a one-man-show. But he doesn’t do all the work. I got him in contact with some women that I used to work with that set up their own sewing shop. Their craftsmanship was so good I contracted out much of my Boeing work to them. They build the decks and storage bags for Whalecraft.

One part of Whalecraft that I know is still up and running is making replacement skins for various folding kayaks. When Daniel asked me up last summer, from my new home in Portland, Oregon, to help with the wiring, we started by producing a pattern and new skin for an older Folbot (I don’t know what model it was). I think he is the semiofficial referral used by Folbot for replacement skins for older boat they no longer make. I know he has built replacement skins for Klepper, Nautiraid, Pouch and a Russian boat.

If someone needed replacement wooden or metal parts for a Whalecraft he might have the parts in stock if he could find them among the boxes moved to the new house.

Good paddling,

Western Flyer


Top
  
 
 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2007 3:38 pm 
Site Admin

Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:34 pm
Posts: 1713
Location: Southeast Michigan
What kind of fabrics did you recommend to Daniel? Were these the Hypalon laminates used in modern Kleppers, Long Hauls, Nautiraids, et al, or PVC, as Pouch uses, or something different?

_________________
Michael Edelman
FoldingKayaks.org Webmaster


Top
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Whalecraft skins fabrics
PostPosted: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:26 am 
The standard hull fabric is a German 42 oz per sq yd PVC and the decks are a polyester marine cover fabric call Top Gun.


Top
  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group