The following is an overview of the technology and materials integrated into our boats.
Vacuum infusion is used during the fabrication of our hulls in lieu of chop guns or hand layup for several reasons. Vacuum infusion is an automated process that reduces variability and tightly controls the amount of resin. This is important because infused parts have less voids to serve as failure points, are stronger and lighter. The vacuum infusion process with epoxies eliminates styrene emissions. This means the boat buyer gets a more reliable and affordable product, our workers benefit from good air quality, and our environmental impact is minimized.
Binder: First Water utilizes a USDA BioPreferred epoxy rated for marine applications to bind all the layers. Epoxy is stronger than the polyester resins used in fiberglass chop guns. Epoxy hulls do not degrade in the presence of water like polyester resin hulls will when water penetrates through a crack in their gel coat.
Exterior Finish: Harsh marine environments and regular contact with the riverbed require a coating with superior abrasion resistance. We source marine grade professional coatings that ensure your boat retains a high gloss appearance and can weather the storm. They are low odor and low VOC coatings, making for a safer and healthier manufacturing environment. Customers can choose between a clear coating to highlight the natural beauty of underlying materials, a solid color or a custom paint job.
Reinforcements: Industrial fiberglass fabrics with high fiber counts and tight weaves enable engineers to design strong and light hulls. Fiber orientations allow tailoring of the hull to flex over rocks yet be stiff when the rower digs in their oars through some rough water. All boats are equipped with special layers of reinforcements in impact zones for excellent resistance to fatigue and rock damage without adding significant weight. Carbon fiber is used in strategic locations where a stiff and light material outside impact zones is required. Vibration damping natural fibers are interlaced with the fiberglass layers to make for a more comfortable ride.
Core: Our lightweight hull cores have a low rate of water absorption and don't rot. They create a composite hull with an exceptionally high ratio of stiffness to weight. They can flex and return to their original shape, absorbing energy and reducing the odds of damage in the event of an impact with that hidden river rock. These traits make it an ideal material for those looking for high performance durable boats.
Throughout the rest of the boat you will find a variety of core materials to meet our customers needs. We work with the same high performance cores in our hulls, along with a variety of other hard woods, soft woods, metals, foams and plastics.
Interior Finish: The interior hull surfaces are primed and painted with an advanced technology. It is a hard yet flexible topcoat well suited for boat decks where durability is a priority and UV-exposure levels are high. Incorporated are also 100% recycled mineral fillers that create a non-slip and abrasion resistance layer.