Friday 12 June 2020

Forward Deck, Topsides & Rear Cabin Wall | Fibreglass

The time had come to lay down fibreglass cloth on the forward deck and to cover the seam between the hull sides and topsides with a strip of heavyweight fibreglass tape.

I learned a lot about laying down fibreglass cloth when covering the inside of the bottom hull panels. A paper pattern is the key. In this instance the challenge was very much simpler, with there being just one panel of cloth on the forward deck.

First I layed the cloth out on a broad, flat surface. Here we have three picnic tables side by side.

A wall paper brush is ideal for smoothing out the cloth. My rough hands just snag on the weave.

Next I layed the paper pattern on the cloth, and weighted it down so the pattern and the cloth can't move. In this case the weights are stuffed chicken door stops, which did a great job on the hull panels. They were pleased to be recalled for service.

Next we take a marker pen and a ruler, and mark out the outline of the panel around the pattern with closely spaced dots. I didn't have enough paper to include the overlaps in the pattern, so I just measured them out with the rule on each side, as here.

Then I cut the cloth with a sharp pair of scissors, cutting just inside the marks. In this way we get an accurately cut panel even if the cloth deforms while being cut. If you follow the marks, you cut the correct shape!

Here it is being cut out.

The panel is then laid out on the forward deck and smoothed into place with the brush, like this.

Finally the cloth is wetted out with clear epoxy resin. I used a disposable foam roller, and a laminating brush to poke the corners into place, as here.

Work outwards with the roller from the centre of the panel, and up the overlaps onto the topsides and the bulkhead. That way the cloth doesn't move out of position.

Here is the wetted out panel on the forward deck.

The next task is to cover the seam between the topsides and side panels with very strong fibreglass tape, to strengthen the join.

Again, the lengths of tape are fixed in place by wetting out with clear resin applied with a roller.

Here is the tape in the cabin, on the port side.

And here is the tape in the cockpit, on the port side. While I was at it I coated the inside of what will become the seatbacks with resin.

The final task was to apply tape over the fillet between the rear cabin wall and the cockpit deck, as in this photo.

That's it with the fibreglass for now! Next up is installing the sheerclamps, which promises to be something of a challenge.

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