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[bolger] Canvas as sail material?

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  • Blake Sartin
    I was wondering if anyone has experience using the butyl-rubber impregnated canvas dropcloth (or the standard canvas, for that matter) as a sail material? I
    Message 1 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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      I was wondering if anyone has experience using the butyl-rubber impregnated
      canvas dropcloth (or the standard canvas, for that matter) as a sail
      material?

      I was at the local hardware megastore yesterday and I noticed that the price
      of these dropcloths is very reasonable, and they seem to be a more "meaty"
      substance than plain old polytarp. Is this material totally unusable for a
      sail in boats of this size? Is it too heavy?

      I want to make my own cheap sail, just wondering if there's any good
      alternative to polytarp that is still cheap. I'm still considering
      advertizing for DuPont's Tyvek, I've heard good results from that material.
      Only thing that scares me off is the giant labels.

      I also read about using 6-mil plastic sheeting in the plans that I got for
      the Stevenson 3-in-1. They seem to swear by this for the lateen, but use
      blue poly exclusively on their other boats.

      But it seems to me that the canvas would "look" the best. Am I placing too
      much emphasis on visual beauty?

      Blake
      Knoxville, TN
      (not building the Stevenson)
    • Michael Schacht
      ... Tyvek is available unlabeled. The fabric sign and banner industry is a big user. I got some from a local banner maker - pure white. It cost me quite a bit
      Message 2 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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        > I'm still considering
        > advertizing for DuPont's Tyvek, I've heard good results from that material.
        > Only thing that scares me off is the giant labels.

        Tyvek is available unlabeled. The fabric sign and banner industry is a big
        user. I got some from a local banner maker - pure white. It cost me quite a
        bit more per square foot, but I didn't have to buy the giant roll that will
        cover the barn, so it wound up costing less.

        BTW - I am a new member, and have been enjoying the good cheer found here
        for about a week.

        Michael Schacht-
        Enjoying unseasonably warm and sunny weather here on Puget Sound in
        Washington State.
      • peter lenihan
        Blake, Esthetics are such a personal thing,but I do whole heartedly appreciate your desire for canvas,if only for the traditional look. Areas you may wish to
        Message 3 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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          Blake,
          Esthetics are such a personal thing,but I do whole heartedly
          appreciate your desire for canvas,if only for the"traditional look.
          Areas you may wish to reflect on before making a purchase of your
          canvas might be;the weight of the material,especially should it get wet!
          the ability to resist rot,especially if you are amongst the
          blessed from regions considerably further south than I.
          how much stretch will the canvas have and it`s effect on sail
          shape
          the presence of a sewing machine capable of going through
          multiple layers of canvas.
          your willingness to use an alternate source of propulsion in
          light airs.
          I did have a wonderful set of sails made for my
          Elver(AAAAGGGGHHHH!the sound of me biting my tongue in shame)many years
          ago by a sailmaker in Kingston Ontario and he used a polyester material
          that not only had the look and texture of canvas but was also tanbark
          in colour,held it`s shape over the years and never rotted out from
          under me.The three sails,at that time,cost about $800.00 Canadian
          dollars(or about$250.00 US! :D)
          Hope this helps a wee bit in your search for good sails.
          Sincerely,

          Peter Lenihan,daring to walk around outdoors with his jacket open to
          the precocious suggestions of spring,on the still frozen shores of the
          St.Lawrence





