Kayak Building Part 10 – Fiberglassing the Inside of the Hull

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This is part ten of a multipart blog . . . Read Part One here,  Part Two herePart Three herePart Four herePart Five herePart Six herePart Seven herePart Eight herePart Nine here.

I left off with fiberglass taping the inside of the deck and taping the deck back onto the hull so the deck would set up in the correct shape.  Now I have a few more steps on the deck, and then I move back to working on the hull.  As always, read below for details!


Day 43:  7/18/12  1.25  hours  

So what better birthday activity than to work on my kayak.  Actually, I only had to spend a short amount of time in the shop before moving on to dinner with my family!  I stopped at the lockmaster’s house after work to reinforce the rear of the cockpit and deck recess.  I cut two scrap fiberglass cloths and epoxied one over the back of the cockpit. Then I placed the second piece on top of the first and applied another layer of epoxy.   Next I rolled a saturation coat of epoxy over the entire inside deck and let it harden overnight.  When I met Mark and the kids at the restaurant, they all looked great.  I looked like I was just working on a boat in a house with no air conditioning, with epoxy on my arms as usual.  Oh well.

Day 44:  7/20/12  3.75  hours

I ran to Marietta after work again, but had a longer night this time.  First, I put the final layer of epoxy on the inside of the deck and then moved onto the inside of the hull.  Since the deck was sitting on the saw horses, I had to work with the hull on the floor.  This was not the most comfortable position.  It was a tight fit in between the wall and the deck, and I had to make sure I didn’t knock the deck over.  Working with three boats in progress makes moving around the lockmaster’s house exercise in itself!

First I removed the temporary frames from inside the hull.  If you recall, they were glued in place with hot glue.  To remove them, I heated up the hot glue with Dan’s soldering iron.  That didn’t get everything though.  To completely remove all traces of the glue, I had to use a cabinet scraper and sandpaper.  What a pain!  Since scraping and sanding are not my strengths, it took forever!

I also had too make sure all of the holes were filled.  I actually found many holes that were not filled from the drip through from earlier work on the outside of the hull. I mixed a small batch of epoxy and filled many of the drill holes.

I’ll keep you up to date with Gary’s and Dan’s boats too.  Gary has just fiberglassed the hull and is adding additional coats of epoxy.  Dan is wiring his hull together.


Day 45:  7/21/12  1.75  hours

I checked out the holes that I patched the previous night, and I still missed some.  After I filled more of the holes in the hull, I worked on strengthening the bow and stern stem seams.  I used a lot of wood flour to make a very thick batch of epoxy, the consistency of putty.  I used the wooden tongue depressor to fillet the seams.  I built up the ends to about 2 1/2″ thick, and then left the tongue depressor on top to help hold it in place.    I wanted to get a thick enough area filled so that I could drill through it for the end handles later.  Having this much epoxy at the ends produced a lot of heat.


Day 46:  7/22/12  1.5  hours

Today I checked the epoxy fillets on the bow and stern tips.  I filed them down with a round file to make sure the deck would later fit on top.  Next I  reinforced the bow butt seam with two layers of fiberglass cloth.  The first layer was 3″ wide, and I covered that with a layer that was 4″ wide.  Once I had the fiberglass in place, I saturated the inside of the hull with a layer of epoxy and let it harden overnight.

Day 47:  7/23/12  2.75  hours

The inside of the hull is finally ready to fiberglass!  We didn’t assemble the team this time, but I did recruit my husband Mark and daughter Arienne to help!   Dan was there, and Frank stopped in, too, and was happy to jump in and help the setup. We first layed down a strip of masking tape the entire length of the boat, 3/4″ above the upper chine. Then we layed a 9′ by 38″ fiberglass cloth from one end to the middle of the boat.  We taped one side to the tape line, smoothed out the cloth, and cut the other edge at the tape line on the other side.

Next we placed the triangle piece of cloth that we just trimmed off, on the other half of the boat, and pulled it’s narrow end to the stern end of the boat.  That left a gap in the middle.  I cut a small piece of left over cloth from glassing the outside of the boat.

Now it was time to mix the epoxy and roll it on the glass.  Arienne and Dan rolled, Mark followed up with the squeegee, and I mixed.

The tricky parts were 1) getting the middle section with all of the overlap to smooth out, and 2) getting the glass to lay nicely at the ends, where they were earlier filled with the thickened epoxy.

Before we could leave for the night, we had to wait until the epoxy set up and then cut the glass at the tape line.  We took a dinner break, and Mark and I stopped back two hours later.  We cut the fiberglass below the tape line and peeled up the tape.  This left an even edge to the glass.  Then we added one more coat of epoxy and left for the evening.

Next steps in Part 11 . . . Decking the Hull!  Christmas in July!


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