Building

Materials

Woods used for boat building:

"Hope It Floats" strives to use native (domestic) species of wood. The most common woods we use are Clear Pine, Ash, Oak, Maple, Cedar, and Poplar.


Woods used for paddle making:

"Up-Ah-Creek" Paddle uses mainly hardwoods for our paddles. These include, but are not limited to, Maple, Cherry, Walnut, Butternut, and Poplar. We will also use selected softwoods like Cedar and Pine. 


Skin Material (Fabric):

The skin material is what make these boats possible. We offer three choices of fabric: Dacron for light weight boats. Ballistic Nylon for strong durable boats and Polyester fabric for a more diverse finish.

Dacron / Lightest Fabric

Dacron: This material is very common in the aircraft industry. Dacron. This is a first cousin to sail cloth; except it heat shrinks. It is a super-weight, airplane wing covering type of fabric, used on crop dusters.

Obviously Dacron covered boats are not bullet proof...they must be treated with some respect, but not pampered. This is a tough, resilient material that will take quite a beating from rocks and snags; however it cuts fairly easily with a sharp object like a broken bottle. This has proved to be no problem. Carry some Duct tape and DON'T WORRY! You can easily make a permanent repair at home. There is little reason for repairs; instead of dragging your boat over barnacle-studded rocks, you simply pick it up (with one or two fingers) and carry it out of harms way.

**Ballistic Nylon / Strongest Fabric**

Ballistic nylon is a thick, tough, nylon fabric with several uses. Ballistic nylon was developed by the DuPont corporation as a material for flak jackets to be worn by World War II airmen. This material is very popular in the SOF boat building world. It creates a tough skin that shrinks well when heated. However, it attracts water and relaxes at cooler temperatures. A tight skin at 90 degrees will wrinkle at 65 degrees unless it is shrunk and sealed properly.

Polyester / Heavy weight Fabric

Polyester, according to Kudzu Craft Kayaks, "Polyesters biggest advantage is that most any coating will adhere to it, including water based coatings. Polyester drawbacks are that it doesn't stretch like nylon so it will not take abuse as well as nylon. BUT that doesn't mean it is not more than strong enough. I have built and paddle skin boats for many years and I have never put a hole in polyester boat under normal use. You can run over limbs, trash and rocks with nothing but a scratch. Just don't try it on white water! That will ruin one of either fabric quickly."


Boat Finishes:

2 Part Urethane:   Spirit Line Kayaks (Skin Boat Store)  This is an industrial floor coating that has been used on thousands of SOF boats. It is very durable with excellent UV protective qualities. (This is my preferred method)

Spar Varnish: This is a traditional finish for both the skin and wood of the boat.

Exterior Polyurethane: This finish will work for most situations but make sure that the boat is not kept in the water too long. Many of the Polyurethanes are water based and will soft if submerged in water too long.

Oil based paints: These offer the best color choice and versatility of the available finishes.


Paddle Finishes:

Oil Finish (Boiled Linseed Oil, Tung Oil, and Mineral Oil) : These finishes will provide the natural wood feel that most paddlers desire. Unlike Polyurethane, Epoxy, Fiberglass, oil allows the feel of the wood to come through. You may discover less blisters from a paddle with an oil finish,

Spar Varnish: This is a traditional finish for paddles. It leaves the surface with a smooth finish.

Exterior Polyurethane: Similar to varnish.

Fiberglass and Epoxy: This finish offers the greatest strength but you loose the natural feel of the wood. This option is great for the blade of your paddle. This will also protect the wood from most bumps and scrapes. You will need to varnish over the epoxy annually to protect it from UV damage.

***Note, all paddles are finished with a thin layer of Butchers Block Wax.*****

Paddlers Mugs:

FDA  Food safe Epoxy:  UpStart Epoxy is a food safe 2-part epoxy as determined by the FDA. The interior of each mug is coated to ensure a watertight seal that can hold up to both hot and cold beverages.  An alternative finish to epoxy is Teak Oil, Danish Oil,  Boiled Linseed Oil, and Mineral Oil & Beeswax. These finishes are all food safe when cured and should only be used with cold beverages. They also need to re reapplied periodically as needed.