My First Stitch and Glue Canoe (Glassing the outside)
Although this chapter is called glassing the outside I began by sanding the inside of the hull. The reason I didn't rush to do this stage is simple. The resin has to have time to set properly before you sand it. Generally this takes about a week but it is dependent on temperature and the make of resin you are using.If you sand too early your sandpaper will clog with resin and can even tear resin from the surface.I began gently with my orbital sander on the flat areas and then finished off the corners and awkward to reach areas by hand.
With the inside of the hull sanded I hoovered off the dust and turned the hull over.The bottom is glassed in two halves so I decided to make it easy by wetting out the first half and leaving it to set overnight. Wetting out is the first stage of applying a piece of fibreglass cloth and the idea is to apply enough resin to the cloth to be sure it is getting well saturated and bonded to the timber but not so much that it floats off the surface in a thick layer of resin. Once the resin and cloth has been applied to a side I then go over it with a squeegy flattening the cloth to the surface and removing excess resin. If you look at this picture you can see the right hand end has been squeegied (not sure if that is a word or how to spell it but you get the idea!)
I left it at to set at this stage as it was the end of the day but if you want to you can carry on and do the other side after the first has had a bit of time to set ( 1-2 hrs) so you don't detach it while you work.
There are advantages to leaving it overnight and one is I can tape the cloth of the second side to it in the morning.
The cloth is always placed on with care to avoid tearing the fibres which can show and is brushed out to help it conform to the surface. I use a clean paintbrush for this some use a wallpaper brush and others smooth it by hand. If you do use your hands be sure to wear latex gloves as your skin can catch the weave of the cloth and pull it out of line.
I wet out the second side the same way I did the first and then apply some reinforcement strips to the bow and stern. These strips are simply cut from the waste cloth of the edges but they should be cut on the bias, that is to say at an angle to the weave of the cloth approximating 45 degrees.This helps the cloth conform to the shape better but you may still have to cut it in places like I have here to help it lie flat around the curve.
Next the fill coats can be applied. This is done with a brush (some use a roller).I apply the resin to area about 8 to 10 inches square at a time brushing it on first across the grain then with the grain and moving on to the next section methodically until the whole hull is covered. Smaller batches of resin are mixed at this stage as you are not working as quickly as when wetting out.
The resin is given time to set (I did the fill coat on the other side).Incidently I was able to do this without sanding as the overnight temperature was cool enough that the resin was still green enough for me to do this and get a chemical bond between the layers. If your resin is fully hardened you need to sand it to provide a key before proceeding with fill coats. I was able to do two fill coats all over by the end of the day then left it all to set.
That's all for now and thank you for reading.