Sunday, May 6, 2007

Both floats (nearly) laminated

Saturday morning I got up early, determined to laminate a float side so I could test the temperature theory with respect to laminate bubbles. I had the port float ready to go from the night before, so I started with the glass:

I then wet-out the cloth as fast as I could, wanting to beat the heat in case it turned out to be a warm day ("warm" is relative of course - I'd probably melt in Texas or other warmer climes :).

I baby-sat the new laminate the rest of the morning. A few bubbles tried to popup (but nothing like the disaster from last weekend) and were quickly removed. My wife also helped me a bit, watching it for me while I was working on other stuff. Long story short, this time I only got one bubble in the laminate, and that appeared to be caused by poor pre-fairing of the foam in that area. I am so glad things turned out this time:

The secret of success seems to be: 1) try to laminate in a stable temperature; and 2) don't walk away from the laminate until you're sure it's well into the curing stage, and keep checking for bubbles until you get to that point. I suspect that's what I did wrong last weekend (walked away too fast); plus it was much warmer last weekend, so I probably wouldn't have had much time to work the bubbles out.

In addition I glued in the beam locating dowels on both floats, and laminated the starboard float deck. First, my marine plywood inserts got a final thick coating of epoxy:

Then I glued in the dowels, and laid down the extra deck reinforcements:

(Late-breaking tip: the plans would seem to suggest that you can drill the holes for the locating dowels as soon as you have the fwd and aft beam bulkheads laminated and cut out. I would advise against this, just in case you get some minor movement of the bulkheads while joining the floats, e.g. from trimming. Instead, my approach was to not drill the holes for the locating dowels until I had the float halves joined. Then I located the dowel holes by stretching a string from the tip of the bow to the middle of the transom. It would be tragic to end up with a boat whose floats had excessive toe-in or toe-out.)

Here's a view of the extra deck glass after wet-out:

Then I laid out the deck glass:

And trimmed it up:

(Not sure who that guy is in the above pic, but it's not me - I know I don't have a bald spot, let alone one as big as that one).

After that, wet-out was pretty simple. I don't seem to have a good post-wet-out picture other than this one, taken from afar:

I would advise laying down the extra deck reinforcements last instead of first -- although I made it work, it would have been easier that way.

The only other thing I'm working on at the moment is the final lamination for my bow web. I've been lax on getting these small projects done -- gotta stop that. Here's the bow web as of Saturday evening:

This morning (Sunday) my son helped me swap the floats. Then I laminated the deck of the port float, and also laminated the last side of the starboard float. I don't want to go into excessive detail, since it's the same procedure for both floats. Here's the port float after deck lamination:

And a view of the starboard float's (so far) bubble-free side-laminate:

That's my nephew Daniel who's all fuzzy in the background. He was out there watching today's progress, and even cut some glass for me.

All that is left to do on the floats for exterior lamination is the transoms, which I plan on doing tomorrow night. I supposed I could have done these as part of the deck laminate, but for some reason I did not. Not a big deal though -- I am feeling pretty good about the progress I made this weekend.


Edward said...

Very glad to see the bubble-problem doesn't seem to be one anymore!

Jay said...


I was still getting bubbles, but they seem to not be a problem as long as you see them before they cure. A bummer that things need baby-sitting, but that's way easier than sanding and patching! :)