Fiberglassing the deck is more complicated than the hull since the cockpit meets the deck at such a sharp angle. I completed the prep work for the deck at the same time I worked on the hull. The remaining steps to fiberglass the deck include fitting the cloth, applying epoxy, sanding, and fixing mistakes.
Fitting the Cloth
I chose to fiberglass the deck using only four pieces of cloth. I’m not sure I will use this technique on the next two boats. It was a challenge to not get voids at the seam where the cockpit and deck meet.
Here the cloth is laid over one of the cockpit sides. This is before trimming for the corner. The piece for the bow is folded out of the way.
Most of the epoxy is applied with a roller and leveled out with a scraper. I used only two coats of epoxy for the deck. I achieved decent filling of the weave in two coats and didn’t sand into the weave too much when preparing for paint.
View showing the inside face of the cockpit. The closest cockpit side has already been coated with epoxy.
View of inside cockpit face. The excess cloth is trimmed with a razor blade while the epoxy is still in the green cure stage.
Corner of deck and cockpit after all fiberglass applied. I overlapped the bow and stern piece with the cockpit piece while the epoxy was still wet. The overlapping edge is easily feathered out with a random orbit sander once the epoxy is cured.
View of deck fiberglass wrapped at bow wrapped around to the hull side. These overlapped areas were later feathered successfully with a sander.
Trimming the anchor pole sleeve hole.
6 ounce fiberglass isn’t very thick.
Sanding the deck is similar to sanding the hull. The cockpit seam makes sanding a little more complicated.
I wrapped the deck fiberglass around to the hull. Here is what that overlap looks like on the bottom of the hull after fiberglassing.
View of same area after sanding. The edge must be feathered with caution to avoid cutting through your previous layer of hull fiberglass.
I wasn’t completely successful wrapping the cloth around the cockpit edge onto the deck. There were a few voids along the edge.
Voids along the cockpit edge. Perhaps the fillet wasn’t thick enough here and the radius was too tight for the fiberglass to lay down.
I trimmed the voids with a razor to expose the area.
Voids were filled with thickened epoxy. After paint, it won’t even be noticed.
The boat currently weighs 115 pounds without the floor installed. Fiberglassing both faces of the plywood, sealing the interior seams, and installing two anchor pole sleeves is going to put me over the planned 120 pounds. I’m more interested in durability since I’m building a cart to roll the boat around and should not have to lift it very often.
In the next installment, I’ll discuss installing the protective skids to the hull.
-- Mark, Minnesota