fabric choices

Discussion of user-built folding kayaks

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wjquigs

fabric choices

Post by wjquigs »

Hi,
I've been reading a lot of posts about choices for fabric covering for a folding kayak. I'm building a kayak from painted canvas, and if that works (i.e., if I don't sink), I'm going to replace the canvas with something more durable.

Is PVC the same as what Seattle Fabrics calls Vinyl Coated Polyester? If not, is VCP a suitable fabric?

It seems that there are some mentions in this forum of PVC being wrinkly. Is this because it doesn't stretch? Would inflatable sponsons help make the skin taut? If so, could they be made from the same material as the skin itself?

Thanks in advance.
Bill

Alm

Re: fabric choices

Post by Alm »

wjquigs wrote: I'm building a kayak from painted canvas, and if that works
It doesn't. Some people already tried.
Is PVC the same as what Seattle Fabrics calls Vinyl Coated Polyester? If not, is VCP a suitable fabric?
Dave here might correct me, but I think PVC (Poly-Vinyl-Chloride) is just a full name of Vinyl. Which in itself is a soft plastic (PVC drybags and beach toys are examples), unless made very thick (PVC pipes). Vinyl-coated fabric is exactly what it says - a fabric coated with a thin Vinyl film. So PVC fabric is the same as Vinyl-coated fabric - a fabric coated with PVC film. What is important, is how thick is the film and how strong is the actual fabric (called substrate) underneath this PVC film. Polyester is a strong one, but again it comes in different strength (depends on diameter of fibers and number of fibers per square inch). Not all the PVC fabrics (i.e. PVC-laminated fabrics) are created equal and suitable for kayaks skin. You better ask Tom Yost. I suspect you don't have much choice - it's either affordable PVC fabric of a proper quality (and very few suppliers have it), or a Hypalon (fabric coated with synthetic rubber).
Would inflatable sponsons help make the skin taut?
Yes.Check Tom's website. Not only he has frame drawings, but also talks about sponsons. Folbot sells cheap sponsons.
If so, could they [sponsons] be made from the same material as the skin itself?
Yes, and Russians did this with built-in sponsons (Ladoga models), and I don't like this. Makes boat heavier and repairs more difficult. OTH, when sponsons are not built-in, but instead are held between the frame and skin, they don't need to be made of heavy skin fabric - just no reason.

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