Techie Tuesday: Online Kayak Selector

NEW FOLBOT KAYAK SELECTOR TOOLKayak_Selector

We created a new online Kayak Selector tool. Why? Because Folbot offers 10 styles of foldable kayaks. We’ve got a kayak for every size, and all your recreational, touring and expedition needs. And we build each kayak to order. When you buy a Folbot, it’s a one-of-a-kind, made just for you.

Because of that, we don’t keep much inventory (hence the demo sale!). And we’re located in Charleston, South Carolina. If you’re not a local, we want a way for you to get the right “fit”.

Behold our new online Kayak Selector. When you go to Folbot’s website, you answer 6 quick questions about you and how you want to use your new Folbot. Then you’ll get personal recommendations about the perfect Folbot style(s) for you!

And as always, we love to help! Email or call us to discuss how we can make you the next happy Folbot customer.

Techie Tuesday: Outriggers

We include outriggers and pontoons with our new Sporting Life model, Fish ‘n’ Photo package and Upwind Sailing Rig.  Outriggers are simply a solid extension of a boat’s rigging that extends beyond the gunwales.  Many people think of Hawaiian outrigger canoes with the outrigger on one side of the canoe.  Our outriggers are on both sides of your kayak.

Edisto Fish n Photo Front

Folbot Edisto with Outriggers and Pontoons

Our outriggers are 1 1/2 inch aluminum tubes that attach to the washboards with stainless steel “J” hooks. At the ends are banana shaped pontoons that are designed to add stability without pulling your kayak off its track and keep from being buried under the water (and even made to match the color of your Folbot!)

What these pontoons and outriggers do is spread the weight of the kayak and paddles over a larger surface.  When this happens the center of gravity of the kayak increases and it allows the paddler to be extremely stable even with sitting on top of the washboards or standing on the floorboard.  With this extra height, you have a larger field of vision and improved views into the water.  You can more comfortably use your fishing, hunting, or photography equipment.  In fact, it’s so stable you can even throw a casting net for bait fish or shrimp!

The Wind Up

The Wind Up

The Toss

The Toss

Techie Tuesday: RF Welding

Fabricating Folbot skin-on-frame, folding kayaks is both a science and an art. Likewise, RF welding is a science and an art. There’s plenty of science that makes it work and there are some great engineers that have designed our machine. But still, it’s an art.

20140106-200142.jpgAbove is the “tube” of our RF welder that helps us transform 220V of electricity into more than 5000V and harness that power to become high frequency radio waves. We use those radio waves with precision tooling to weld sheets of plastic together in specific shapes. These shapes form our keel ends, seats, bladders, etc. Just part of the art and science that allows us to make durable, portable, performance kayaks.

We Heart Anodization

We hear this question quite a bit:

What’s the frame made out of?

Well, a lot! Even when the frame was mainly wood it was certainly a more complex answer than that. And the frame has evolved to utilize modern technology, which is why the current models are so much lighter yet stronger than the older models. Quick aside, please note that we said “lighter” and “stronger” which we think are more objective terms.  We did not say “better” because we are not trying to provoke a debate here on who has the best Folbot. Everyone seems to love their personal Folbot the best and we agree. But we did imply “better”. 

Source: “Anodizing”, SubsTech article by Dr. Dmitri Kopeliovich

Our longeron and crossframe tubing is anodized aluminum. To take it straight from the Aluminum Anodizers Council, anodizing is,

… an electrochemical process that converts the metal surface into a decorative, durable, corrosion-resistant, anodic oxide finish…

Which means it looks great and adds life to the boat – especially in a marine environment. Who else uses anodized aluminum? All sorts of outdoor and automotive products and maybe even the piece of electronics you are using to read this.

You can learn some more of the science at SubsTech.

To ensure our frames meet our dimensions we use drawn tubing for the longerons and crossframes instead of extrusion. Why? For good reason and we will go through more in a future post. In the meantime, let us know what questions you have about what makes up a Folbot.

Blog News and Techie Tuesday: New Hull Material

If you’re a frequent visitor to our website/blog, you may notice a change. We’re now engaging with you [at least] five days a week. You can expect the material to cover these five topics:

Monday — Faces of Folbot. We’ll bring you stories and pictures from customers, new and old. (Give us a shout if you’d like to be featured!)

Tuesday — Techie Tuesday. We’ll give you in-depth info on anything from hull material (scroll down!) to assembly tips.

Wednesday — Gear We Love. We love being out in our kayaks as much as you! We’ll share some of our favorite products that we use on the water.

Thursday — Throwback Thursday. You know you love people’s Facebook pics of their 3rd grade hair-do tagged “#tbt” or “Throwback Thursday.” Same deal here; we’ve got tons of classic Folbot footage to share! (Fingers crossed we find one with a mullet.)

Friday — Folbot Fotos. We love sharing pictures of Folbot owners enjoying their kayaks. Here’s our chance to share them with the world! Send us yours and we’ll share it too!

Without further ado…here’s our Techie Tuesday post. All about our hull material that we introduced last year.

We have received numerous inquiries about our hull material. We appreciate the interest and have compiled answers to the main questions below. Please let us know if you have additional questions on the hull or anything else.

  • What is it? The fabric has been used previously in the industry, mainly for inflatable boats.  The principal component is Elvaloy – a polymer that provides both toughness and flexibility.
  • What are the characteristics? It it designed to have superior abrasion, tear, puncture and UV resistance to past fabrics. It does not break down over time and is resistant to changes due to prolonged exposure to heat, UV and salt water. Your boat’s hull will continue to maintain its shape, flexibility, air tightness and color – and better protect you from sharp surfaces.
  • How much does it weigh? Essentially the same as our current hull material, given manufacturer’s tolerances (38.3 oz/sq yd or 1300 gr/m2).
  • How does it perform vs. previous fabrics?In a Taber Abrasion H18 Test the new material performed 83% better than the old fabric (on the face, 196% better for the back side).
    • New Material (Face/Back) – 1917/2000 cycles to failure
    • Old Material (Face/Back) – 1050/675 cycles to failure
  • Why the change? This is the fabric we wanted on our personal Folbots for the waters around Charleston, SC to deal with razor sharp oysters. If we wanted it, we also wanted to offer it to all customers.
  • Can I still get the black, hypalon hull? No, the last of this material was consumed.  We only have small scraps and patch pieces still.
  • How does it impact the cost of the boat? The new hull material does not change the price of the boat.
  • What color is it?  How do I clean it? The material is light gray in color which looks great and adds to visibility on the water. Light scrubbing with water cleans it well. Cleaners for inflatable boats are available but tough dirt can be cleaned with Soft Scrub.
  • Can I pack it up wet? It is best to dry your Folbot before storing it to keep it clean and to prevent mold and mildew.  However, this hull material does not shrink if it has been packed away wet.

In general, we are very excited about the hull material and hope you are too. Please let us know about any questions.