          "blake sartin" <bsarti-@...> wrote:
          original article:http://www.egroups.com/group/bolger/?start=3276
          > I was wondering if anyone has experience using the butyl-rubber
          impregnated
          > canvas dropcloth (or the standard canvas, for that matter) as a sail
          > material?
          >
          > I was at the local hardware megastore yesterday and I noticed that
          the price
          > of these dropcloths is very reasonable, and they seem to be a more
          "meaty"
          > substance than plain old polytarp. Is this material totally unusable
          for a
          > sail in boats of this size? Is it too heavy?
          >
          > I want to make my own cheap sail, just wondering if there's any good
          > alternative to polytarp that is still cheap. I'm still considering
          > advertizing for DuPont's Tyvek, I've heard good results from that
          material.
          > Only thing that scares me off is the giant labels.
          >
          > I also read about using 6-mil plastic sheeting in the plans that I
          got for
          > the Stevenson 3-in-1. They seem to swear by this for the lateen, but
          use
          > blue poly exclusively on their other boats.
          >
          > But it seems to me that the canvas would "look" the best. Am I
          placing too
          > much emphasis on visual beauty?
          >
          > Blake
          > Knoxville, TN
          > (not building the Stevenson)
          >
        • Jack E. Bearden
          I have only very limited experience with alternative sail materials. I ve got a commercially made dacron leg-o-mutton on the june bug that works like a charm.
          Message 4 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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            I have only very limited experience with alternative sail materials. I've
            got a commercially made dacron leg-o-mutton on the june bug that works like
            a charm. But I've watched lots of polytarp rigs competeing in the wind
            sprint and LS races at the Mahone Bay Wooden Boat Festival. Boat for boat
            the polytarps don't seem to stand a chance against those powered by sail
            makers sails.I attended a sail makers workshop at the festival and developed
            an appreciation for the subtlety of camber. It was obvious that the flat cut
            polytarp sails simply could not hold their wind, light or heavy. Peter's
            point about the sewability of canvas is an important question. I'd be
            interested in knowing if people have taken the trouble to construct a
            carefully crafted sail from polytarp, tyvec, etc...multiple cambered seams,
            multiple layered corners, and everything. Is it worth the trouble? Are these
            materials sewable? Can you heat seal or glue them? Seems they could lend
            themselves to being a great way for the aspiring sail maker to learn the
            craft without wasting a lot of dacron and $$ in the process.

            jeb, not fooled for a minute by the tropically warm February weather on the
            shores of Fundy
          • Fraser Howell
            I made up a jib of 65 sf for my chebacco. I got the panel shapes using shareware, the sailcut program by R. Laine. (http://users.bart.nl/~jmlaine/sailcut/). I
            Message 5 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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              I made up a jib of 65 sf for my chebacco. I got the panel shapes using
              shareware, the sailcut program by R. Laine.
              (http://users.bart.nl/~jmlaine/sailcut/). I made several samples out of
              paper to see the actual shape to help evaluate the sail parameters. The
              sail itself is a rubberized fabric I got for free. I glued the panels
              with contact cement. The result lasted for 1 season, I was happy with
              its shape and performance. I am having a dacron sail made to the same
              shape.
              The program is easy to use and can make triangular or 4-sided sails. Any
              panel width of fabric can be selected. You draw out the full-sized
              panels, fair them, cut them, then glue or sew them together. Reinforce,
              grommet, hem, and you are off.

              Cheers;
              Fraser Howell
            • Chuck Leinweber
              ... seams, ... these ... the ... Jack: Some polytarp sailmakers are creating shape by the simple process of making darts in them. I have not made but one
              Message 6 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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                >I'd be
                > interested in knowing if people have taken the trouble to construct a
                > carefully crafted sail from polytarp, tyvec, etc...multiple cambered
                seams,
                > multiple layered corners, and everything. Is it worth the trouble? Are
                these
                > materials sewable? Can you heat seal or glue them? Seems they could lend
                > themselves to being a great way for the aspiring sail maker to learn the
                > craft without wasting a lot of dacron and $$ in the process.
                >
                > jeb, not fooled for a minute by the tropically warm February weather on
                the
                > shores of Fundy

                Jack:

                Some polytarp sailmakers are creating shape by the simple process of making
                darts in them. I have not made but one polytarp sail a number of years ago,
                but will soon need another one for my Caprice. I plan to use this method.
                Jim Michalak has written about this subject:
                http://marina.fortunecity.com/breakwater/274/1998/1015/index.htm


                Chuck Leinweber
                Duckworks Magazine
                http://www.duckworksmagazine.com
              • david
                Blake, You can purchase plain, off-white Tyvek in sixty inch widths for $2.50 a running yard ($2.25 for 12+ yards) from _Into The Wind_, a kite hobbyist supply
                Message 7 of 9 , Feb 29, 2000
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                  Blake,
                  You can purchase plain, off-white Tyvek in sixty inch widths for $2.50 a
                  running
                  yard ($2.25 for 12+ yards) from _Into The Wind_, a kite hobbyist supply
                  company.
                  They have a website: <http://www.intothewind@com/>. The website doesn't
                  have the
                  Tyvek listed, or much else, but you can place a request for their
                  mail-order
                  catalog from there, or just write them via E-mail at:
                  <kites@...>. I
                  have no financial connection with these folks, btw. This tyvek is off
                  white and
                  looks sorta like Egyptian cotton from a distance... well, maybe not, but
                  there
                  are no huge logos on it. It can be sewn, glued with contact or rubber
                  cement, or
                  taped with double faced indoor/outdoor carpet tape. Good instructions
                  for making Tyvek sails can be found at:
                  <http://cyber-dyne.com/~jkohnen/Tyvek/index.html>. I haven't used the
                  stuff to make sails, but I have made backpacking tents out of it and it
                  works well,
                  certainly better than six mil polyethylene sheeting. A standard cotton
                  canvas dropcloth could also work, but might be to stretchy to maintain a
                  good shape. As for rubber impregnated canvas, it sounds heavy, but I
                  don't know. Try comparing the weight of the stuff to the weight of a
                  similar sized blue polytarp. If it weighs much more, it's probably too
                  much, imho,
                  david
                  PS: With boats, even Bolger boxes, aesthetics are always a
                  consideration; you
                  are not wrong in seeking visual beauty. Your boat _should_ be beautiful,
                  if only
                  to you....

