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Fabric prices


Kudzu
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I am running into one dead end after another looking for a replacement for the old 8 oz fabric. I can have it made but I just don't sell enough fabric to buy a mill run. The minimum is around 5,000 yards and that would be a 4-5 year supply  for me. Not to mention the cost!

 

I have found a really nice looking 11.5 oz polyester fabric. Smoother than the old 8 oz and a tighter weave too. Its a little stiffer but I see no reason to think it would be Hard to work with. But it is a lot more expensive and shipping has to be by freight. Quotes on shipping are  $750+/- for 300 yards of fabric. that is .83 cents a foot just to get it here! . So you can see where I am going.  Best estimate is I would have to sell it for $7 a foot to make any money. 

 

I have one more company I am talking to but I have talked to a bunch and I don't expect any better news. I am just about out of options. 

 

So give me some feedback on the price and what you think. I am just so frustrated at this point I don't know what to do.

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I have one more company I am talking to but I have talked to a bunch and I don't expect any better news. I am just about out of options. 

 

Well, I talked to the new company after I posted this and they don't have anything wider than 60" and boats like the Messabouts can't be skinned with that without piecing the fabric. 

 

I see a few people have seen this with no comment. I could REALLY use some input from everyone. Don't be shy! Just tell me if you pay $7 a foot or not.

As far as I know, no one else has a good polyester fabric.I have tried a couple of others and was not impressed. That is another reason I want something good.

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If I were going to build another boat after the one I already have the cloth for I would pay it.  It is still cheaper than buying plywood suitable for building one.  Even if 20 ft. were needed, still less than $150 to cover a kayak.  What other choice would a person have.  I haven't looked but I bet the PVC cloth or whatever it is is in the same range.

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I see that other companies only carry various weights of nylon.  Is it possible to find a nylon that does not sag after the boat is painted and launched?  I think the major selling point of dacron is that it stays  taught.  If there is no other option to a stay taught skin I would pay $7 per foot, but you are getting close to the max.

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This is probably a good time to go over the differences again.

 

Nylon is hygroscopic, it absorbs water and then expands. That is why nylon loosens up on a boat once it gets on the water. And yes, even coated it still absorbs water. Sewing it on wet, in it's relaxed state is supposed to help stop this. I only tried it once and it didn't work but others have better luck. Polyester is not hygroscopic so it is more stable. Being wet doesn't affect it.

 

The main reason I like polyester is for finishing reasons. Nylon is very non-stick so there is a limited amount of finishes that will work on it. Many things will stick and then start to peel or flake off. I suspect with most states making oil based products harder to get the situation is getting worse and it is going to get harder to find something that works. Polyester is the opposite and most anything will stick to it. Most of use us porch and deck enamel. Latex products adhere very well and are easy to find. 

 

I know $7 a foot is high but I am running out of options and I really don't want to have to use nylon. 

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I've only built one SOF so far, used polyester and I certainly like how it's turned out.  So yeah, I'd still go for polyester even with the price increase, besides I'm probably the slowest builder around so I'd have plenty of time to save up my dollars.  

Willis approves as well.

post-2885-0-35937200-1369278764_thumb.jpg

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Someone I do a fair amount of business with made a good point about the true cost of the skin. For a 17' boat your will be talking $126 +/- for the fabric. But it is just like the $50 sheet of plywood people get excited about. Look at the total cost. Your ending up with a 17' kayak that weighs 32 pounds +/- for around $400. A fiberglass boat would cost you well over $2,000. You will pay at least  $400 a comparable 17' Tupperware boat that going to weight around 50 pounds.

 

I am still not happy about the price of this fabric, but when you look at the big picture these boats are still the biggest bargain out there.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Good Afternoon;

 

I've recently become interested in SOF boating,  I am a full time RV'er in need of a way to get back on the water...and a winter project.  SOF's light weight draws me to this method of construction.

 

I was disappointed to read that your choice of 8oz polyester is no longer available.  A quick search turned up 72" wide, 3.7oz polysester from Stewart River Boats (it is used for fabric covered airplanes).  Is this an unacceptably light weight fabric for small boats?  Could it be applied in two layers?

 

If the 11.5oz fabric is the only game-in-town, I'm also in.

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I will not use aircraft fabric because it is so lightweight it's not going to stand up to much abuse. Yes it will work and yes people use it. If you are careful, baby it and don't paddle waters with hazards in the water you can use it. I have never tried it and I wouldn't expect it is delicate, but is sure not going to be tough. I wouldn't think applying two layers would gain much since they are not bound together. It would still be a very light fabric on the outside that would be damaged just as easily seems to me. Trying to sew two layers at once would be a royal pain in the rear too!

 

The 8 oz fabric was a good fabric that with reasonable care stood up very well. I never heard of anyone putting a hole in it. It was possible to wear a hole in the fabric and I did that on a couple of boats. Abrasion is the #1 enemy of skin boats, not hitting sticks and rocks. Keep in mind this fabric was nearly 3 times as heavy as heavy aircraft Dacron and I suspect it wouldn't take much to rub a hole in it.

 

11.6 oz is going to be a little overkill for most people but it should be darn near bullet proof for normal use. I think you will hard pressed to damage it. Abrasion is still going to an issue, it will just take longer to damage it. Rub strips will be just as important in high wear areas.

 

As far as the only game in town, I have checked the other places I know of and no one has any polyester listed except George Dyson. He has a couple of heavier polyester fabrics, one of which I have used. The weave is so loose I hated working with it. It was very difficult to sew a seam in it. I ended up with huge pull holes. The texture was very coarse once painted. I was just not impressed with and ended up reskinning the boat latter on. And that is nothing against my competition either. George is OK. The other fabric is super heavy, 29 oz I think? Way to heavy for a little kayak.

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I have a limited experience using the aviation cover products made by Poly Fiber. Two layers of fabric bonds beautifully together using their Poly Brush product. They have a simple science of shrinking their Dacron Fabric with a household iron. But as I have researched it for Kayaks, Poly Fiber wants a wood structure to be be protected from the chemicals of the covering process by using epoxy varnish...well that's another $75.

How much change in weight of a kayak takes place using an 11 oz fabric compared with an 8oz fabric? Is the units of measurement actually ounces per square foot?

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It is ounces per square yard. Going to be hard to figure the weight difference because it hard to figure the surface area of a boat, but I would guess a pound maybe a pound and a half?

Paint is heavy and this fabric may take less paint with the tight weave so that may offset some weight gain.

I discovered a problem after I finished the prototype Sling Shot. So I think just as soon as the fabric comes in I am going repair it and reskin it with the new fabric. That way I will have first hand experience with it. If I remember I can weight it before and after.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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