My wife and I discussed it and decided today is the day. I went out this morning at 5:30 and started a fire. It was 40 degrees in the shop. Sweet, it won’t take long to get it to 75 from there. Grabbed some breakfast and went out to get things ready. we will need some big batches of epoxy to start with, so I brought out the new jugs. It is a little slow to pump these big amounts, so with the new jugs I can keep the pumps in the old ones for now, and just pour what I need. I got some marked cups to measure with.
Like I said, we can use big batches at first, so I went with 18 ounces to start things off. This system requires a two to one ratio so I poured in 12 ounces of resin and then 6 ounces of hardener.
Now, this next part I will leave up to you weather or not you want to do. Before my first canoe I had never done fiberglassing of any kind. I had no clue what to do. I went to Raka.com to see what they had. There are many, many types of product. I was at a loss here. So I e-mailed them and asked how you know what to order. The next day the owner called me and asked me what I was doing. I said canoe. He asked me my location, and I said Maine. He commented on the cold (it was winter at the time) and said I should use the medium viscosity resin. This is the odd part, he said I should pick up an old microwave oven just for shop use. He said if I was mixing a batch around 16 to 20 or so ounces, to put in the resin, then the hardener on top, don’t stir yet, and put in the oven for 10 to 12 seconds. It will come out as thin as water. I’ve been doing that since with good results. When the book author was at my shop I told him about it and he had never heard of doing that before. So I will leave it up to you weather or not you want to heat it.
So back to the job. I heated and mixed the first batch and poured it onto the hull about a third in from one end.
The idea now is to spread it toward the end and down. You want it to soak in so the cloth disappears. You use the squeegee to move it down to the gunwales. When you get good at it you can move it to the edge without any dripping off. Just keep working it in and you will get it to do what you want.
You’ll have to forgive me but we were very busy, and very sticky, so I didn’t get as many pictures as I wanted to.
It wets out harder where there are two layers, then you get down around the side and it goes a little faster.
The ends require a little more work. First hold the cloth out straight, then cut in, but off to one side a couple of inches.
Now put one side out of the way and wet out the other side right to the point of the canoe. Then trim the cloth to the same shape as the end of the canoe, but out from the wood about two or three inches.
Now fold that piece over and use a chip brush to carry some epoxy to it and stick it in a few spots.
Once you’re at this point, use the brush to stick the cloth to the point, and finish wetting the flap you folded over. If you work it carefully you can get it to lay flat without cutting slits in it. Then use the squeegee to get out the extra epoxy.
One place to watch is the bottom edges, they like to pull away from the wood leaving a bubble. You will want to leave a couple of inches of cloth hanging below the wood to help soak up the epoxy so it doesn’t drip as much.
As you go along you need to use the squeegee to scrape off the extra epoxy. If you look at it and it has shiny spots, that’s where it needs to be scraped. Just start in the center and scrape down to the edge. As I mentioned before, I like to use the credit card looking things I get in the junk mail to scrape with. Once you’ve done the first end just start at the point you left off with and go to the other end. Next thing you know you will be done. Here is the aftermath.
All of those gloves and rags will go right in the wood stove. Here are the mixing pots, and stir sticks, and squeegees. Tomorrow I will clean them up so I can use them again next time.
Well, I guess that’s about it. Here are a couple of pictures of the finished product.
I wish I had gotten more pictures of the process but it’s tough when you are sticky, and pressed for time.
I’m sure I have forgotten to tell you some things about it, maybe I will remember when we do the inside. If you have any questions just ask.
We had more snow today so I will clean that up tomorrow. I probably won’t update until sometime first of the week. See you then.
-- Jeff in central Me.