A local dealer has a good price on a Wenonah Wilderness in Tuf-Weave. I’d like to hear about your experiences with this composite. I was looking for a Kevlar Encounter, but this one caught my eye. If you have experience with the Wilderness I’d also like to hear about it. I’m looking for a lake/portage solo tripper.
I have a tuf-weave Prism. It’s my first boat so my experience with other hull materials is very limited. I do paddle with others who have boats of other materials and issues with flexing, oil-canning, witness dents from tie-down straps, etc. I have none of those issues with my Prism.
My gel coat has lots of scratches from skooching over river snags and other beginner mishaps like when I left my boat cantilevered over the top shelf of a rack in my barn. A barn cat walked out over the cantilevered end and the sharp tuf-weave edge of the stern crashed 6’ down onto the hitch of a tractor implement. My Prism suffered minimal damage.
This probably isn’t much advice but I got to tell my barn cat story.
Good luck with your new boat.
I have three composite boats, …
… none of which would have survived the kind of impact you just described without NEEDING repair.
I bet the cat will be careful about walking into that boat again. They tend to remember unsettling experiences like that!
Have owned two Wenonah tuffweave boats. VERY good layup that held up well on rocky Ozark streams and trips in the BWCAW in MN, where the landings are very rough and rocky. I had 'Ol Blue (the 1st one) pinned once for a minute or so on a log, it survived several good jolts to the side (thinnest area) by logs and rocks and never suffered anything more than gelcoat chips and scratches. IMHO, it’s an excellent material.
Not paddled a Wilderness, but it’s on my “Short list” for my next solo boat. If I choose the one of the 3 Wenonah’s, I will get Tuffweave unless I find a killer deal on Kevlar flexcore. After lusting over a few other brands, I have to admit Wenonah gives a little more bang for your buck and has some good designs.
I have a few other friends who have no qualms about using tuffweave boats on rocky Ozark streams, either. Here’s a pic of my friend Dick on the Current in his tuffweave Argosy. WW
I have a Sundowner 18
and it has been through some preaty scary manuvers and still looks pretty darn good.
We bashed the chine into a submerged log last year while heavily loaded. We recovered (barely) taking on a good bit of water and thought for sure we would be doing a fieldrepair, but there was barely a mark on the canoe.
The white gel coat shows a lot less scratches than a skin coat finish, but this is true of a gelled kevlar flex core too.
The only downside I have experienced is the added weight over my kevlar canoes.
Tuff weave is just another fabric.
I haven't punished my Voyager but it is plenty tough.
Actually there is more to Tuff Weave.
The vinylester resin, during layup, will slightly dissolve the surface of the polyester fibers in the Tuff Weave layup. This forms an unusually tenacious bond, actually better than would be the case if epoxy resin were used.
This trick has been used by Noah (where the polyester was called CAP) and by Phoenix in their tough Fiberlastic layups. I campaigned a Phoenix Fiberlastic c-1 for 15 years of hard use. The hull never cracked, though I added a Kevlar patch to a single area where the polyester layup got wrenched.
I have a Tuffweave Sundowner and love the layup. It is the old cross rib style, and although a little heavy, it is pretty stiff and very durable. The hull will not oilcan or flex noticeably. I mostly paddle flatwater, but I have struck a few hidden impediments at speed. After a decade of heavy to moderate use, the only damage the hull shows are small spider cracks in the gelcoat.
My other hull is a Kevlar/fiberglass layup by Bell. I know it’s not apples to apples considering the core material and weight dif., but the Tuffweave hull is much stiffer and I’d bet stronger.
I’ve got a Tuf-Weave Spirit that is a joy to paddle. I’ve heard they are fairly tough but I can’t see how they’d match up to Royalex. Looking forward to what your replies say.
Tufweave v Royalex
If I had the choice, It would be Tufweave over Royalex every time. The layup is bomber. Compared to a Kevlar Flexcore layup, it is only a pound or two heavier. But a Wilderness isn’t exactly an Encounter.
We forget that prior to Royalex, everyone paddled composite boats. Those boats took the abuse. But once plastic boats could be popped out of a mold in an afternoon, with an attractive price, people swung over to Royalex. I’m seeing several canoe manufacturers offering glass options at a lower price point than Royalex and there’s substantial rumors that Royalex production might end in the near future. If that happens, Tufweave is going to reign king while everyone else tries to emulate it’s strength and low weight.
It’s possible for composite canoes
to approach Royalex canoes in durability, but in order to do so, composite boats will end up weighing almost as much as Royalex. Nowadays, specialty builders like Millbrook try for very light and fairly durable whitewater boats. Western/Clipper makes a few WW models in layups similar to Tuff Weave (that is, using vinylester resin and polyester cloth). There are other isolated examples.
If a person puts sensible limits on abusing composite WW boats, they can be kept in service longer than Royalex, which after a couple of decades gets increasingly brittle.
Thanks for your comments on Tuf-weave VS Royalex. I had no idea the tuf-weave lay-up would stand that much abuse. Learn something everyday.
Would you add
a kevlar skidplate to a tufweave canoe? Thanks for the great responses, BTW.
I had a Sundowner 17
tough weave with center rib. That was a good canoe.
Only if you want heavy patches that
interfere with water flow, aren’t very strong, and get fuzzy when they wear.
If a Tuf Weave boat gets worn on the stems, some thin layers of E-glass or (better) S-glass will fix the situation without making the boat worse.
Kevlar felt skid plates dominate because they are a convenience product (easy to put on) and because they have the “Kevlar” mystique, not because they make the best skid plate.
I use Skid plates only after major damage and fiberlass makes thinner, smoother, cheaper skid plates. WW
skidplates on tough-weave?
Yes, but the problem (if we can use the word) with tuffweave is not the lay-up, its the gelcoat. I am paddling a Spirit II alot, but I am doing patching on it evey year due to gelcoat loss.
This is not a fault of the toughweave, its due to running shallow creeks and hitting rocks. The hull’s integrity is solid, has stood up well to much abuse for ten years. This is “operator error”, not a weakness in the lay-up.
We recently scored a RX MR Explorer with bad rails, which we replaced, and now we have a low water boat we can beat to death, saving the Spirit II for decent water levels.
I had this issue in mind when I bought the Wilderness in RX last fall instead of toughweave. Its a beater boat I can paddle anywhere, anytime. The old Sawyer Autumn Mist comes out when water levels are decent.
You Should Rid Yourself of That…
...Autumn Mist ASAP. Piece of crap, probably falling apart by now. Tell you what, I'll take it off your hands since you seem like a nice guy. Name your price and I'll drag myself to wherever you are to help you out (LOL)!
Had one myself and sold it during a weak moment. Regretted it as soon as it left my boat barn!
As for the tuffweave, "Yes," I would wait until significant damage. I touched up gelcoat, but beat my blue Adirondack a bunch for several years without needing skid plates.
And if you get tired of looking at that Autumn Mist, you know who to contact! Here's an old pic of my "Baby" and another pic of "Ol Blue," my tuffweave Adirondack after almost 15 years of Ozark paddling and BWCAW paddling. WW
Gelcoat ?!? We don’ patch no
steenking gelcoat. The less of it on the canoe, the less to carry.
Owned only two gelcoated boats, made when builders weren't smart enough to do it the right way. S-glass is harder than gelcoat.
By the way, shallow, gravelly runs will wear the vinyl "gelcoat" off your Royalex canoe, at which point you will have to glass or paint to keep UV off the structural ABS layer.