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Old World Craftsmanship New World Finishes

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 performance.

High-Tech Ribs
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.

High-Tech Strips
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.

High-Tech Fabric
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 resistant polypropylene.

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 weight.

Aviation Cloth gets smooth surface on first coat.

Flambeau Canoe Company
W5992 Little Chicago RD
Phillips, WI 54555