Finishing (and  taping the joints!)

This section is really about glassing the joints and then finishing, and really it involves as much sanding as you want to do to achieve whatever level of finish you desire.

A clear finished boat will hide a multitude of sins in some respects as the grain of the timber will distract the eye from bumps and unfairness. On the other hand it's a bit hard to slap on a bit of filler and expect the world not to see.

So, starting with epoxying the outside:


I'm going to glass the bottom of the boat with 4-oz glass to add stiffness to the 4mm ply, and of course this will improve abrasion resistance a bit as well. I don't want to use too much glass as it'll just add unnecessary weight, so I mask off an area just above the join. I won't need to tape this bit either!

The coloured pencils do a great touch up in areas that might have flaws in the ply, but don't use waxed based ones!

 The resin begins

With the glass cut and taped in place, I mix a small batch of resin, and pour it onto the centre of the job.

Getting it out of the container will minimise heat build-up and give a longer working life for the resin.

Glassing the bottom

A nice thin coat of resin bonds the glass right down to the tape, now I'll have a break until the epoxy has gone to the "heavy tacky" stage. I want to trim the glass and get another coat on while it's still tacky.

Trimming the glass

While the epoxy is stiff, I get in with a sharp razor blade and trim the glass back to the masking tape line. The masking tape is then removed, and we're ready to tape the rest of the joins.

First coat done

The tape is on, and the first coat of epoxy in place. Later, while this is still barely tacky, I'll give it it's second coat.

While it would be good to have a fantastic finish at this stage, there's nothing that a good dose of sander won't fix.

The best advice anyone can give if the glass job starts to go ugly, is not to worry, don't fiddle, walk away and come back after it's gone off.

Sanding begins

The tape has a raised edge, which of course doesn' t make it all that attractive, so we take to it with a spokeshave at first to trim it back. Then start the sanding process.

The difference in finish is quite apparent in this picture.

Smoothing the tape

After trimming the tape with the spokeshave, I found a nice sharp cabinet scraper (the rectangle of metal on the boat) was very effective in fairing the joint prior to sanding. You can see the curly shavings it makes on the hull surface if you click for a larger view.

Ready for the third coat

Now sanded with all major imperfections gone, the hull is ready for a third and lighter coat of epoxy. This one can be as smooth as we can get it to minimise sanding next time round.

Decks coated

Here the deck has been coated and is ready for sanding and varnishing.

Just varnish to go!

Ahh yes, that's true, and over the coming weeks or months I'll update these pages to reflect the final work!

I've promised myself this will be before Easter (2008) but then I also promised myself it would be before Christmas 2004!


We'll see!


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building - finishing
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