Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lower port hull half laminated

Started out this morning by pre-cutting my keel uni-directional laminate:

All the other kids - err, I mean F22 builders - seem to always use carbon uni instead of regular glass uni, for such applications. In my case, I bought a large roll of 4" glass uni (see picture above) directly from Ian, and feel duty-bound to use it before I spend more money on carbon. (In truth, I might be waiting awhile because I think there is enough on that roll for three or four F22's. Look for a sale, around this same time next year.)

After the uni was ready to go, I took a break for a few hours while the bog applied yesterday evening cured enough to be sandable (our overnight temperatures aren't so warm anymore). Then I rolled up a bunch of "B" glass on a cardboard tube and tried to lay it out on the foam. Unfortunately I was working by myself, which made things very frustrating:

It was difficult working with such a large piece of glass by myself; it doesn't want to "drag" over the foam, you have to lift up each part and re-position it by hand. Thankfully my wife returned from shopping before I got too frustrated, and helped me out for awhile. Things looked much better after that:

You can still see some wrinkles and burbles here and there, but it was a huge improvement and was definitely workable. However the crimps and wrinkles that I put into the glass caused extra work later on.

I had laminated my floats interiors and exteriors using nothing but a squeegee (and many cups of epoxy). With just a squeegee, you spend a lot of time bent over the mold, moving epoxy around trying to wet everything out. For the main hull, I decided to try using a foam roller for the initial saturation. I don't know if this technique is considered good or bad, but it was definitely a huge productivity win from my perspective! Using the roller, you can move the epoxy around very quickly and easily, and you can press the epoxy into the glass to assist with wet-out. The only downside that I can see, is that the laminate is definitely left in a "resin-rich" state. So I had to use a two step procedure: wet-out with the foam roller, then removal of the excess resin with the squeegee. This seemed to work well and I'm not worried about the quality of the laminate from a glass\resin ratio standpoint.

Here is the first section:

For some reason - neatness? - I decided to use the masking tape trick at the top of the gunwale foam.

Here's Mr. Boat Builder in action (note, you should wear a tyvek suit while laminating):

Removing excess resin with the squeegee:

After picking up the resin with the squeegee, I'd scrape it off into a cup:

After the initial big piece of glass was all done, I pieced together short sections of glass for the gunwale:

After that, the final task was the glass uni along the keel; I wet-out this piece in the garage, rolled it up, then just un-rolled it into position. This worked really well:

The finished product:

The gunwale section pieces look good too:

I did have a few bubbles that tried to form here and there, but it looks like I was able to catch them before the epoxy cured. The weather was quite warm today, so even with slow hardener the laminate was curing quickly. Overall the laminate looks really good - I am happy. And with the foam roller trick, all this work got done much more quickly and easily than I was expecting.

Tomorrow, or maybe tonight, I'll start mounting the battens for the cabin decks.


Hans van der Zijp said...

Hello Mr. Jay,

It all looks very beautiful and professional.

Congratulations on your nice work (those floats.......).

Cheers, Hans

(Menno's twin brother and soon to be boat building addict)

Jay said...


Thanks for your kind words. I'm not that great though -- you did see the blog entry where I mentioned that my floats are about 30 lbs overweight, right? Acceptable for an amateur I guess.

Also, be warned that the pictures on my blog sometimes look better than they do in reality. Maybe I should put up a warning notice on the blog:

"Pictures on this web site demonstrate competency and results that may not be visible in real life".



Lance said...

Hi Jay:

Nice documentation of the process. The pictures are great and have been helpful to clarify some questions. I have plans for the F-41/F-44SC and expect to start sometime this next summer if all goes well.
Keep up the great job,

Jay said...


Glad I could help. Good luck with your big boat project - someday I might tackle one of those myself.


Anonymous said...

Hey Jay,

My son and I have made the decision to build an F22. We will purchase plans and probably start sometime early this summer.

A question I have is can the main and float hulls be vacuum bagged/infused rather than rolled?

thank you,

Jay said...


Yes, the entire boat can be vacuum bagged or infused if you have the patience and skills. However, be aware Ian Farrier has been pretty clear that he doesn't think bagging or infusing the large hull sections is worth the time or work when doing a one-off build like this, unless you are extremely dedicated to having an ultimate quality boat.