Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Clipper's Vera Cruise Build

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Fiberglassing Continues

Shortly after posting the last blog entry, we had the remnants of a hurricane come through and dump a tremendous amount of rain in the area. The humidity levels shot through the roof and I decided to hold off doing any fiberglass work until after it passed on. That took four days. Then there were the usual life and work events that occasionally get in the way. All this is to say that I did not complete the fiberglassing in the two week time frame I had originally hoped for. In fact, even without the weather and other interruptions, two weeks was unrealistic.

But I did make progress. I've nearly completed the starboard bottom side and a third of the port side. I'll be finishing up the starboard bottom today and then in the next day or two start working on the starboard side panels. I had to delay finishing the bottom port panels because I miscalculated the amount of fiberglass I needed and had to order some more. The bottom fiberglass is 50 inches wide because I need at least 44 inches for the wide parts of the hull.  The 38 inch wide cloth I have for the sides won't do.

In the last blog entry I had started on the port forward bottom skin. That was completed first. Each section is taking three coats of epoxy to completely fill the weave of the cloth. All coats are being applied with the thin foam rollers which allow me to keep the coats nice and thin and avoids runs from too heavy of a build up. In addition, I am sanding between coats to keep things smooth so that final finishing will be easier. After three coats, the finish is nice and glossy.

As I am overlapping each section with the next section, I have to feather sand the overlap areas so that I do not end up with bumps. This revealed the need for additional coats of epoxy, so my plan is to finish the fiberglassing of the entire hull using three coats of epoxy. Then I will do a smooth sanding and apply a fourth coat over the entire hull. If necessary, I will apply a fifth coat. I am endeavoring to keep these coats as thin as possible so that I do not have excess epoxy in the final finish.

My original plan was to do the bottoms in three sections on each side. This was predicated on the assumption that I would not have enough pot life with the resin to do larger areas. All my previous experience with resin on this boat dictated that I do things in small batches because the resin would set up too quickly.

However, for the hull, I am using a different product, System Three Silver Tip. This product is wonderful and has many advantages over the other. First off, it's clear instead of having a yellow tint. It doesn't blush, it doesn't get as hot when curing, it  has a longer pot life, and it doesn't smell nearly as bad. It does cost more, but I feel that the lower stress levels and other advantages outweigh the additional cost.

Anyway, since I have longer times to work with the resin, I decided to do larger sections. The starboard side was the first to see that. I had already done a smaller section on the aft end.

I was able to do the entire remainder of the starboard bottom in one shot. With the application of three coats, and sanding between coats, it takes about three days to do a section. I can improve on this by doing another section on a efferent part of the boat, but have to wait if the sections have any overlap. This is why I did the port forward and the starboard aft sections first. But at three days per section, it takes longer to get the overall job done. So if I can eliminate sections by combining them, I can shorten the amount of time needed to complete fiberglassing. This also reduces the amount of waste in resin and application materials. It also reduces the number of overlaps I have to sand.

All of the sections covered so far have fiberglass cloth overlapping the keel, and chine seams. When I apply the fiberglass on the sides, I will overlap these seams again. This will give me two layers of glass in this high risk areas. This is more to protect them than to prevent leaks. Anybody who has ever sanded over a seam that joins two surfaces together at angles to each other, knows that it is easy to over sand the seams because of their prominent location. The same risk applies to the hull after it is in the water and potentially at risk of hitting something with these seams.

As long as I am careful about feather sanding the overlap areas, the final finish should be relatively easy to keep smooth. I prefer to keep the bumps and dips small now rather than try and fix them afterwards when they may be more pronounced with several layers of glass and resin.

So that is it for now. I will be completing the starboard bottom side fill coats today and then moving on to the starboard side glassing while I await the delivery of more bottom fiberglass cloth for the port side.

Until next time,

Take care.

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