Thursday, July 3, 2008

Glassing the deck

The kayak is now ready for its final layer of fibreglass. I ran a line of masking tape around the hull about an inch below the sheer seam (the seam between the deck and the hull).

I have two pieces of fibreglass cloth, a larger and a smaller piece, and I was hoping to cover the entire deck with the smaller piece, cut in half. It is big enough to do that, but it has a hole in it so positioned that I just couldn't avoid it. The hole would not be visible but it would weaken the deck covering.

I laid the small piece of cloth over the stern deck and trimmed it to avoid the hole and drape about two inches over the sheer seams on both sides. I taped it down to hold it in place.

I then laid the larger piece of cloth over the bow deck and cut out a piece to cover the deck and drape over the sheer seams. I trimmed the bow and stern ends to overlap as snugly as possible. The cockpit was completely covered by the fibreglass and there was a two inch overlap of the two pieces, over the middle butt seams.

For this stage I did not wear the respirator but I did wear protective clothes and latex gloves.

Once the fibreglass was in place, I put on the respirator and started wetting the fibreglass down with epoxy on a foam roller. The roller is three inches wide and the foam is only an eighth of an inch thick. I bought the roller in May and also a nine inch replacement foam roll which I have been cutting into three inch pieces to fit the roller as needed. I've used up two pieces already (including the original on the roller when I bought it) and have one more after this one.

Wetting down this layer of fibreglass was actually a little more difficult than doing the inside of the hull a couple of weeks ago, not sure why. I tried to clean up the drips on the outside of the hull as I went along and keep the extra fibreglass over the masking tape from adhering to the hull. After wetting all the glass, I squeegeed the excess off, removing as much of the bubbles as I could see.

By 2:30pm I was done, and went home to have lunch and wait two hours for the epoxy to get tacky. Good to get away from the fibreglass and respirator and gloves.

After two hours I returned to the Garden House and trimmed the fibreglass just above the masking tape line using a utility knife. In the process I removed the tape as well. Finally I trimmed the fibreglass from the cockpit. The kayak now looks as it did before I started today, except that you can faintly see the fibreglass cloth weave on the deck.

I did not wear the respirator but I did wear latex gloves. Because the tape and tacky epoxy stick to the latex I also wore thin cotton gloves over top.

Just as I finished Mike came by on his way home from work and looked at the kayak. It's nice and shiny now but you can still see the weave of the fibreglass cloth. The instructions say to add one or two more coats of epoxy until the weave is invisible, Mike thinks one more coat should be sufficient. I hope so, as each coat requires another day to cure.

Tomorrow I am going into town to pick up some more supplies and groceries, and do a laundery. The most important things I need are yet another dowel and some more dental syringes. I'll do one coat of epoxy before I go, and hopefully I won't need another. I am running low on epoxy, I don't know if I have enough to finish. I will have to go to Halifax to get more if I do run out.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You continue to impress me! You seem so wonderfully confident as if dealing with all that is involved with making a kayak is as every day as making a cake. Applause! Way to go!!

Hope that last coat of epoxy is really all you need. Hope also that you found everything in town that you needed.

As I read this, it's your day of rest. Enjoy!!!!!