...What Laszlo Said

Posted by CLC on Oct 13, 2005

...and I would add that I don't think there are any "chopper-gun kayaks" these days. That system (now mostly gone from the marine industry) creates heavy, flexible fiberglass structures and spews a lot of VOC's into the air.

Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I think all of the fiberglass (and Kevlar or carbon) production kayaks on the market these days are "hand-laid," that is, fabric rolled into a female mold and saturated by hand or through SCRIMP processes. The all-fiberglass versions tend to be heavy; fiberglass is not all that stiff on its own, so they have to make the lay-up thick and thus heavy.

Your average stitch-and-glue kayaks are best thought of as "composite" designs, a mixture of wood and fiberglass. The combination of high-tensile-strength fiberglass skins and stiff, light okoume plywood "core" yields a very high section modulus without much weight. Not incidentally, the fiberglassed-plywood scheme is pretty to look at and it's easy for amateur boatbuilders to assemble.

Exactly HOW much fiberglass fabric to stick onto your wood core varies according to usage and opinion and is an esoteric question of some dispute among partisans, the subject of free-wheeling and sometimes impassioned discussion on this forum among others.

In Response to: Re: fiberglass thoughts by Laszlo on Oct 13, 2005