Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Taping the deck seams

Finally, a productive day!

I arranged with Mike last night to help me put the kayak deck and hull back together tonight. This is temporary, I will take it apart and put it back together again at least one more time after this.

As a reminder of yesterday's events my neck is swollen red and itchy. Several people have told me I should have applied mud to the sting right away, and they are probably right. I think I have spotted the wasp nest, just outside one of the doors of the Garden House. It's quite small right now. Mike says whack it with a 2x4 and run like hell.

What I have to do today was glue fibreglass tape in the three seams of the deck, with extra layers over the reinforcing plates fore and aft of the cockpit. But I had to do it early enough that the epoxy could get tacky before Mike got home so we could then put the deck back on the hull.

I file the rough spots in all the seams and sweep out the epoxy dust. I measure and cut pieces of glass tape for all the seams. Then I mix a small batch of epoxy and put a thin layer in the front centre seam. I lay down the first piece of tape, but obviously it was not enough epoxy. So I put more in, spreading it with a paint brush. I have to add epoxy twice before it seems that I got it right.

I am playing this by ear now, I really am not sure how much I need. I am wearing the respirator and latex gloves, I keep ripping wax paper to put under things to keep the epoxy from getting everywhere. Then I remember that I have an old T-shirt to protect my clothes so I put that on too.

I mix more epoxy and spread more epoxy in the seams and lay out more glass tape and try to smooth out the bubbles with my gloved fingers. Finally all the seams are done and also the extra layers on the reinforcing plates, so I can clean up. It is 2pm, which gives me two hours till Mike gets home.

I clean the brush with acetone and after making sure everything is in order, I go back to my place to have lunch. An hour later I go back to check on the kayak. The epoxy is still pretty wet so I am wondering if it is going to be tacky by the time Mike gets here. The brush is stiff, I obviously didn't get all the epoxy out of it so I rinse it again in the acetone.

For a break I walk down one of the other trails to Peter Fader's old house.

It looks pretty good from the outside, but inside it is a mess and you can see that it is rotting. There is even a mushroom growing from the wet fibreglass insulation spread over the floor.

Shortly after 4pm I check the kayak again, the epoxy is still not tacky. I leave a note for Mike and go back to my place for tea.

Around 4.30 I went over to Mike's and he has just arrived home from work. He saw that the kayak was still wet so he suggests we try to put it together after dinner. The bottom line is that it has to be done today, so I sure hope the epoxy is tacky by then.

We get talking about kayaks in general and the ones Mike has built in particular, and we look at his skin boat in the barn. It is an Aleutian design, with a canvas skin spread over a wood frame. Mike says there are pros and cons to this design, the weakest point being the canvas he used for the skin. He says that if he could do it again he'd use different material.

The skin boat has an interesting bow design. Mike says it is intended to look like a sea otter floating on the ocean. It also extends the length of the kayak without necessitating making it wider. In effect the kayak has two bows, the first cutting the waves, the second riding up on top of them. It certainly looks sleek.

Later we go back to the Garden House and the epoxy is finally ready, so we lift the deck off the sawhorses and put it on the worktable, then put the hull up on the sawhorses and the deck on top of the hull. We tape it down and it looks pretty good. I check the paint brush and it is stiff again so once again I rinse with acetone, and then decide to leave it in the acetone overnight. I hope that is OK. Otherwise, I do have another brush I can use.

So, I have learned that this epoxy does not cure very fast. It may be the humidity or the cool temperatures, hard to say. But I shouldn't count on fast curing at all. I hope my neck is better tomorrow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm so impressed with your can-do attitude and ingenuity! Of course, taking on the project of finishing this kayak is quite impressive, too. Applause!

"Live and learn" is so true no matter what you're doing or what your age!

Reading on .... I hope! I was dismayed to have to wait a whole week to read about your endeavors, but understand you cannot run to town daily to post these entries. :D