My attempt to build a Kevlar or Carbon Fiber canoe

my canoe project forum
     
     
Running total of cost
Canoe Project Home - The Strongback - The Form - The Mold (part 1) - The Mold (part 2)
The Layup (part1) - The Layup (part 2) - The Layup (part 3) - Project Finish (gunwales) - Project Finish (floats) - Project Finish (seats)

The Rebuild Part 1

    It all started when camping on Big Manistique lake in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I wanted to take my boys out on the lake a bit to do some fishing.  We talked about it getting a boat and decided there was no way it was in the budged. We decided that we did not want to any type of watercraft which require a trailer (and hence licensing). We discussed getting a canoe since we have had fun with rentals in some of our wonderful Michigan rivers.  As we discussed the canoe option the subject of portability arose. 

    As our boys are too young to offer any assistance and my wife may not be available to help, I insisted that if we get a canoe that we get one which I could load on our minivan alone.  Anyone who has tried to load a canoe on a mini-van without assistance will know what I mean.  The lighter the better yet it needs to be large enough for three occupants.  Thus the want of a boat made with Kevlar or Carbon Fiber.  The sticking point then became cost. With the Kevlar canoes starting at about $1400 (US) and up it just was not happening. I saw the the book Building Your Kevlar Canoe: A Foolproof Method and Three Foolproof Designs by James Moran.

    I read the book and my first thought was "this is too complex, there is no way I will be able to build a Kevlar canoe".  The book sat in a box packed away six months.  I saw the book when unpacking the box and gave it another perusal and thought "I can not do this" and tossed it up on the shelf. After some time passed (and the purchase of a canoe was ruled out again) I bought an Adobe Program called Illustrator.  I decided to try to make a canoe plan following the guidelines in the Building Your Kevlar Canoe book in an attempt to learn to use Adobe Illustrator.  I was sure that just drawing the plans was beyond my ability but it would give me a project to try Illustrator.  After playing around with Illustrator for a while I found I had a canoe plan.  You can get the the original plan with all the points plotted here or the rounded plans here.
    As you can guess I decided to give this build your own canoe thing a try. I have not decided what fabric I will use, however have been thinking about using a Kevlar/Carbon fiber hybrid fabric.  The book was published in 1995 thus is ten years old. I have contacted the publisher Ragged Mountain Press in order to find a way to contact the author.  Apparently the only way to get in contact with Mr. Moran to ask for clarification or updates is to fax the parent company McGraw-Hill and hope they forward the fax to the author.  So says the company.  It would be nice if Mr. Moran had an McGraw-Hill email, shipping address, or telephone answering service. 
    Unable to ask questions of the the author I have posted requests for advice on the use of a hybrid fabric in two forums. As I have said I have not decided on if I will use Kevlar, Carbon fiber, or a hybrid Kevlar/Carbon fabric.  Sites to check out.
paddling.net
myccr.com (Canadian Canoe Routes)
    The folks at Canadian Canoe Routes have been very helpful (a thank you to our neighbors to the north). I decided to use a Kevlar/Carbon fiber hybrid cloth which will be covered by standard S-glass as per the book's instructions.
    Next: The Strongback
Canoe Project Home - The Strongback - The Form - The Mold (part 1) - The Mold (part 2)
The Layup (part1) - The Layup (part 2) - The Layup (part 3) - Project Finish (gunwales) - Project Finish (floats) - Project Finish (seats)

The Rebuild Part 1