Decks and Dookie

March 14, 2018 § Leave a comment

A little update before the weekend’s fiberglassing activities.

I’ve been busy sanding the inside of the hull (by far my least favorite part of the build). Concave shapes are a bugger to sand.

At any rate, I thought I’d share the following picture as it captures several facets of the build. You’ll notice dark splotches at the far end of the canoe. These splotches are thickened epoxy (aka dookie schmutz) used to fill in the inevitable gaps between strips. When sanded down, these splotches will disappear, leaving only a slightly darker line where the gap is filled.

Then, the clamped business on top of the hull will eventually be two decks. For this build, I’m using a strip of oak sandwiched between lengths of walnut. It all needs to be planed smooth. You’ll also notice how canoe¬†forms provide a handy work surface.

In the foreground, you’ll notice holes drilled in the hull. These are guides to tell me how the inner and outer gunwale will lie. To back up a little, the forms have notches at the bow and stern that indicate where the sheer is. Before removing the hull from the forms, I marked the location of these notches. Because sanding would remove these marks, I drilled holes. When I set the gunwales, I’ll place them just shy of these holes. The material above the gunwales will then be planed off.


Fiberglassing (and lessons learned)

March 3, 2018 § Leave a comment

No matter how many boats you’ve built, each build invariably provides a humbling lesson.

For this build, and having fiberglassed many times before, I opted for some faster curing epoxy. I was better at it, after all. Knew my business. Right?


Having wetted out maybe a quarter of the canoe, the epoxy started to kick/react, and I was left with a steaming pot of epoxy with no reasonable way of applying it without totally butchering the job. In the end, I capitulated, peeled off the fiberglass I’d wetted and rescued as much of the unwetted cloth as I could.

So it was back to what I knew best — slow cure epoxy applied at temperatures near 20 degrees Celsius. (This temperature limit comes as a result of another hard-earned lesson. With my last boat. I applied a coat of epoxy at 10ish degrees. It never cured properly and remained tacky.)

At any rate, back to this build. Armed with slow-curing hardener, I tackled the task again. This time, things went smoothly and the fiberglass went on with no appreciable air bubbles (I sealed the hull with a coat of epoxy before glassing). After that, I filled the weave with three more coats, using a pretty saturated foam roller to apply the epoxy, and a foam brush to smooth it out and remove the minuscule bubbles that would appear.

With that done, it’s time to flip the boat and sand the inside.

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