Resin and Glass

Let's get wet! (page 1 of 2 pages)

Check your materials! Be sure to have everything on hand before you start: rag, acetone, latex gloves (several sets), resin, hardner, calibrated pumps or measuring cup(s), mixing sticks, fiberglass cloth, large X-Acto knife, sharp scissors, a small cooler with refreshments for "bubble hunting" (more on this later), and a comfortable folding chair. Work disposable (gloves, old clothes, etc.)! It sure beats exposing yourself to absorbing acetone (solvent / thinner) through your skin.

Time to fiberglass the hull. The hull has been sealed with a sealer coat of resin. I started my sealer coat by taking sanding-dust thickened epoxy filler and hitting any cracks and nasty masses of staple holes. I applied this with a metal scraper that doubled as a means to remove excess filler. I then immediately followed with the "wet-out" clear coat. Any excess filler that discolored the wood surrounding a crack or hole was blended with a gloved finger tip into the sealer clear coat of resin. At this stage (see photo) the wet-out clear coat is less than one day old and hard, but not rock hard. Continuing with the glassing at this point means tthat the sealer coat does not need to be sanded prior to the glass coat. The single glass sheet covering the hull has been diagonally cut from a bolt of woven glass cloth. The remaining two triangular sections have been set aside and will be used internally where cosmetics are less important.

The glass is cut at the bow and stern so that it will lie flat on the hull. Smooth all wrinkles in the cloth and double check the margins before beginning to "resin-out" the weave. Be sure to re-read your epoxy application manuals and the applicable sections in your favorite boat-building books before starting. Don't panic! Take your time, but steadily and confidently work through the resin applications. Mix your resin and hardener in some established sytem that mimnimizes the chances of applying a bad mix to the boat. The epoxy sets up fast, but not fast enough that one does not have time to do a great job, as ell as catch any little problems that develop.

Acrylic resin. I began applying resin at the center of the boat, working down and toward the bow, then the stern. I elected to do the bow half first, alternating between the two sides of the boat, then repeated the operation from the stern forward. I mixed small batches of resin (four or five metered pumps) and dribbled them out onto the hull before they could "cook-off" in the pot(s) (old margirine tubs). I used a foam brush to spread the resin and my gloved hand to squeegee it down and around through the weave. I prefer using my hand (more control, and it wastes less resin) instead of a plastic squeegee. If you start to have something cook-off in a brush or container, toss the stuff onto a concrete slab outside the building and away from anything flammable... ---this stuff gets VERY HOT when it decides to go!

Looking good! The cloth is fully "wetted-out" and the fabric is tight to the wood with no shiny excess resin pools on the surface. Now it is time to change into a fresh set of latex gloves for "bubble hunting." Get your easy chair, a cold beverage, and occasionally check for any signs that the cloth has created a bubble (pulled away, with air trapped under it by the resin above). If you find a bubble, massage it out, perhaps applying a tad more resin to the spot. Bubble hunt until the glass-resin matrix has nicely "set-up" (is slightly tacky, but is not wet). You can then trim the margins of the glass with your X-Acto or shop knife if you so desire. Try to keep your glass-cutting scissors far away from the resin and acetone. The X-Acto and shop knife allow you to again "work disposable" and limit your acetone exposure.

Looking good (detail of above)! The wetted-out cloth is now transparent, any staple holes or little gaps have now gone dark with resin--- the boat visually takes on a rich antique look, but this is nothing really---just wait for the clear-coat application!

(---please continue to the next page...)

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