Category Archives: Glassing

Fiberglassing and epoxy

Flickr Photoset of Building Process

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Plywood to boat!


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Filed under Assembly, Cutting and shaping, Glassing, Layout, Materials, Painting, Rigging, Sanding and finishing, Tools, Uncategorized

10/325 Decisions, decisions…

Since last weekend I have sanded the entire hull so that it looks fairly good to my untrained eye. I am agonizing over how to paint it, what to paint it with, etc, etc. The choices are endless it seems. The different points of view vastly different. It is hard to figure out what to do. I have been reading Sam Devlin’s excellent book, Devlin’s Boat Building, and he follows about a 15 step process on his boats…but his boats are likely to be in the water far longer than my boat ever will, he is a commercial builder and his clients expect a professional finish…and I am an amateur whose boat will not be in the water for more than a few days at a time…if that. I am building this boat for my boys to enjoy and have fun in…and that won’t involve worrying too much about running into rocks. As my friend Terry Dopson said yesterday when I explained my predicament to him….”It’s not a Ferrari.” But, I still would like to do a job that looks at least half decent. So, I vacillate back and forth on what to do. I search on the internet for information….and winter draws ever closer.

Today I did a couple of small things just to get them out of the way while I stew about painting. I mounted the piece to hold the lower gudgeon for the rudder cheek, routed out a hole in the rudder for the lead sinkweight, cut out the rudder cheek where the tiller will rest, rounded off the cheek to follow the radius of the tiller’s movement up and down and mounted a u-bolt in the mast step for the downhaul on the yard. I’ll need to pay Terry a visit to cut down the U-bolt but I think what I have decided to do will work quite well. I’ve been reading David Nichols’ book called “The Working Guide to Traditional Small-Boat Sails”, trying to educate myself as to how to set up the rigging for the balance lug sail I am using. It’s a good thing I did as setting up the U-bolt the way I did will make it very strong…better than using a cleat screwed into the mast step with a couple of screws.

I really like the rudder work as I set the router to leave about 1/8″ of plywood…the plan being that this way I don’t have to clamp metal on the bottom to keep the lead in when I pour the molten stuff in to make the sinkweight. The screws are there to keep the lead from falling out.

Maybe tomorrow I will have decided how to proceed with my paint job.

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15/315 My All-Glassed Boat

In the last four days I have finished glassing the bottom, covered everything with Quik-Fair to fill the weave and smooth things out, attached the keel strip, stem and transom and sanded half the boat to nearly be ready for a coat of primer!!!!!!

Glassing the second side was more work than the first. Because the cloth wasn’t wide enough to cover the bottom from seam to seam I cut it in half and did just one side first to be sure I would be able to keep up mixing epoxy, etc.

I glassed down the largest piece, let it get just tacky and then I covered the remaining gap with two pieces cut roughly to shape.

The next morning, I put a coat of epoxy down the middle where the keel strip is going and then put Quik-Fair on the rest. In retrospect, I think using Quik-fair for this was a mistake and I think that using some thickened epoxy would have done a good job of filling the weave, dried smoother and been MUCH harder. Oh well, too late now.

My next project was to install the keel strip. I decided to install the stem first so that I would be able to trim the ends of the keel strip layers to butt up against the stem before installing them. The stem went on pretty easily using EZ-Fillet after a coat of epoxy.

Then it was time for the keel strip. I used EZ-Fillet to join the two surfaces. I had Patty help me by pushing down on the strip as I drove screws into it from inside the boat. I was only using 3/4″ screws but they were enough to grab it and pull it against the hull.

After letting that set up I got the second layer ready. I laid it on top of the first layer, trimmed the angle against the stem by running a Japanese saw blade down the end as I held it against the stem. Then I predrilled and countersunk several holes. After that, I mixed up some thickened epoxy, put it into a baggie and squeezed it onto the two surfaces. Spread that around with a piece of wood and then put the strip on by myself. Cleaned up the squeezeout and let it harden.

Next up I attached the transom with lots of thickened epoxy. Nothing special to report there…I shoved the bolts through and then wiped their threads clean with an acetone soaked paper towel before attaching the nuts and tightening them. Used 7 clamps and left it overnight.

Yesterday and today I trimmed off the excess stem and keel strip, scraped excess epoxy away and sanded. My neighbour, Dan – who knows an awful lot about refinishing cars…among other things – loaned me a long sanding block used by body shops and showed me how to use it. I have been using that and the random orbital sander to smooth things out. One side of the hull is looking pretty good after several hours of sanding to day. If I can get the other side ready tomorrow I’ll be ready for a coat of primer on Tuesday!

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5/300 My Half-Glassed Boat ;-)

The last few days have been full of filling, fairing and sanding and getting the bottom ready to glass.

I have been nervous about doing this job and waiting for cooler weather so that I don’t have to worry about not being able to keep up.

I decided to do 1/2 of the hull and then do the other for the same reason so today I laid the cloth on the hull, laid the keel strip down the centre, weighted it down with a couple of toolboxes and trimmed the glass to the edge of the keel strip.

Then, I went around the hull and masked off where I want the bottom of the glass to end and also taped saran wrap to the sides to catch the inevitable drips. I also masked the underside of the gunwales.

