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  1. #1
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    Default a questions and discussion thread for skin on frame kayaks/canoes building

    Hey all,
    I'm starting the research phase on skin on frame building, and wondered if some of you would help me when I have questions? It might be a helpful thread for others starting out on SOF craft as well.
    Cheers,
    Clinton

    "Use your third eye" - Watson

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/clinton_findlay/

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  3. #2
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    Question - what finishes are used on the timber? I assume it's either natural oil, uv stabilised polyurethane varnish or uv polyurethane varnish over an exopy encapsulated timber work. ????
    Natural oil is out for me, too much upkeep.
    Last edited by Clinton1; 18th Jun 2019 at 01:56 PM. Reason: add last sentence

  4. #3
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    What upkeep? Most of the frame is covered by the skin and what little is exposed to sunlight doesn't get a lot of direct sun anyway. Most people use either linseed or tung oil (real tung oil, not “Tung oil finish”) and do no maintenance until the hull needs to be reskinned.

    I used tung oil and have done nothing to it since skinning.
    Cheers, Bob the labrat

    Measure once and.... the phone rings!

  5. #4
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    Bob did you use pure tung oil or a mix with polyu added?

  6. #5
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    Just straight tung oil. The label has changed a bit since I last bought any but it is the one at the web address below.

    Organoil - Pure Tung Oil
    Cheers, Bob the labrat

    Measure once and.... the phone rings!

  7. #6
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    Have you needed to re oil?

  8. #7
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    Question 2 is about finishing the dacron/polyester fabric.
    Finishing options seems to be - a) leave unfinished, b) finish with a mylar film, c) exterior paint, d) varnish, e) skim coat with poly putty style coat.
    Could anyone contribute with pro's and con's for each way?
    Also, using paint or varnish seems to void the ripstop property of the dacron. In practical use, what does this mean.?

  9. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton1 View Post
    Hey all, I'm starting the research phase on skin on frame building, and wondered if some of you would help me when I have questions? It might be a helpful thread for others starting out on SOF craft as well.
    Hi Clinton,

    Your project sounds exciting and I look forward (myself!!!) to the next one I build in the next few years which will most likely also be a "folder" (aka: break down pack style) kayak...

    I'm not near WiFi much accept on weekends because I'm currently working on a traditional timber frame project in the mountains in Vermont, so can only see your questions once a week.

    I'll share what I know and have seen or done myself...

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton1 View Post
    Question - what finishes are used on the timber? I assume it's either natural oil, uv stabilised polyurethane varnish or uv polyurethane varnish over an exopy encapsulated timber work. ????
    Natural oil is out for me, too much upkeep.
    Traditionally (and the only way I work for the most part in all my professional-private projects) natural oils of various forms are employed...if any at all. "Drying oils" having the most durable and continued use application accross the cultures that had and/or built "skinned water craft." In your case, since is appears you are going with a more contemporary interpretation of a Skin Kayak, so other options (if you choose?) are open for your consideration. I have zero experience with these, do not use them, teach them or recommend them, as they are not proven (in anyway) to be more durable or better than the original and/or traditional vernacular indigenous modalities.

    None drying animal based lipids (whale, seal, etc) oils where also very common on both the skin and frame, yet (of course) are out of context today in all but full replications or tribal built craft.

    My go to finish for most of my woodworking from traditional furniture to timber frame architecture is a blend of pure natural (usually food grade) pine rosin, beeswax, tung, linseed (aka: flax) oils blended with citrus oil as the carrier agent. These is often augmented with a mineral based UV stabilizer. I blended my own for years, as I make most of my paints and finishes, but for the past 30 years Heritage Finishes make this traditional blend in the most pure forms I have seen blended in a bulk form by a company. Autumn (the owner) and her staff work in a small scale company with pride of craft and knowledge...or...you can experiment with you own blend of these. Just pure tung oil is a "bare bones" go to for many as well.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton1 View Post
    Question 2 is about finishing the dacron/polyester fabric...Finishing options seems to be - a) leave unfinished, b) finish with a mylar film, c) exterior paint, d) varnish, e) skim coat with poly putty style coat...Could anyone contribute with pro's and con's for each way? Also, using paint or varnish seems to void the ripstop property of the dacron. In practical use, what does this mean.?
    I've helped with a Dacron fabric (a DuPont form of polyester) build and it was a super fast narrow custom 5.5 m (~18'+) frame. That skin got replaced in less than two years with a ballistics type nylon (aka: polyamide fabric) as the other wore to quickly with daily use off the New Hampshire/Maine coast line.

