Sunday 3 October 2021

Peel Ply | Test Fillet & Revelation!

Readers of posts early in the build will know how much I enjoy the process of making a decent fillet, which is not at all.

My usual approach is to make the fillet as best I can with a shaped filleting tool, and let it cure to an inevitably rough and spikey finish which is as hard as concrete.

I then dress this to a reasonable profile with a carbide burr before fairing it with more fillet mixture. Lastly this is sanded to a smooth finish, with a sander and by hand.

This is effective but is tedious and very time consuming, and I have always wondered if there is a quicker and better way of making nice, smooth fillets.

I recently watched some instructional videos on the internet on how to use epoxy resin and fibreglass, and discovered something called Peel Ply.

As the name suggests, this is a sheet material which is applied over epoxy resin. When cured you simply peel it off, leaving a flat textured surface ready for the next process.

I decided to try it out, so I made a big fat test fillet on some scrap ply and covered it with a strip of Peel Ply.

I then wetted out the strip with some clear resin and shaped it into a nicely contoured fillet with a hard nylon roller.

This is what it looked like.

When the fillet was fully cured I peeled the strip off the surface. Here it is partly peeled back.

You can immediately see that the fillet has held its shape and requires  minimal finishing.

Here is the final fillet.

I should of course have removed the blue tape and cleaned it up before applying the Peel Ply, but it's only a test and lesson learned.

I will use Peel Ply to make the remaining fillets on the boat. If I had discovered it earlier I could have saved very many hours shaping fillets, but hey ... as my son tells me when I become discouraged by boatbuilding setbacks: "Don't forget, dad. It's a journey!"

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