2nd November 2011
An all natural composite canoe designed and manufactured in the UK using flax fibre and a linseed oil based resin will be showcased at the upcoming Composites Engineering Show.
The canoe has been built by Flaxland and is made from a flax fabric (Biotex Flax 4×4 Hopsack) supplied by Composites Evolution and a UV cured bioresin (EcoComp UV-L) supplied by Sustainable Composites. It is constructed using a marine plywood and European pine frame that is covered using the Biotex flax material and then impregnated with the linseed based resin.
Simon Cooper, owner of Flaxland, is a traditional boat builder with a strong interest in using all natural materials. “In recent years synthetic materials, such as coated polyester fabrics, have been used more and more in boatbuilding. In an attempt to return to traditional boatbuilding methods, I became interested in the use of Flax as a sustainable crop for the production of oil and fibre to make a boat. I wanted to find new, novel, but natural materials, and in my search found the Biotex website” he explained.
Flaxland trialled many flax fabrics and found that Biotex suited the needs of the project best. Owner, Simon Cooper felt that Biotex had good impregnation, wet out and very good tear strength which was equal to the synthetic materials allowing for a flexible yet strong canoe which could be been made without the use of a mould tool.
Flaxland have made a total of 7 prototypes so far, using both the Biotex Flax 4×4 Hopsack and Biotex 3H Satin weaves. The Hopsack version offers a resilient and durable canoe which has a net weight of just less than 12Kg and the Satin version gives a lighter weight option, at just 8Kg, for racing.
The canoe is currently undergoing long term durability and water resistance tests and, according to Simon, has shown good results for over one year already. He is now looking to roll out the design to larger rowing boats.
The canoe will be displayed at the Composites Engineering Show in Birmingham on 9-10 November 2011, in the press and open networking area.