"CORDURA" / canvas ?


another little project
has anyone tried using "cordura" fabric to replace duck canvas? and if so were you successful/happy with the results. would it be as durable as duck? the reason for asking is that is, a friend of mine wants me to build a w/c canoe for him and would like to use a camo 'cordura' fabric , then use varnish or maybe polyurethane to finish. he wants the camo to show through the finish, so the need for clarity. my main concern is the durability/ abrasion resistance? i know it is used for hunting clothing/ boots and the like- so it ought to be prety tough. just had not heard of it being used before and wondered if it would be simular to 'dacron' which i know is used by some builders. lee.^. :confused:

This may not help but, nylon vs canvas is a constant "discussion" between pack makers/users for use in the BW/Q, ie, which is "better". Though very generally, the canvas is claimed to be more abrasion resistant and the nylon lighter and faster drying.

I would do some tests to ensure that the cordura stretches appropriately for covering a canoe.

Of course another option would be to cover the canoe with canvas duck, fill it, and paint a camo pattern on it, if the camo pattern is what your friend is looking for.

Cordura isn't waterproof. The spaces between the yarns are too large for the coatings to bridge the gaps, so for uses like wear patches on high-tech rainwear it has to be backed-up with a membranes or other, tighter weaves of coated fabric. On a boat, varnish isn't going to fix this and may even be repelled by the fluorocarbon water repellent treatment that the cordura fibers are saturated with to help the coatings do their job as well as they can. If you haven't noticed, cordura also isn't even close to being smooth textured and would create substantial drag.

You might be able to coat it with epoxy, filling the weave and sanding the resin smooth as is done on strip canoes, but it would add weight without adding any strength and the unreinforced epoxy coating would be pretty brittle. Both the epoxy and the cordura would then be subject to U.V degradation and the only way to protect them would be very regular maintenance and recoating with a high quality U.V. absorbing varnish.

You could probably coat it fairly successfully with liquid Hypalon, like people use on skin-on-frame kayaks, but as far as I know the stuff isn't clear and would obscure the pattern. Stretching the cordura wouldn't be a problem. The fact that it stretches a lot (especially when wet) might be.

All in all, the idea is VERY risky and five years later you'll probably be trying to figure out how to get the damned stuff off in preparation for attempting to canvas it properly - if it even takes five years. The best option by far has already been given here, which is canvas the canoe normally and paint a camo pattern on the canvas. Another would be one of those camo net and/or fabric covers made to cover the top side and drape all the way down to the waterline in use. At least you won't be trying to figure out how to peel it off without ruining the canoe a few years down the road. Customers come up with all kinds of ideas when you are building them custom products. Some are good ideas and quite possible, others are not. Put this one in the "are not" category.
'Are Not'-----Cordura

thanks fella's for the feedback -I think my friend has apprehensions about the durability of canvas - and at the same time was wanting to be able to admire the beauty of his wood canoe.I told him when it's being transported all he has to do is look up out of windshield and hopefully " :eek: "it will be there in all it's glory- and when its on the water he will be admiring it's beauty.I have told him that the exterior is more for protection of the wood and a means of waterproofing the canoe. Todd ,I think you present a good compelling arguement to stay away from 'cordura' and or nylon products for covering canoes- I had not thought @ the wet stretch factor. pretty embarassing to return from a paddle and have to put your canoe in a girdle to take care of the extra rolls. I'll tell him what I have learned from the experts . thanks for the help.lee.^....
It would be pretty funny to pick up the boat by the decks after a paddling trip and have big, baggy water-filled bulges on the bottom.... unless of course you were either the owner or the builder....