Old World Craftsmanship New World
Perhaps the most significant
difference between a traditionally built canoe and a modern stripped
canoe is the use of many narrow strips to cover the ribbed hull
rather than the eight or so comparatively wide planks. By far,
the most popular edge treatment being used by modern small boat
strip builders is a half round bead cut on one edge that fits into a
cove cut into the other. Such strips, when properly fitted, glued,
and later faired, produce a hull that is smooth, solid, and gives
the impression the tree grew it that way.
At Flambeau Canoe we build upon
traditional building techniques and update modern canoe materials
that have been used in building canoes for over the last 100 years.
Many of the the high performance finishes and strengthen agents we
utilize have been developed for the aviation industry and are just
becoming produced enough to become cost efficient for specialty boat
building. Our canoes perverse and improve upon tradition and
modern canoe building by offering superior strength, bonding and
Flambeau Canoe has improved the old world techniques of making ribs
by reinforced these ribs with Kevlar or Mule tape offering ribs that
can withstand 1800+ lbf tensile strength. This banding is
notched into our ribs and gunwales and completely hidden when
covered by cedar strips. Not only does this banding offer
superior rigidity, but it also keeps ribs in proper shape until
being used. For those of you with your own designs, we can
supply the ash or cedar planks with grooves, bands and specialty
formulated clear glue to bend and shape to your forms.
Modern day machines and new age adhesives allow us to produce a
pre-glued and pre-sanded strips. Clench the strips together
with your hands and apply heat to bond the strips into a waterproof
seal. Traditional strips edges are coated with with glue that
need to be clamped, stapled and sometimes nailed to a form.
The striped then need to scrape, sanded and then filled with an
epoxy filler. You then need to again go through the scraping
and sanding process. Our precise strips and reinforced ribs
allow the assembly of a perfect waterproof joint from the get go.
You will save 100's of hours by not having to glue, staple, nail,
clamp and wait to let dry and then undoing the mess you made on the
wood by removing and filling holes, scraping and sanding.
Duck Canvas has been used for boat building, furniture and clothing
since as early as 5000 B.C. Typically, duck canvas or cotton
cloth, needs to be treated to resist mildew or rot. This has
typically been done with lead-based paint filler, now prohibited
because of health hazards. Airplane builders have recently
been using super strong Dacron fabric for wing fabric stretched over
wood or metal. It's properties allow for up to 10% shrinkage to
pull in and tighten areas if heat is applied to the fabric.
Until recent, this high performance fabric has been cost prohibited
even though it is superior to traditional duck canvas. This
dynamic product is a high tech replacement to both paintable duck
canvas and fiberglass used with epoxy coatings. For the
whitewater canoe enthusiast we can even cover the area below the
waterline with Kevlar.
High-Tech Protective Coatings
Epoxy coating have been around since the 1920's and never were part
of traditional canoe building. Traditional canoes typically
were not exactly water tight and epoxy allowed builders to shell the
strip canoe with fiberglass offering a water tight and more ridged
canoe. It's all to common of a practice to see modern day
builders say that the cedar strips on a canoe are simply a form to
hold the fiberglass which makes the boat waterproof. Heck, many
modern designs are nothing more than epoxy coated plywood.
Epoxy coatings require a precise two-part mixture that needs to be
used immediately after mixing. Problems include immediate use,
deterioration in UV Light, serious health issues if inhaled, even
death and a temperature dependant cure time which can take from
5-days to doubling in duration for each incremental degrees under
70. With its long cure time, the product need to be applied in
a dust free paint booth or been coated in a dust-free plastic
enclosed frame in your garage or basement. We have worked with
a manufacturer to developed a specialty coating synthesized with UV
This water resistant coating is economically available ready to use
in the can, dries translucent, smooth and nonporous and is perfect
in its plastic like properties for canoe building. The product
cures in about 20-30 minute at 60-80 degrees. This avoids the
problem of dust settling over possible weeks until cure or the need
for a paint booth. Since this product is even woven into
clothing there are no inhalation or skin health hazards as epoxy can
be fatal. The product works equal as well as a UV sealant to
painted fabric canvas canoes or as a clear coat to those with inside
and out cedar strip canoes. Instead of traditional canvas
filler we have turned to the air conditioning industry which uses
cotton fabric for ducts to pipe hot and cold air. This
sealer/filler is not only waterproof, fireproof, mildew proof but
setup the canvas of the canoe ready for an artist paint.
Fiberglass requires flooding of epoxy or multiple coats
before smoothe surface appears. This adds considerable
Aviation Cloth gets smooth surface on first coat.