Custom Ocean Kayaks

Monday, May 16, 2011

What we do

Rainforest Designs Limited, also known as Nimbus Kayaks, builds the best sea touring kayaks available.  From our start in the early 70's we have been building the best product we can.  We started out building white water kayaks and then in the early 80's changed over to building sea kayaks.  Since then, our kayaks have evolved in design and construction to become the best anywhere.   Also in the last few years we have been developing a new style of bicycle--a "velomobile" which is an enclosed bicycle that offers weather protection, increased comfort, better aerodynamics and some crash protection.

The core technology that our kayaks are built with is vacuum bagging or, more accurately described, as Squeegee Assisted Infusion (SAI).  How it works is quite simple:  all the materials are precut and placed in the mould with extra reinforcement where needed.  A nylon bag is then sealed to the flange on the mould and the air evacuated from between the mould and the bag with a vacuum pump.  This causes the atmosphere to compress the layers of fabric together with about 7 lbs of pressure per square inch.  We then open the bag to introduce the resin in the middle of the mould, distributing it along the length of the mould, reseal the bag and apply vacuum.  Then we use squeegees to help the vacuum pull the resin through the fabric that is not yet saturated.  This process yields a better, more homogeneous and tougher laminate than hand laminating; up to 70% fibre content as compared to a hand laminate at 50% and just as importantly, seals the resin under the bag, greatly reducing the emission of volatile organic compounds.

The materials we use are somewhat different from those used by most of our competitors.  We use only 100% vinylester resins in our hulls and decks as the slight extra expense is completely offset by the improved performance and longevity.

We use a lot of non-crimped fabrics which offer technical advantages over woven fabrics in that the fibres can be optimally oriented and are not weakened by weaving.  Most of these fabrics have a polyester thread woven around the fibres which adds more impact resistance to our Kevlar laminates.  We are the only kayak manufacturer to use this kind of hybrid fabric (glass/Kevlar) as the outside layer of our Kevlar kayaks where we have glass fibres running transversely, while the Kevlar fibres run longitudinally.  The hulls on our glass kayaks have a glass/polyester hybrid inside layer which adds considerably to their impact strength and reduces the weight slightly.  All of our kayaks are selectively reinforced to add strength where needed, and have Kevlar reinforcement strips in the bow and stern.  All our Kayaks have FRP inside seams as well as outside seams.  We spend extra time on our outside seams, applying the glass tape after careful preparation and then filling and sanding it smooth before appyling the finished colour.  Our seams add significant strength to this joint between the hull and deck for minimal weight gain.

The term "Kevlar" is a registered Trademark of the E.I. du Pont de Nemours and Company.  DuPont Canada Inc. is  licensee.

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