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Experimenting with weatherman 80 for boat covering

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I will follow with a few pics, and yes, I just signed up on this forum. Read a lot of great inputs here and am impressed. My first skin on frame was built in 1956 and followed with it’s destruction going down little Muskegon river into big M. My next was in 1961, a canoe, both without plans and old time canvas. I did do a few others, all pretty shaky, but fun. Also did two home built airplanes along the way with wood and poly skins shrunk on the frame, crashed one making kindling of Sitka spruce and foam LOL.


For those smarter than me,  Look up weatherman 80, 8 0z with a tight weave, uncoated,  but will not shrink. I use it for boat covering on my catamaran here in fl. Just painted a sample with 3 coats of oil base furniture paint and it is quite smooth and sealed using already thinned paint wife used for porch furniture. The weave is very tight and fabric seems strong. I will test it tomorrow.


Also some member suggested using micro-balloons mixed in paint to seal fabric. I just did a sample on large weave 10 glass and yes it works well for filling weave.  I have a lot of experience building large boats and a few airplanes using composite glass, and epoxy and filling weave was paramount.


As an aside, I plan to build a few kayaks this summer when I return to Michigan, wanting to finish a 42 mile event starting in Ellsworth and ending in elk rapids. Being 82 with five joint replacements makes this exciting, so I need something lighter than my hobie.  Now exercising   hard as suggested here so I can use a  sit in as I do have limitations.

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As for 'filling the weave' it is a common idea that it somehow make the skins better.  It is common in fiberglass work to make the coating smooth and not look like fabric.  I am just guessing but in aircraft I imagine there might be some aerodynamic advantages to a smoother surface to a rough one.


But in my boats there is no advantage. You just adding weight, work and cost to the boat. The slightly textured skin doesn't hurt anything at the speeds we travel. I remember read some study by people smarter than me have suggested there might  be some benefits in a less than smooth finish at slow speeds.  And after all it is a skin boat and I want people to see that.


As for weatherman 80. sorry but I can't recommend using UPHOLSTERY FABRIC  for skinning my boats. You can skin your boat in what you want but I sure don't recommend it or support it in any manner.

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HI Sailormon,


here you can see my results by using an coated polyester and an synthetic resin varnish:




+ durable glueing  (stern / bow), or after scratches

+ hot shrinkable

+ not hygroscopic

* shiny finish, people do not realize it is an SoF

-relatively heavy, applyed many layers of resin

- i think it could be more durable (e.g. scratches)


so i decidet to try next time an uncoatet ballistic nylon  and applying an urethan coating - we will see,


i am very interestd to hear (and see) about your experiences.

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First spell check won yesterday, the fabric is weathermax.  I don’t think I would use it either. It really got lose over night, but looks good.  I am leaning towards nylon and two part urethane. I have done a lot of building using resins and this is just another resin I am used to.


You are right about texture and water. Some study was done on this and there is an advantage found in sea life due to the not smooth texture of a creatures body related to speed. In my planes, texture and anything else was a disadvantage.

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3 hours ago, Sailormon said:

Some study was done on this and there is an advantage found in sea life due to the not smooth texture of a creatures body related to speed.

This is only a guess, but this may be the same phenomenon that resulted in the addition of dimples to golf balls. The dimples create a thin layer of turbulent flow on the surface of the golf ball. The air outside that layer then moves with linear flow for a greater distance along the ball than it otherwise would, resulting in reduced drag.

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Yes, the good and bad of texture. I built a canard airplane with laminar flow. I could land her at 45 mph normally, yet would stall at 55 in a rain. A series of crashes in small passenger planes using laminar and icing is the negative of this.  The last I checked, I don’t paddle that fast so no worry.

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A long time ago some magizine did a study on bottom paint and application.  They found that the displacement boats that used just a roller, dimples and all had faster boats than those who wet sanded and burnished their bottom paint.

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