There is a method of building that I ran across recently that has been popular for many years in the canoe/kayak world… skin on frame. Its a matter of building a lightweight framework from wood/metal/plastic and stretching a skin over it. The flexible skin becomes the hull.
Fascinating to look at some of the ideas of work. This is all a bit smaller than I’m interested in, although it fits in some way with the Origami Dingy that I’m (slowly, I know) working on… some of these kayaks use the same material as specified for the dingy.
I can’t help but think there may be some applications for these skins on larger craft… not as a self-supporting hull, maybe, but as a "coating"? Heat shrink a skin onto a wood backing instead of epoxy? Worth some thinking/testing/playing.
Anyway, here’s a collection of sites for those interested:
- Skin on Frame – Duckworks Magazine has a detailed article (and links to several others) concerning this building method
- Geodesic Airolite boats by Platt Monfort – mentioned earlier here – uses heat shrink Dacron over a lightweight frame
- How to recanvas and old canoe – also by Platt Monfort
- this is an article more on different types of cloth for sails, but several have overlaps into this skin on frame method
- Folding Kayak Builders Manual – Homebuilt Folding Kayaks by Thomas Yost