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Applying epoxy to the hull

After days of sanding, first with number 50, then 80 and 120, the moment arrived to start with the application of the glass to the hull! Just separating both halves was some emotion.

But the happiness gave way to reality soon...

I prepared the epoxy according to the instructions, given the ambient temperature, even pre-heating the mix to an acceptable temperature. I hadn't counted on the hull temperature itself, though. In seconds, the resin changed from a nice liquid phase to thick and viscuous. Though application was still possible, I just couldn't imagine saturating the cloth with this.

So, I tried to heat the hull from the inside with an air blower, but the effect was just too slow. Finally I applied the hot air directly from the outside. The resin did liquify as expected, but I still couldn't impregnate the fibers 100%. The fact that the wood was very dark didn't help at all to hide he problem.

The area where the problem was most visible was the stern, which was on the coldest side of the garage, clearly indicating temperature as the culprit. I'll do the deck on a nice warm day!

The pictures

The cloth applied to the hull. This is the first time I use 160 gr/m2 cloth - the previous kayak was with 220 gr/m2. Though they were very similar in weight, the weave was very different.

The bow. Though the cloth isn't elastic at all, it is still possible to 'deform' the cloth in such a way as to make it conform to the bow and stern. It did take some help though...

Sabine - my wife - helping out with the application of the resin, a process which took much more time than calculated.

And that's the result. The slight gray tint is fron the residual air trapped in the fibres. The camera's flash does accentuate the problem.

And this is the 'help' I provided to make the cloth stay in place at the bow. I loosely wound a few layers of kitchen wrap around it, and used a wrench to provide for the force.

This is how a last minute repair to a strip looks like. Shows it's difficult to select same color wood!

At the bow and stern, I applied a second layer of cloth, as these are the spots most likely to receive abuse.

With the second layer impregnated.

A closeup, covering only a couple of cm, of the area covered with double cloth.

Same with flash. Don't subestimate applying epoxy. Impregnating the cloth completely requires a lot of work!

This is how the inside of the hull looks after applying (and hardening) of the epoxy.

A closeup of the strips shows where the epoxy penetrated through the holes of the stapled (dark spots) and the drops of glue (lighter spots).

At the stern, the plastic wrap wasn't enough to press the cloth to the hull. I'll fill it up later with a seringe.

Continues with aplication of epoxy to the deck.


(c) John Coppens ON6JC/LW3HAZ mail