Thursday, July 7, 2011

Glassing the hull inside

Elapsed time to this point: 15 hours.  Now the hull is ready for a final sanding, primarily the seams and inner fillets.  Typically with a stitch and glue boat (kayak), you have a deck that is a single piece and it is built almost the same way as the hull and glued down at the end.  With this boat, the deck has the seat and foot wells and drive train housing so it is not feasible to build in one piece.  For this reason, I am changing the typical steps.  I will glass the inside of the hull first.  Then I will assemble the forward deck to the hull (I will glass the inside of these individual deck panels beforehand) and then attempt to glass the outside of the hull and forward deck at the same time.  Then I will assemble remaining deck pieces.  I ordered extra wide cloth for the outside and I hope it will work out.
To glass the inside, I vacuum out the inside and spread out the cloth, centered as best I can.   I pour the epoxy onto the cloth and spread with a squeegee to saturate it.  I work from the center so the cloth can’t shift as easily.  Then I use a squeegee and remove as much excess as I can.  Then I lightly smooth with a dry brush to remove squeegee marks.  There are always some air bubbles to work out, especially on the inside because the squeegee will pull the cloth away from the corners.  I’ve found that if I wait until the epoxy is tacky and squeeze the bubble out it generally comes back as soon as I leave the garage because there is tension in the cloth.  It’s better to remove the bubbles right away as I create them, and if they ever come back, I take the time to adjust the cloth so it has more slack.  To do this I push the cloth from the edges toward the seams with a stiff brush.

After the glass is wet and nearly smoothed out, I rough trim the cloth to about an inch above the deckline.  If the cloth is too big and folds over the panel, it tends to pull away from the wood at the top.

In this case, since I had already put glass on the tips of the panels, I could stop the full sheet at that point, and it worked well.

After this is cured, I trim the cloth at the deck line and sand off the sharp edges.  I will add a top coat just over the area where I will likely stow gear near the hatch in the deck, but I think I will wait until bulkheads are installed so I can coat over the taped seams in the same step.

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