Friday in the Boat Shop, March 9th

The weather was nice yesterday and I was able to open the shop while working. Mark N. show up and help me cut the fiberglass and peel ply. Later Rick H. showed up to watch the proceedings. Amazingly both had somewhere else to be when time came to epoxy the fiberglass the the side panel.

The process I use for applying fiberglass the the panel is to lay out the fiberglass where it needs to be and smooth it out. I use lead weights to hold it in place. Since the fiberglass cloth can be pulled out of shape there is a lot of smoothing out. I also set out the equipment that I will need: many sets of gloves, paper coffee cups, stirring sticks, squeegee and paint roller with an epoxy tolerant paint roller cover.

I mix up a batch of epoxy; in this case West Systems 105 resin and 205 Fast hardener. The fiberglass I am using is style 3733 5.6oz. X 50″ Fiberglass Cloth. I pour the epoxy over the fiberglass and spread it evenly. I then make up another batch of mixed epoxy and go and see how the previous batch of epoxy has penetrated the fiberglass. I add more epoxy where it is needed and the rest of the epoxy is used on the adjacent dry area. Once the fiberglass looks wet, I use the roller to even it out and move epoxy to a dry area if needed.  I want the fiberglass wet but not too wet and not too dry; if is off I can still make it work but it is work.

The peel ply was cut into squares and once I have an area of coated fiberglass I put the peel ply down and work out any folds or air bubbles. I was asked why I cut the peel ply into squares instead of using it full length and the reason is to make it easier to remove the folds and bubbles. Also working a large piece of peel ply is a lot of effort to flatten out. Sometimes I have stubborn bubbles that just don’t want to work out so I add denatured alcohol to the paper towel and the alcohol breaks down the surface tension and thins the epoxy. The last thing I do is clean up the tools with denatured alcohol and leave the shop before I get any epoxy on me.  The photo shows the finished side panel with fiberglass and peel ply waiting for the epoxy to cure.

The next Friday at the Boat Show is looking to be March 23rd.

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