Thursday 13 June 2019

First Fibreglass On The Bottom Panels

With all the fillets in place it was time to start adding a fibreglass cloth covering to the bottom panels of the hull, for added strength and resilience.

I started with the port side of bay 9 in the stern, between bulkhead 8 and the transom. This will be sealed as a watertight compartment and not visible, so it is a good place to practice in case the outcome is not cosmetically perfect!

I cut 'glass cloth using the pattern I created earlier, and wetted it out. This was the result.

I thought it looked pretty good, so I moved on to the port side of bay 8. That went well too. Here it is, wetted out.

Flushed with success and confidence I then tackled the port side of bay 3, which is a much more complex shape with overlaps onto floor 3  and bulkhead 2 and the adjacent bay. Using the paper pattern to cut the cloth I managed to make an incorrectly shaped panel which did not fit the bay - twice!

I realised that the 'glass cloth was deforming as I cut around the pattern, being much more flexible and pliable than the paper. This was clearly not the right way to do it ...

So, I carefully smoothed out the fabric and placed the pattern on top. Two folding tables placed together provided a suitable work surface.

Then I weighted the pattern down, so that neither the pattern nor the cloth could move. Like this.

I recruited two stuffed chicken doorstops to assist. They are perfect for the job, and they didn't seem to mind helping out …

The trick then is not to cut around the pattern but to mark out the outline of the panel on the cloth itself. I used a marker pen to make a dot every two or three inches about a quarter of an inch from the edge of the pattern. Then I cut along a line inside the dots, knowing that the outcome would be correct even if the cloth was deformed in the process.

It worked perfectly. Here is the end result.

So far, so good!

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