More snot and disco skirts

Starboard side sheathed

Starboard side sheathed

Oh joy I am back on the fibreglass!

Wrapping the forefoot with nasty pointy stuff

Wrapping the forefoot with nasty pointy stuff

A mixed blessing fibreglass is. The unarguable protection it provides makes it a necessity, but dealing with it is not fun. The cloth is so slippery it slides out your hand like a wet fish, yet it jags on anything and distorts the weave requiring a stroking session to realign. Applying such large areas of it makes you stir crazy mixing the epoxy, and your wrist gets hammered squeegeeing it. That is all before we consider the health benefits!

The join of two sheets of fibreglass, still to be sanded

The join of two sheets of fibreglass, still to be sanded

My process is to mark out as much as I can handle by myself, which is about two to three meters of 1500mm wide cloth, drape it on the boat and position it, then mark out the area to be covered. I have two objectives in mind, making best use of the cloth and keeping straight-ish edges.

If I had a few more people who could keep my odd and un-planned hours, I would attempt the entire side at once. But by myself, I am leaving gaps between the cloth panels and filling with epoxy mixed with light weight filler.

With the cloth off the boat and the area marked out, I then roll on a coat of epoxy to fill the area, then approach it gingerly with the cloth and drape carefully to my marks, paying attention to straight edges. Then it is into the squegeeing in more epoxy, pushing the cloth into the epoxy against the hull.

It takes two to six mixes of epoxy to fill the cloth sections and any extra goes towards rolling on the adjacent cured area, filling the weave.

Wet 'glass on the bow

Wet ‘glass on the bow

The result is a lean fit with no lifting of the cloth, but the weave will need more epoxy, and this can be achieved whilst it is still tacky, (but not too green), or later after a light sand.

Sanding fibreglass is my big hatred. I desperately dislike the glass fibres that it produces. To combat these nasty, itchy, glassy, sticky-inny shards, I invested in a decent sander that works well with my extractor, and I upgraded the extractor with a Dust Deputy thingo to improve the suck.

The Festo extractor with Dust Devil on top

The Festo extractor with Dust Devil on top, ungainly but it sucks!

The Dust Deputy adds a cyclonic action to any extractor, or regular vacuum cleaner, much like Dyson has built into their celebrated vacuum cleaners. With my Festool extracter, I have done away with the bag, and just let the Deputy’s bin fill up. With the small amount of sanding I have done since installing the Deputy, I have filled the tub twice, indicating it is catching more than the bag did!

Kate gave me a Festool extractor four years ago, and it was the best thing she could have purchased me. Minimising dust is so critical with these modern materials, I don’t want anything to get in the way of enjoying this boat.

The Festool Rotex sander I purchased is amazing, it has two settings, a random orbit and a direct drive. So with the same 120 grit paper, I can remove material very quickly with the direct drive, and finish off with the random orbital setting. All with the twist of a setting on the head. To add to this, they are very quiet, almost not needing hearing protection.

The 90mm Festo Rotex sander

The 90mm Festo Rotex sander

I chose the small Rotex (90mm) because I wanted it for detail sanding, but now I really want the big 125mm unit. Now I want both. But at $900 each this will not happen soon.

Off to the glass fibre work I go, I’m itching just thinking about it!

About paulatkins

I own a 3rd generation family businss printing for lovers of photography. My favourite hobby is building and sailing wooden boats.
This entry was posted in Epoxy, Fibreglass, Tools, wooden boat and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to More snot and disco skirts

  1. Ed says:

    Years ago I built a wood strip sea kayak and really hated the fiberglass work, especially on the inside of the boat where bubbles were horrid to deal with. It always looks so good as I’m wetting it out but as it starts to set up, I notice this imperfection and that imperfection and then it is lots of sanding later. If I ever do another one, I will definitely invest in a setup like yours. I sanded mine without any collection system and itched for years afterwards!

  2. paulatkins says:

    Hi Ed, that stuff is so insidious, the shirt I wore when sanding is lagging my forearms as they brush against it. I am sure I have minimised it, but it just wants to stay and play.

  3. Dave E says:

    Paul, next time you might want to try putting the cloth on the hull dry, and then wetting out. The epoxy goes through the glass and wets the hull. That way you don’t have to drag the glass around on a wet hull. This is the method I’ve used on two kayaks, a canoe, and now my SCAMP, and it works great for me. Here’s a post on my blog showing that:

    — Dave

    • paulatkins says:

      Thanks Dave, I might try that. Although I was not struggling with that aspect so much, i quite like the way it grabbed and allowed me to tweak the positioning without it sliding around.

  4. Jordan says:

    Great photos here. Interesting to see how different people tackle doing fiberglass work. I’ve never cared for it myself but it’s so necessary – it’s like a “doing the dishes” part of making a boat.

  5. Alex says:

    Another classic title brother! LOL – of course all I can think of now is Michael Jackson. He too knew about the impact of disco parties and snot – in fact he actually blamed it on the boogie 😉

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