Saturday 9 May 2020

Footwell | Making & Fairing Fillets

We returned from our travels at the end of March and I started work on the boat again in early April.

I gave the workshop a really good clean and stocked up on consumables such as boxes of grits and rolls of sandpaper, and got stuck in again.

The first thing I did was to make the fillets in the footwell which I installed in January.

It's strange how quickly you forget how to do things when your mind has been elsewhere for many weeks! But after a bit of practice I got the hang of filleting again and managed to apply reasonably good fillets along all the seams, like this.

I left them to cure for a couple of days and then got to work with the carbide burr to grind away the rough surface. The burr works really well with my ancient corded Bosch drill.

Here is the drill in use.

And here is a close-up of the burr itself.

You might recall from earlier posts that this is intended for shaping metal, so it makes short work of dressing the fillets to allow them to be hand sanded to a smooth finish.

Here all the fillets in the footwell have been hand sanded to a P80 finish.

And here is the tool kit for hand sanding epoxy fillets.

You can see the various sanding blocks, or rubbers, that I used. The most useful ones are made of cardboard, folded and taped to different thicknesses and profiles. They allow a curved surface to be sanded smooth, with effort and patience.

It goes without saying that a good respirator is essential.

I then made up some fairing compound by thickening epoxy with glass micro balloons and applied that to the fillets, as I did with all the other fillets in the hull. This is suitable for use below the waterline, and is easily sanded to a really smooth finish.

I also used another type of carbide burr when fairing, specifically designed for carving wood and epoxy. It is made by Saburr and I use it in my small cordless Bosch drill, like this.

This one is a 1" ball on a 1/4" shank and has a very fine tooth, and is ideal for getting into corners for final dressing where three panels meet. Here is one of the footwell corners, dressed in this way.

I applied a couple of coats of fairing compound, to get a really good finish. Here are some completed fillets, ready for fibreglass cloth.

It was really good to be back in the workshop!

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