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      Northstar's Carbon Gunwales     

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MidwestFirecraft
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06/14/2019 08:22AM  
Looking at purchasing a new Northstar tandem. I have always chosen wood gunwales for looks, sound while paddling, relative ease of repair, and I actually enjoy maintaining them. I have read a few posts on this forum about carbon gunwales on a Polaris and a Northwind, but they never followed up with their review. Wondering if anyone has any personal experience with Northstar's carbon gunwales, most interested in sound, and longevity.
 
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OCDave
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06/14/2019 10:39AM  
I have the wood gunwales on my Blacklight Northwind solo. I love the aesthetics and the boat is light enough that the extra weight is barely noticable. However, at some point I popped a screw, the center screw adjacent to my left hip, causing the two pieces of wood to separate by maybe 1/8" for about 1 foot. Several attempts to repair have failed so , it is a small flaw I just sorta live with. I see it every day, I grit my teeth, then just live with it.

When I added a Blacklight Polaris, I initially chose the wood gunwales but, on that sized canoe, the extra weight of the wood was quite noticable. My experience with the above issue also contributed to be leaning toward the E6 gunwales. My Polaris is realtively new, I have only paddled it about a dozen times but, I haven't come across any reason to dislike the the E6 compared to the wood other than the aesthetics. If I were buying a Starlight layup, the contrast of the E6 would definitely make the sharper boat.

When we have both my canoes on the water, the wood trimed Solo is the one that gets noticed but, for a tandem sized boat, you will certainly appreciate the weight savings of the E6.

Good Luck
 
MidwestFirecraft
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06/14/2019 02:45PM  
Thank you so much for the real world info. Unfortunately, I just learned that the Carbon Fiber trim is not available, nor will it be on the B16 in the near future.
 
justpaddlin
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06/14/2019 08:10PM  
Hey MF, do you know why Northstar doesn't offer carbon gunnels on the B16? Now I'm curious. I'm also curious about what you mean by firecraft.

I went out and bonked on the gunnels of my Swift Osprey with carbon rails, my Polaris with wood and my Bell Yellowstone with aluminum. Probably wood is the quietest but only by a bit. Carbon has high damping and that's why it makes for a great bicycle frame...and some Ferrari's don't even have engine mounts since a carbon tub absorbs vibration. But I even like the rounded aluminum rails on my Yellowstone...just like Northstars. But if you're worried about scaring fish I'd say carbon is close to wood. I'm happy with the wood on my Polaris since low 40's is still easy to handle and I can do all the work and tell my wife that all she has to do is step into the boat...she doesn't even have to paddle unless she wants to.

:)
 
MidwestFirecraft
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06/15/2019 07:23AM  
justpaddlin: "Hey MF, do you know why Northstar doesn't offer carbon gunnels on the B16? Now I'm curious. I'm also curious about what you mean by firecraft.
:)"


I don't know why, just that Adam at Midwest Pioneer spoke with them directly yesterday, and it will not be offered in the near future. It sounds like they are introducing CF gunwales on a few models at a time. My guess is it is a small shop and they need to keep things streamlines, plus there may not be much demand in a prospector with CF gunwales.
By firecraft I me the art and science of making fire. In practical terms I mean practicing and teaching anyone who will listen a basic understanding of various tinder (found locally or carried), kindling, and fuel. How to properly use an axe, and various saws. How to make feather sticks, use a ferrocerium rod, and oddly enough, matches, and lighter, etc.
 
06/15/2019 11:37AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "Thank you so much for the real world info. Unfortunately, I just learned that the Carbon Fiber trim is not available, nor will it be on the B16 in the near future. "

This is because they need to create molds for the gunnels - just as they do for hulls - for each model. Last I checked 4 models have the CF gunnels.

For what it's worth, I have aluminum on my NW17 tandem and CF on my Trillium. Really like the CF rails. Quiet, look great, stiffer than AL.
 
06/15/2019 11:37AM  
MidwestFirecraft: "Thank you so much for the real world info. Unfortunately, I just learned that the Carbon Fiber trim is not available, nor will it be on the B16 in the near future. "

This is because they need to create molds for the gunnels - just as they do for hulls - for each model. Last I checked 4 models have the CF gunnels.

For what it's worth, I have aluminum on my NW17 tandem and CF on my Trillium. Really like the CF rails. Quiet, look great, stiffer than AL.
 
Brock63
member (18)member
 
08/31/2020 08:11AM  
I am late to conversation but had wood on old Merrimack.....vinyl on my Bell Northwind in Royalex...but opted for the aluminum on my new B16 in IXP. The few bumps against them while paddling on Saturday morning did not sound any louder than the vinyl on my Northwind...is a two piece design so do not ring like I have heard on some others. The brushed matte finish is quite attractive as well. I am digging it actually.
 
MidwestFirecraft
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08/31/2020 08:45AM  
How do you like the B16? Besides my Morningstar, it is my favorite canoe. I just had to go with the wood gunnels over aluminum in the prospector.
 
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