Sunday, March 4, 2007

First float half laminated

I certainly wasn't expecting to be able to post this today.

After breakfast, I went out to the boat tent to check the putty work from the previous day. It didn't get cure much more in the overnight chill, but everything had stayed in place (no major putty "runs"). The propane bottle had gone empty on me, so I took it to get refilled. After getting back I hooked it up and lit it off. Wow -- it sure doesn't take that burner long to heat up that tent. Well, with that in mind, plus the decent performance from the heat lamps the night before, I decided to go ahead and laminate my first float half.

First I sanded down the float half (the putty was just cured enough to be sandable), then vacuumed and cleaned it all off. My wife and son helped me to roll out the initial layer of glass, and then I trimmed off the excess:

So far so good. Then I got to work on the laminating part:

It's tough to take many pictures when you're laminating by yourself. I tried to grab the camera whenever it was time for a glove change, but sometimes forgot. The whole process went pretty well IMO. My putty job from the night before left some bumpy spots down by the keel join - I did sand these down, but not quite enough in some spots. Those bumps turned out to be problematic for the glass -- something to keep in mind for future. I think my rough-n-ready job of joining the float half pieces to the keel foam also contributed to unnecessary work in this area.

After wetting out the initial layer, I then did the extra flange reinforcement. Scrap glass worked great for this. I am becoming a huge fan of wetting out glass on a piece of plastic on a smooth flat surface -- it is soooooooo much easier: it wets-out super easy and you can easily force out any excess resin. Then you just carry it out (roll it up if it's a long piece) to whereever it needs to go and lay it in place. I tried to leave the flange laminate a little on the long side and will trim it later after the floats are joined.

Next was the extra bulkhead reinforcements; here is a picture of the aft bulkhead one ready to be laminated.

And last but not least, the bow stringer. I already had all four bow stringers ready -- it was nice to be able to just pick one off the pile. This is the stringer bedded down in putty, but before the extra reinforcements were added:

I was on the home-stretch now, all that was left was wetting out the uni and BD reinforcements for the stringer and laying them in place:

(In the above picture you can tell that I did not use a continuous piece of BD glass for the stringer reinforcement. My use of glass has been somewhat excessive to date, and so I've been trying to economize where possible. So the stringer has two 50" pieces cut off the end of the roll, and a small joining piece in the middle.)

That finished it for the laminate work. I then trimmed off the excess glass at the keel join, turned on the propane burner to help jump start the cure, and walked around the float half checking it over for excess resin, bubbles in the cloth, etc. The cloth bends around the stringer were again troublesome and needed special attention. Between the heat lamps and the propane burner going full blast, the laminate was curing quite fast - the areas with a single layer of glass were already almost dry by 5pm.

I had been really frustrated not being able to make significant progress on the floats, so today's progress helped my morale a lot. Mother Nature was quite helpful (got up to 60deg F) but I am also glad that my $200 or so investment in the heat lamp fixture seems to be paying off. My neighbor's propane burner works awesome too.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing your building, I find it interesting to follow your progress, and I pick up a few tricks.
I think you will want to trim your deck flanges BEFORE joining the floats, though. I just joined my first float and it is not much room to work in for internal taping...

Tor, F22 #11 in Norway

Jay said...

You're quite welcome Tor. I am having fun posting pics of my progress.

I tangled a bit with some of the sharp flange edges tonight, and I think you are right: trimming them as soon as possible might be a good idea... :)