Thursday, 13 June 2019

More Fibreglass On The Bottom Panels

Confident that I now knew how to cut 'glass cloth panels correctly I cut them all out in one session and set them carefully aside to deploy as and when required.

The cloth has to be handled gently and kept from dragging against anything rough which instantly pulls threads. Damaged cloth not only looks unsightly but can be difficult to smooth and wet out nicely.

Installation of the rest of the 'glass panels progressed well and they were all wetted out over the course of four or five days and left to cure.

Here is the starboard panel in bay 7, laid in place and ready for wetting out.



And here is the port panel in bay 2, laid in place and ready for wetting out with clear resin.



The 'glass cloth is actually very compliant provided that I am patient and gentle. It conforms well to the shape of the hull and the fillets and doesn't mind being stretched or pulled slightly to get a good fit.

In bay 1 the steep sides of the bow compartment meant that I had to use a small piece of masking tape to hold it in place while I wetted it out, as here.



And here it is after application of clear resin.



I found that a 4" roller was the ideal tool for wetting out, and a brush was sometimes useful for tamping down the cloth into a fillet or a corner.

I started wetting out in the middle of each panel and worked slowly but firmly out to the edges. On steep sided bays it helps enormously to work up to the top of the panel first. This holds it firmly in place while the rest of the panel is dealt with, otherwise the top just falls down onto the wetted cloth and gets in a right mess.

Brushes are no use whatsoever for applying resin to cloth - they just drag the cloth or pull threads loose.

Here we see several completed bays on the starboard side of the boat.



The very last panel to be installed was the starboard side in the bow compartment of bay 1.

Here it is after wetting out.



And that is almost the end of 'glassing the bottom of the boat! When the bow panels are fully cured I will sand them and add a strip of 'glass tape all the way up the stem and along both chines as required by the build manual, and that will be the end of this activity.

I must say that I have really enjoyed this phase. Well, let's face it - after the endless agony of sanding fillets pretty much anything would be fun!

Next we move on to sanding the 'glass and applying more clear resin to get a perfectly smooth surface, ready for paint. I can't wait to get the sanders out again ...

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