    There are many opinions and perspectives of what "best" and it all depends on your style of use application for the craft when completed. I'm fond of the heavier weight Cordura nylons and hypalon rubber kayak fabric for the haul-keel assembly, but there are all kinds of new fabrics coming into the maker yearly. Do some of your own searching and I (et al) can share our perspectives. I would not recommend (for even a average used kayak) to have less than a 1000 denier weight fabric...if...going with a modern haul-keel material for the skin.

    I do not recommend painting anything on these fabrics that the manufacture would not recommend or condone...but, then again, I'm more into the "folder" style craft so durability, suppleness and flexibility are paramount.

    Hope this was helpful...Good luck!!!

    j

  10. #9
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    Hello White Cloud, thanks for participating, and I'll stay aware that you have wifi rarely. Yes, at the moment I intend to mix traditional and contemporary ways and means.

  11. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton1 View Post
    Hello White Cloud, thanks for participating, and I'll stay aware that you have wifi rarely. Yes, at the moment I intend to mix traditional and contemporary ways and means.
    Hi Clinton,

    Weekends here and I'm back near "civilization"...LOL!

    I look forward to following along with your design and build...


    j

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    White Cloud - I'm really interested in your "own recipie" for timber treatment. I'd like to do more of it myself, but finding a starting point and the theory behind it has been impossible for me. But, sticking to the canoe subject, when dacron is treated with a surface coating, does the coating soak thru the dacron and cause the fabric to 'stick' to the timber frame? If not, does the dacron wear against the timber?

  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton1 View Post
    White Cloud - I'm really interested in your "own recipie" for timber treatment. I'd like to do more of it myself, but finding a starting point and the theory behind it has been impossible for me. But, sticking to the canoe subject, when dacron is treated with a surface coating, does the coating soak thru the dacron and cause the fabric to 'stick' to the timber frame? If not, does the dacron wear against the timber?
    Hello Clinton,

    If you purchase (Heritage Finishes) or mix your own finish of the same materials (or a blend of your own concoction) and then apply to some sample wood frame that will (as I explain to students in classes) provide you more feedback and understanding than pages of my silly writing...

    As to the dacron "sticking" to the frame...Yes, it can, but that is also design dependent and I have not heard of any with the more traditional means, methods and materials approaches ever having any great issue with it.

    As to "ware points" yes those do take place on any well used framed kayak, however many can be anticipated while others have to be discovered over time use of the kayak and addressed accordingly...

    I would share again, to refresh the thought, that if you going for a mix of traditional (wood) and modern materials (which I will be also on at least one frame) then I would just go with a standard "pre coated" skin (there are many to choose from as I listed in my first post) that the industry uses for this application and forgo the, "trials and tribulations," of experimenting with doing your own finishing and/or trying to "re-invent the wheel" (per se) of this approach...unless...???...that's part of the fun for you, which I support and understand if it is...

    j

  14. #13
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    I havent come across precoated dacron yet. Will look for it.

  15. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton1 View Post
    I haven't come across precoated dacron yet. Will look for it.
    Hi Clinton,

    I'm just curious...Why are you partial to Dacron and not some of the other well know modern fabrics like waterproof Cordura (most common?), Kevlar (great for wear points!), Hypalon (one of the most common for hull region) etc...?

    I know a lot of DIYers go for Dacron, but I'm not seeing the allure other than that?

    I did spend some time looking this evening and seem to think that "Dacron" is a rather generic term as it is nothing more than the company "Dupont's" name for Polyester fabric they make...

  16. #15
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    I wouldn't know the difference between any of those fabrics. I'm starting the process of figuring this out.

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