RE: [Cedar Strip Canoes] Re: Experienced fiberglassers
- Sorry, I cannot help, I am in NY state.
I can offer some tips for glassing that might help.
First: I usually do the stems first. These are small areas that require a lot of fussing. Add two layers of cloth. I usually make the first layer about 14-16" wide. The second layer about 10-12" wide.
1) Fold it in half and press the pieces (lay them between two boards overnight or longer, individually)
2) Each piece is pre-bent by pulling it over the stems, carefully rubbing it back and forth while pulling. This will redistribute the fibers along the sides allowing you to pull them tighter, forcing a curve in the glass and conforming as much as possible to the stem. You may not be able to get all of a sharp curve and the pieces will still require slitting the sides and over laying the cloth. Insure that you go far enough back from the stem to allow for the body sheet to cover and be slitted as necessary when you lay the body. Rule of thumb says about 18-24" from the bow.
3) Trim all raggedness fairly evenly, do both stems and all four pieces.
4) Epoxy the first layer in, carefully overlapping any slits, usually in the direction of water flow, but this isn't all that important.
5) After it sets enough to sand, feather the edges smooth to the hull, smoothing any bumps in the stem.
6) Add the second piece. Again waiting till it sets and sand smooth to eliminate any ridges and bumps.
7) This can wait pretty good because of the large amount of sanding. Use 60 grit paper, it cuts pretty fast. You want to leave as much as possible on the stem but cut it pretty smooth to the hull. Ridges and bumps will show.
This will give you some practice with epoxy and fiberglass work. And, it eliminates the really fussy and time consuming (messy) chore of slitting cloth around the stems later, with the body.
Next lay out the bottom sheet. This will serve to reinforce and add wear resistance to the bottom and should only cover the bilge about half way. The football shape is how it gets it's name, I guess. This will have a couple sections that will elongate over the stems as far as possible. This will build up a bit. It will also wear down the fastest in use.
Epoxy it down, sand after it sets smoothing the edges back to the hull. Then add a full body sheet. Again, I slit and cut around the stems rather than try to fold, wrap and slit the fabric. After it sets, you sand this lightly and can add a third layer over the football as a wear layer. It gets heavy, so you might want to skip it. Generally, a 12" strip down the center will catch 75% of the wear.
Then fill coat it and varnish. I use slow set MAS epoxy for everything. But thicker WEST epoxy works fine, in colder weather. It just sets really fast. Toweling to get an even layer and press the fabric close to the hull is important. It provides a more even coat and removes any air bubbles. I thin my epoxy with 5-10% acetone AFTER I mix it so it usually goes on pretty good and I have time to go back and trowel the whole boat. Don't add too much epoxy, the fiberglass will float up, leaving uneven and potentially weakness in the hull. Too much acetone will lead to vapor bubbles. Go easy with it.
My thoughts only . . .
James D. Marco
302 Mary Lane
Ithaca, NY 14850
607-273-9132 (land), 607-220-9969(cell)
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