Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

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Frogsider Frogsider
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Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

Bless me forum - it's been 5 years since my last build.  

I sold the last boat I built because it was just too small to sail comfortably and too short to row well.

I'm thinking of building a long, lightweight skin-on-frame rowing skiff, probably the Gentry "Ruth" design, but I haven't tried anything like it before - not that that's ever stopped me - and I thought it might be a good idea to ask for advice from any forum members who have built this type of craft.

I reckon I'm OK for the frame part of the job.  I've previously built two plywood sailing dinghies and repaired/restored several others in both wood and grp.  It's the "skin" part that has me twitching.  It seems there are a number of different materials and a number of different techniques for covering the frame with a skin fabric.  Most of what I've seen written on the subject mentions either exotic aviation material or stuff that I don't see in my local DIY shop.

What I would like to know is, what materials are likely to suit my limited skills, and my equally limited budget, best.  Also any ideas on where to source such material in suitable widths and at best prices.

Also, since I'm hoping to be able to fit a sliding seat (possibly home-made), will I need to budget for proper good-quality professionally made oars rather than standard off-the-chandlery-shelf ones?  Please don't say make them - I get terribly bored doing stuff like spars and paddles.

Any useful comments welcomed,

Patrick

   
Ratcatcherjohn Ratcatcherjohn
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RE: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

Good afternoon Patrick.

Simon Cooper not only manages a large arable estate but, with his wife Anne, runs` Flaxlands`.  They have developed and used several canoes using Flax and Flax derived bioresins which are much better explained here  http://www.flaxland.co.uk/fabric%20boats.html than I can.  I know Simon recently completed a 200 mile, Canoe + Bicycle + Dog trip so they have a demonstrated robustness which may not bee immediately obvious at first glance.    

John



Date: Fri, 18 Sep 2015 07:06:14 -0700
From: [hidden email]
To: [hidden email]
Subject: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

Bless me forum - it's been 5 years since my last build.  

I sold the last boat I built because it was just too small to sail comfortably and too short to row well.

I'm thinking of building a long, lightweight skin-on-frame rowing skiff, probably the Gentry "Ruth" design, but I haven't tried anything like it before - not that that's ever stopped me - and I thought it might be a good idea to ask for advice from any forum members who have built this type of craft.

I reckon I'm OK for the frame part of the job.  I've previously built two plywood sailing dinghies and repaired/restored several others in both wood and grp.  It's the "skin" part that has me twitching.  It seems there are a number of different materials and a number of different techniques for covering the frame with a skin fabric.  Most of what I've seen written on the subject mentions either exotic aviation material or stuff that I don't see in my local DIY shop.

What I would like to know is, what materials are likely to suit my limited skills, and my equally limited budget, best.  Also any ideas on where to source such material in suitable widths and at best prices.

Also, since I'm hoping to be able to fit a sliding seat (possibly home-made), will I need to budget for proper good-quality professionally made oars rather than standard off-the-chandlery-shelf ones?  Please don't say make them - I get terribly bored doing stuff like spars and paddles.

Any useful comments welcomed,

Patrick

   


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momist momist
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Re: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

In reply to this post by Frogsider
Hi Patrick.  

There was a skin on frame build series in Water Craft which I found both informative and enlightening.  W90 November/December – 2011 has part two, which I think is the one covering the actual fitting of the iron-on aircraft skin.  Part one is in the previous issue, but that is sold out on WC website.

If you are interested, I have all the issues here and could (cough, cough) the articles and put them in my dropbox to view.

Of course, that is only if you want to pursue the plastic skin route.  Those linen covered flax oiled boats are wonderful to behold, and you can see the fish you are travelling over through them.   I'm not sure of the relative strength/tear resistance.

Ian
momist momist
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Re: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

Just checked in the mag.  Yes, Jo Moran ironing on some Dacron fabric over Kevlar threads and treating with aircraft dope.  It really does look not too difficult, or even techy.

Ian
Timmo Timmo
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Re: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

Saw Jo's boat at Beale a few years ago. Featherweight but the skin looked and felt quite tough. not for scraping over rocks, but fine for normal use. The flax boats (also regulars at Beale) do actually look and feel tougher, though I guess it's a little more work to fit and proof the flax skin. Those with more knowledge and experience will offer better guidance.

Jeremy... any contribution from your Skin on Tin experience?

Tim.


On 18 Sep 2015, at 19:53, momist [via UK HBBR Forum] <[hidden email]> wrote:

Just checked in the mag.  Yes, Jo Moran ironing on some Dacron fabric over Kevlar threads and treating with aircraft dope.  It really does look not too difficult, or even techy.

Ian


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Jeremy Jeremy
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Re: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

My "skin on tin" build is documented in detail on this forum somewhere, I think, as well as being featured in Watercraft, along with Jo's build.

It's pretty easy, very light, reasonably tough, but its Achilles Heel is abrasion resistance on hard points, especially the keel, where you do need some additional protection.

I've been using "helicopter tape", but it's still relatively short lived and pretty expensive if you have to buy it (I was given some rolls of it years ago).

The secret is to iron the fabric at EXACTLY the right temperature to get the fabric to shrink just enough to be tight, without being weakened by the heat.  The process is best done in two stages, an initial low temperature ironing to get the wrinkles out and take up most of the slack, followed by a careful high temperature ironing to shrink to the right tension, without over-heating and weakening the fabric.

Painting the fabric helps with both abrasion resistance and sealing, as the fabric isn't watertight until sealed.  It is also essential to keep UV light away from the fabric, as that will cause fairly rapid degradation.
Frogsider Frogsider
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Re: Skin-on-frame build? Any advice on covering material, oars, etc?

This post was updated on .
Jeremy, John, Ian, Tim

Many thanks for your speedy and very informative responses.  

I do remember reading somewhere about the flax boats and I've also seen a video, but I had forgotten all about them.  I think they look great and I'm very attracted to this idea, so thanks John for the reminder.  Linen cloth would be particularly appropriate for my build as I live in an area of France where flax is an important crop.

The iron-on Dacron looked a bit exotic and technical for me.  I'm a bit of a bodger, really, so I like working with materials I can understand easily and in which I can fix/cover up my mistakes relatively easily.  I did follow Jeremy's account of his high tech tubular space frame boat covered with plastic aeroplane fabric, and was most impressed, but it all looked and sounded a bit beyond my lowly skill set.  Thanks, Ian for reminding me, and Jeremy for the detailed account of the build.

So, it could well be linen - unless someone can suggest some other fabric and proofing treatment that's cheap and easy to obtain.  

I toyed with the idea of the heavy duty shrink-wrap/cling film stuff that's used on palettes and large parcels.  I happen to have several rolls of it, as well as an applicator, left over from some of my house moves.  Has anyone ever heard of its use in boat building?

As for oars, I'm hoping for some advice from one or two of the rowing experts on the forum, though perhaps I should leave that subject for a later stage, when I need to make a decision about whether to go for a sliding seat or not.  I'm assuming oars and rowlocks for fixed seat rowing could be of a bog-standard nature, while the installation of a sliding seat and simple outriggers would presumably call for longer oars and more specialised rowlocks.  Am I right?

Patrick    
 
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