This evening at 8:30 I finally took a deep breath and went for it. An hour later 1/2 of the bottom was glassed. It actually went quite well. I had no trouble with bubbles thanks likely to taking the time to prepare the bottom quite well. I started in the middle by painting on some epoxy to tack the cloth to the hull. I left the toolboxes at the ends holding down the cloth. Then I painted on epoxy and poured it on and used a spreader to work it into the weave and wet out the glass. I worked from the middle of the bottom towards the joint between the bilge panel and the side and then worked towards each end, alternating ends to keep a “wet” edge. It went very well…messy as I had lots of epoxy on my hands from using the spreader but I am quite happy with the result.

I went around with a brush to smooth out any runs and also used a fiberglass roller to spread out areas where there was a of extra epoxy. We’ll see how well that worked when I check it in a few hours.

The other half tomorrow, fill the weave with thickened epoxy or Quik-Fair and put on the keel strip if I have time.

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7/295 To August 23rd

Since last post I have laminated the mast halves together, rolled the boat and done a ton of sanding and worked on fine-tuning the rudder leeboard shape. I also tied the sail to the spars just to see what it looked like 🙂

Laminating the mast went ok…it is good that I picked up some more clamps as I needed every one of them. One of the boards had a bit of a kink in it and it took lots of persuasion to get it clamped up tight enough to the other board to get good squeeze-out. The finished product has a bit of a curve in it but I will cut the mast out straight so that shouldn’t matter. I will try and find a wood shop somewhere with a band saw that will do the tapering for me. All the options for doing it myself I either don’t like or will take too long.

The last couple of days I have done a lot of sanding on the outside of the hull. I thought it was in pretty good shape but my memory was faulty as it needed a lot of sanding. Most of the joints had been faired with Quik-Fair so it came off pretty easy. I had been thinking I would glass the bottom this weekend but I don’t know if I have enough epoxy left (I ordered some more on Friday) and I sure wouldn’t want to run out partway through glassing the hull. I’ll wait until the new stuff shows up on Tuesday or Wednesday and then get going on it if the weather isn’t going to be too warm.

The hull is looking pretty good. I added some more Quik-Fair in the middle where the butt joints are as there were a few rough spots that would just have resulted in bubbles and hassle if I tried to glass over top of them.

I keep changing my mind on what colour to paint the boat. Today I am thinking white outside of the hull with maybe a green stripe 6-8 inches wide below the gunwales, gunwales varnished, hatch covers varnished, mast and spars varnished, mast step and mast partner varnished and the rest of the decks and interior painted a creamy white just so it isn’t too bright when out on the water in the sun.

I also test fitted the first layer of the keel strip….

Here’s the sail tied to the spars. It was such a fabulous day today, it would have been wonderful to have been on the water. I think the sail and spars look great!

I have to get a trailer happening!

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6/275 Substantial Completion & Off On Vacation

The last three days I have gotten a few things done. I fabricated and epoxied a couple of thimbles to the yard. I finished epoxying the front hatch. I epoxied 1/4 inch ply to the 11 and 13 bulkheads in front of and behind the hatch so that the decking will look continuous when installed.

What’s left:
– Mast
– melt lead into rudder for sinkweight
– cut slot in rudder as a reboarding aid
– epoxy mast step to bottom
– epoxy motor board to transom
– epoxy rudder mounting board to transom
– build tiller
– glass bottom
– epoxy stem after installing U-Bolts which are in transit from Duckworks BBS
– Epoxy and attach keel to bottom after bottom glassed
– Sand and varnish and paint
– Attach all rigging, rudder, leeboard

It’s getting to be a relatively short list! We are leaving on vacation Friday for a couple of weeks. I will be back on August 3rd for a week and hope to get a lot done before I go back to BC to pick up Patty and the boys. As we are going to BC if I can obtain some good lumber out there for the mast I may put it together while I am gone. My buddy Mike, who lives in Duncan would love to do that I am sure….as long as I let him use his chainsaw on the mast at some point in time 😉

Hopefully it will be on the water by the end of August. I don’t want to be learning to sail in September as the lakes are already getting pretty cold by then.

Photos of where things are at right now….

See ya later!!!

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3/239 Hatch, Mast?, Partner

I came home from work a bit early and proceeded to epoxy together the rear hatch supports. It went pretty well.

I also epoxied the last piece of the mast partner. Later in the evening I clamped the partner to the bulkhead and drilled holes through the bulkhead.

I also ripped the 2×10 into 3 strips…the centre about 1 1/2 inches which are cracked and scrap….and two pieces off the sides. Except for a couple of bad knotty spots on one of them I would be in business I think. I’m going to look at scarfing the one with the bad spots and see what I would get. Otherwise I’m going to go back and get another 2×10 or a few 2×4’s or 6’s until I get something worth gluing up.

After consulting with Chuck L. I have decided to construct hatch supports for the front bulkhead similar to the rear one. I’ll add a cross member about 1/3 of the way from the front to the rear and then construct supports similar to the ones just finished for the rear compartment. With any luck I’ll have that well under way by the end of tomorrow.

This photo shows approximately where I will add the cross member. The hatch will have an opening of about 14 inches, the same as the hatch at the rear.

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