Fun with fiberglass and epoxy!

June 9 - you could spend months getting your boat absolutely perfect, but then... that's months that you're not paddling, right? Besides, that first scratch or ding will come sooner than you expect anyway. It's a boat - get it in the water, where it belongs.

This morning I finished as much fairing as I was going to do. There are still some areas I'm not happy with, but if I mess with them long enough, I'm liable to sand right through the boat. Time to preserve all the flaws and mistakes for posterity under a coat of fiberglass. (Besides, it's the deck everyone looks at, right?)

Joe doesn't specifically include a seal coat in his instructions for the Silver, but after reading Nick Schade's chapter on fiberglass several times, and reading the archives of the boat-builder's forum, I decided to do one.

Below is the result of the initial seal coat, plus the excess I squeegeed off after getting a nice saturation layer. Oh, and proof that I'm safety-conscious. (Don't laugh - it works.)

Once the seal coat was no longer tacky to the (gloved) touch, I draped the fiberglass cloth on the bias over the hull, trimmed down the edges to approx. 2-3", and used a clean brush to lay it flat. Not shown... there's no way the stern would lie flat, so I cut the glass up the centerline and crossed it over, then added a second layer of glass over that. I was going to reinforce the stems and bottom of the hull anyway, so I got part of it out of the way.

Below: the glass partially wetted-out, then complete and excess removed. You don't want any white spots in the weave, as that area would be epoxy-starved, but neither do you want the glass floating in resin. You want a nice, tight fit against the boat. The glass should look wet, but not soaked in epoxy.

June 10 - got up early to get the reinforcement layer of glass on the bottom. Using some strips trimmed from the sides of the full hull layer, I did a second layer of glass across the bottom, along the keel and up both stems. I'm calling this my "Missouri River" layup.

Once that was wetted out and no longer tacky, I did two fill coats - a light coat mid-day with a hard-foam roller, and a second fill coat after dinner with a brush (due to technical difficulties with the roller). The second coat ended up a bit thicker, so the weave is almost entirely gone. The plan is to let the hull fully cure this week, then sand back and feather in the seams next weekend, and do one last light epoxy coat.

Prior to fill: After two fill coats:

June 11 - Joe @ Redfish pointed out that I'll have to feather in the seam along the sheer anyway... so I may as well wait to sand and feather. So, the boat gets to sit and cure until the weekend. A few parting shots... from the bow, from the stern, more boat, a seam to feather, and some tiny bubbles. Those bubbles might bug the heck out of anyone else, but I really like them... gives the boat 'depth'! As someone on the kayak bulletin board posted, 'it's a boat - not furniture'. (We'll see if I still feel that way when I start sanding into the little buggers.)

June 17 - Houston... we have separation of the main rocket booster. Well, that's what it feels like, anyway. Paul built me a second set of sawhorses, which I made into "slings". With his help, we unfastened all the bolts to the risers and flipped the 'yak. It almost looks like a boat!

So... why are the risers still on, you might ask? Well, as I started undoing the wingnuts holding the forms to the risers, I realized that I had to pound the heck out of the bolts to get them INTO the forms... trying to delicately tap them out while the boat was upside down without moving the forms too much would be a process in frustration. The risers, however, had slots and would be easy to remove. Now I will have a little more working room to remove the risers and bolts.

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