TeXtreme carbon fabric for canoes

I was in a canoe store today and saw a beautiful 15’ Swift Keewaydin in a carbon ribbon fabric called TeXtreme. Sorry if it’s been discussed here, as I’ve been away.

The claim is that it’s significantly lighter weight than regular carbon cloth and that it requires less resin because there aren’t as many twists and turns in the fabric. It looks like ribbons of carbon woven into a plaid pattern.

I got home and saw this announcement about TeXtreme:


The Kee 15 had both inwales and outwales of infused snake foam–rather than the wooden strip outwales I’ve seen in earlier years. Also carbon deck plates. Nice, nice, nice.

The Swift rep surprised me when he said the Kee 15 was primarily a sitting canoe rather than a kneeling canoe. I mentioned that the Swift website has a video of Charlie Wilson propelling a Kee 15 akneel. He acknowledged this, but stuck to his story that the sliding seat height is kind of a tight fit for kneeling.

I really liked the look of the boat a lot, and wanted one . . . but didn’t quite have $3,800 in my coin purse. I’d rather have a Swift Osprey anyway. Maybe next year.

Any TeXtreme comments?

Here are some pictures




– Last Updated: Feb-01-15 9:17 AM EST –

Fabrics normally used in laminates start as tow, very fine filaments that are twisted/spun into thread and woven into fabric. There is quite a bit of kink involved in both processes, more in the weaving. Let's use 50 as a cardinal number to describe the kink in spun, woven fabric.

When a fabric reinforced plastic product impacts an object with enough force to break, the fabric's tensile strength is engages after the kinks are straightened out, resulting in the stress cracks or grins we often see in FRP paddlecraft.

TeXtreme is a spread tow fabric. The Filaments are not spun but bundled and woven as such, then stabilized on one side. Our kink number is close to 10; the fabric's tensile strength engaged from the start of deflection.

We can use slightly lighter weight fabric which holds less resin, the resultant being lighter than a woven carbon laminate layer of equal strength. But stiffness is also a function of beam thickness, so there are limits to designing thinner laminates. TeXtreme is a step in the direction of lighter, stronger, hulls and is visually stunning. The hull can also be used as a chessboard when windbound. Available in pre-preg and unresinated for infusion processing, TeXtreme would be problematical to laminate by hand.

Swifts Integral rails are used in variation by Placid boatworks and Colden Canoe. A shaped foam section including enough X and Y axis size to approximate combined inwale and outwale sections is fabric wrapped and inserted in the mold with the hull's fabric layers and partials. All are infused as a single unit, reducing assembly time and errors. Weight is decreased, strength increased, another step towards lighter, stronger, paddlecraft.

Swift has new carbon seat drop pods that bond to the hull's inside. They can be raised and angled to improve kneeling comfort, but the factory needs top know before that bonding occurs. As above, they are lighter than the traditional machine screw and truss seat drops and, importantly, do not require four holes bored through the rails to attach a seat. Eliminating those holes strengthens the rails considerably. The seat pods are another step towards lighter and stronger boats.

It just so happens that $3,800.00 is the price I paid in 1968 for my brand new Ford Mustang. In 1966 I bought a new Mustang for $2,700.00.

Which all means little, and much.

I have the 38 hundred available, but a 38 hundred dollar canoe is not in my future. I’d call that “over the top”.


Bob you just need to appreciate the best quality!

Go ahead and get one of those floating trash cans at a big box store if you want!

Same here, but.
it would be a complete waste of my money since I would be afraid to use that boat.

Jack L

Rest assured…

– Last Updated: Feb-01-15 6:35 PM EST –

Rest assured, I will buy any canoe I want, from wherever I want, whenever I want. Don't presume that I need anyone to tell me what quality is, or what I don't appreciate.

I do not seek anyone's permission before stating my personal opinion, on any subject, including canoes.

In the past I have owned (among others) an original Curtis Dragonfly, Swift Osprey, Hemlock SRT, Lotus Caper, Bell Merlin, Bell Wildfire, several Bell Flashfire, and a Chestnut Pal.

I know..........those are all low quality, big box store bathtubs, but I really did/do enjoy paddling the "old beaters".

Want a 38 hundred dollar canoe; go for it!
Buy two; then you'll have one to lend as a loaner.


What’s Price got to do with it?

– Last Updated: Feb-03-15 2:12 PM EST –

Here I thought the physical particulars of TeXtreme would interest paddlers. Sure it's currently pricey stuff, partly because it uses carbon fibre at $50/# and will probably be available in boron at $400/#. there is no economic advantage to spreading glass tow; the performance of the material can;t justify the effort and it wouldn't sell.

Swift's top end, tech packaged TeXtreme hulls are below median, above average and way above mode for canoe pricing, but none are required purchases. Luddites are welcome to practice their avocation. If we all agreed on everything there would be two long lines leading to Angelina and Brad's house. On the other hand, if someone doesn't push the envelope paddlecraft won't improve.

You forgot to mention that they are breathtakingly beautiful.


Tex is awesome
I’ve paddled Savage River’s DIIIx (their J203 solo racer equivalent) in the Textreme layup and have a couple thoughts on it.

It looks awesome. Seriously, you will be faster because you look so cool. Also it makes you appear younger, stronger, and more attractive. This is a well known fact. Really though, its aesthetics cant be beat by anything (except possibly beautifully made cedar strip canoe, and even then I think the woodie needs some cool inlays to make it better looking than Tex). Its seriously cool.

Second, its suuuuuper rigid. Its interesting to hear the explanation provided in the first link; Because the fabric is less woven it elongates less and hits its tensile load sooner and thus flexes less. This perfectly matches my experience. This stuff is seriously stiff!

ZRE started using Tex for their blades a year or so ago. Also, Savage River has been using this layup for at least a year and maybe a little more.

Ya, its pricey, but if you’re going to spend $3900 for a Savage River D3x in carbon/kev layup, or $4500 for an all Tex layup, the Tex is only ~15% more expensive, so I think if you can afford a new carbon boat, you can probably afford a new TexTreme boat.

Anyways its amazing to look at and extremely stiff. Its great stuff and hopefully the price just comes down over time.

Thanks for clearing the air Bob.


– Last Updated: Feb-03-15 10:30 AM EST –

But it's not green! There two kinds of canoes; green ones and one I don't want. Also, I kneel in my Kee 14 and love it. I see no reason the 15 wouldn't be good for kneeling also. I can see that the low tumblehome would make for easier bottom sitting double blade paddling. Turtle

can I get it in a MacDonald Glencoe?

too bad you can’t buy a good paddler

Someone has to buy new expensive canoes so the rest of us can buy them used later.


Maybe, but…
We’re starting to see colorized carbon. That said, setting up a loom to bi or quad weave fabric adds ~ 50% to fabric cost. A set up for the MacDonald tartan would more than double it, so we’re looking at $75 a yard and at a minimum run of 1,000 yards, a $75K downbeat. You’d get ~50 hulls from the run at about $6K each.

So… How many MacDonalds are there both dedicated paddlers and extremely proud of their heritage?

ok, that would be awesome
A plaid boat? I think you’d sell a few.

plaid canoe
The Minnesota IV in plaid; i’d be in heaven. Though getting a consensus on which plaid would take longer than raising the cash to buy the 1000yds of fabric.