They only say “…we cure these hulls
in a vacuum…” which is vague but might imply vacuum bagging.
…watched 'em do it some years back while touring the factory. At least the ultralite foamcore boats are, I should say. I believe the flexcore kev boats are also.
Yep, all wenonah’s composite canoes are
vacuume bagged. I took a tour, too.
I was really amazed how “hands-on” production is. I thought I’d see a lot of mechanized factory stuff like the auto industry, In reallity, it’s closer to a bunch of guys building canoes in a big garage.
OK, I just don’t understand why
Wenonah does not CLEARLY indicate that they use vacuum bagging. I also do not understand why they do not give a clear statement about what sort of resin they use.
Yep! Easy to tell by just looking.
The real sharp, light, and strong hulls are the pressure molded and vacuumed ones!!! As in aircraft type molding. None of the canoe makers I know of do that as yet. A few speciality shops are experimenting. Like I said looks good and promises a lot. Could not break the molded part I got to abuse by stomping and bending repeatedly. The part was very thin and only had two layers of cloth in it!!! May have a prototype by summer 07 to put through the ringer, really do a through beat it up testing. Sure would like to actually be able to lighten one of my tough hulls by 25% or more! ;^)
It seems to me that the aerospace industry moved on to pre-peg (clothes pre-impregnated with resin) some time ago.
That might be nice, but I suspect it costs a lot more. Most of us canoeists wouldn’t be willing to pay for that upgrade. If Lockheed built a kayak though, I bet it would be a really sweet design, and probably for under a million bucks.
Still waiting on the trickle down . . .
But I have a 1982 hand layup that
also can’t be broken by stomping or by folding over hard on a line. All it takes is vinylester and CAP= “chemically activated polyester.”
Don’t underestimate the ability of experienced and motivated hand layup people, either.
Pressure on a curing laminate could be overdone. You do not want to squash the fibers into an internal state of tension.
it IS happening…
Prepreg fabric and an autoclave curing process are available in the Wenonah family of products, but only in the new Kestrel hybrid kayaks from the CD line. Pick one up, and you won’t believe that a decked boat can be that light.
I’m not sure that the canoe market these days is big enough to warrant anyone investing in the molds and technology needed to do canoes. The ratio of 'yak to canoe sales is in the range of 15-1, and most of that ‘1’ is inexpensive plastic boats like the Pelicans and Rogue Rivers.
Another prepreg boat
Esquif just introduced the Zephyr this year which is basically a composite boat made with prepreg glass using some type of plastic as the resin. Supposedly it is very tough and lighter than Royalex. If it turns out all that its hyped up to be then this could be the beginning of the end of our love/hate relationship with Royalex.