The techniques shown here come partly from Gary Dierking's book "Building Outrigger Sailing Canoes", and my experience building a few sails in the past.
If you have any questions, suggestions or criticisms, please comment.
Step 1: Preparation
- Polyethene tarp fabric. I got mine from a canvas supplier. It's 230g/m2, 2m wide and cost me about AU$7 per metre. An alternative source of new material is pre-made tarps which can be cut down, and this way you might get some usable metal rings, webbing etc. You could probably get scraps from any business that does heavy sewing, like upholsterers, sailmakers, places that do awnings and canvas work.
- Nylon webbing. This is used for reinforcements and in my sail, for lacing points. I bought it cheaply when I got the tarp but you could get old car seatbelts for nothing from a wrecker and slit them down the middle with a hot knife. Leather or heavy fabric would work too.
- Thread. I used various thread that I already had. Use the heaviest your sewing machine can handle, or whatever seems reasonable. Probably best to get this from a sailmaker or online. Make sure it's polyester.
- Stainless steel rings. I had some of these already. If you found some scrap stainless rod you could roll your own and weld the join pretty easily.
- Eyelets/grommets: I didn't use any of these, but if you do make sure they are brass or stainless steel, not brass or chrome plated steel. Steel will rust, break and make your sail ugly.
- Double sided tape: I bought some stuff intended for laying carpet. It's super sticky and great for holding things in place while you sew. I had to cut the roll widthwise with a knife as the stuff I bought was too wide.
- Sewing Machine: Someone you know has one they don't use. Older is better generally. When you find a machine spend lots of time sewing samples of your fabric/webbing with the thread you'll use. Fiddle with upper and bobbin thread tension until it works reliably. You may need to experiement with different sized meedles too.
- Scissors: Some heavy shears and some thread nippers are a good combination, but whatever you have is fine.
- Unpicker: Just get one.
- Small, sharp knife: Use this for everything.
- Measuring devices like a tape measure and ruler
- Permanent marker.