"Not all those who wander are lost."

J R R Tolkien

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15 May 2013

Building the Boat: Fibreglassing options

I am coming to the stage where fibreglassing the hull is the next step. I have a 100 metre roll of 200g per square metre cloth and 30kg of epoxy (expensive!!)

So my options are:

3 narrow sections, lengthways, with the joints running along the fillets
1 metre wide sections across the sides
3 or 4 lengths of cloth across the sides
or go the whole hog and do each side on one length of cloth

I intend to use so called peel ply fabric. The theory is that less resin should be necessary and the surface finish is much, much better, requiring no cleaning of amines, and little or no sanding. That would be bliss, because I seem to have a bit of an allergy to polyester dust and I worry that this could translate to an allergy to epoxy dust too. Also the surface is supposed to be much better for subsequent application of coatings, ie paint.

If I do the whole sides in one go, that would need mixing a lot of epoxy at one sitting but would have no joints and hopefully no sanding.

Decision, decisions...what's the simplest and quickest!

I think I'll wait until I have the peel ply fabric before I make a decision. I have not used peel ply before, and for all I know it may not follow the profile so easily, in which case I will have to do this in sections.

There is a strip of the cloth across the side. It follows the profile quite easily with those fillets.
36ft of it!
As an asides, I bought a lovely pair of taylor's shears from an antique place. Much cheaper than buying a new one. Besides I love old tools anyway, they are most often superior quality and all that was required for those shears was to sharpen them, which took just about 5 minutes. As a bonus, they were made when the Brits still knew how to make stuff in their own country.


  1. I don't know much about epoxy and such, but those look to be great shears!

    1. They are Gorges. I am silly pleased with them!

  2. I've not experience with peel ply, so I can't help you there. I do worry about wetting out really large expanses of fiberglass. A wrinkle or pucker seems to only get bigger and all the while the clock is running on your epoxy.

    Of course, I'm going to use whatever cloth is left over from other projects.

    Dad has a pair of shears just like that, and he's not letting them go.

    1. Oh, and I am with your dad on the not letting them go! They're too good to let them go...

  3. Yes, that's my worry about attempting such a large area. I was playing with a strip of cloth this afternoon and there is another posibility, to do it in two long strips, joining at the bottom knuckle. But again I am going to wait until I get the peel ply. May be the peel ply will permit to make one metre strips running across the sides, with good joints. Hopefully!

  4. Can´t help you much on that ply and epoxy either, but I love those shears, too!

    Was lucky, though; at the office we had one my colleague threw away and was very amused I dug it out of the bin again, but I did not care, for you cannot get this quality anymore!

    I´d try to epoxy smaller areas, too, ... I guess....

    Take care and all the best with the boat!


    1. People are too wastful. I would have done just the same and save it from the landfill.

  5. Hi Joel. I see you've been very busy. You must be starting to feel like Noah by now. To build such a craft is quite an undertaking, one which must be somewhat daunting at times, but one which I know you will complete.
    I'm glad to see things progressing and I hope you're feeling much better and all is well with the family.

    1. Thank you Oldbushrat. Noah's ark? Sounds good to me! Not doubt it will accumulate a few spiders and things...

      I treat the build like a part time job. When I leave it I think of something else, just like a job. Otherwise, a project like that can overwhelm and stress you.

      I am indeed feeling much better. My confidence has returned, and althoug I have to learn to live with angina, I am feeling fitter than before the heart attack.