                  Blake Sartin wrote:

                  > I was wondering if anyone has experience using the butyl-rubber impregnated
                  > canvas dropcloth (or the standard canvas, for that matter) as a sail
                  > material?
                  >
                  > I was at the local hardware megastore yesterday and I noticed that the price
                  > of these dropcloths is very reasonable, and they seem to be a more "meaty"
                  > substance than plain old polytarp. Is this material totally unusable for a
                  > sail in boats of this size? Is it too heavy?
                  >
                  > I want to make my own cheap sail, just wondering if there's any good
                  > alternative to polytarp that is still cheap. I'm still considering
                  > advertizing for DuPont's Tyvek, I've heard good results from that material.
                  > Only thing that scares me off is the giant labels.
                  >
                  > I also read about using 6-mil plastic sheeting in the plans that I got for
                  > the Stevenson 3-in-1. They seem to swear by this for the lateen, but use
                  > blue poly exclusively on their other boats.
                  >
                  > But it seems to me that the canvas would "look" the best. Am I placing too
                  > much emphasis on visual beauty?
                  >
                  >
                • Phillip Lea
                  No. You gotta please yourself.
                  Message 8 of 9 , Mar 1, 2000
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                    No. You gotta please yourself.

                    blake sartin asked:
                    > Am I placing too much emphasis on visual beauty?
                    >
                    > Blake
                    > Knoxville, TN
                  • David Beede
                    Jack, I ve made a couple of sails of polytarp last summer. Yes, it is sewable and tape able. I used double stick fiberglass reinforced carpet tape with good
                    Message 9 of 9 , Mar 1, 2000
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                      Jack,
                      I've made a couple of sails of polytarp last summer. Yes, it is
                      sewable and tape able. I used double stick fiberglass reinforced carpet
                      tape with good results. I used Jim Michalak's dart method of giving
                      shape to my Wind Sprint type balanced lug sail 117 ft sq. I made this
                      sail of a dark green poly and at least here in Florida it got so hot in
                      the direct sun then it softened the glue on the tape and some corners
                      started to lift. I went back and sewed all edges - so it's a bit of the
                      belt & suspenders solution now. I've since acquired some white polytarp
                      at a flea market that I've yet to try. I suspect the white will stay
                      cooler and not need stitching. I'm also eager to try some Tyvek as the
                      final product seems more sail like and less wrinkle prone, though that's
                      just a guess. I think these inexpensive materials are a great way to
                      learn about sail making. For 10 or 20 bucks and a few hours of enjoyable
                      work you end up with a very service able sail. The low investment also
                      encourages "tweaking" and endless experimentation... upsides and
                      downsides to that of course....;-)
                      David

                      Chuck Leinweber wrote:

                      >
                      >
                      > >I'd be
                      > > interested in knowing if people have taken the trouble to construct a
                      > > carefully crafted sail from polytarp, tyvec, etc...multiple cambered
                      > seams,
                      > > multiple layered corners, and everything. Is it worth the trouble? Are
                      > these
                      > > materials sewable? Can you heat seal or glue them? Seems they could lend
                      > > themselves to being a great way for the aspiring sail maker to learn the
                      > > craft without wasting a lot of dacron and $$ in the process.
                      > >
                      > > jeb, not fooled for a minute by the tropically warm February weather on
                      > the
                      > > shores of Fundy
                      >
                      > Jack:
                      >
                      > Some polytarp sailmakers are creating shape by the simple process of making
                      > darts in them. I have not made but one polytarp sail a number of years ago,
                      > but will soon need another one for my Caprice. I plan to use this method.
                      > Jim Michalak has written about this subject:
                      > http://marina.fortunecity.com/breakwater/274/1998/1015/index.htm
                      >
                      >
                      > Chuck Leinweber
                      > Duckworks Magazine
                      > http://www.duckworksmagazine.com
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
                      >
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