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Building a Sassafras 14 ft. stitched lapstrake canoe
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HOME 1. laying out
the planks
2. cutting
3. gluing
4. rabbeting
5. stitching
6. shaping
7. filleting
8. gluing
9. removing
10. filling
11. gluing
12. gluing
13. glassing
14. glassing inside 15. glassing
16. decks and
seat mounts
17. installing
18. epoxy
19. sanding 20. varnishing 21. finishing up 22. launching storage BILL OF
This canoe was built from plans in the book "The Canoe Shop"


August 6, 2007
Glassing the hull -- 0:45 hour


I spent quite a bit of time yesterday fussing around sanding the hull and removing excess epoxy from the seams inside and out.  Today I made a paper template of half of the length of the bottom planks to make it easier to cut out the fiberglass to fit the center planks.  I folded the glass over and cut 2 layers to the template so that it would open out symmetrically along the whole length of the canoe.

I applied tape to the bottom edge of the #2 plank to prevent epoxy from running down over the hull.  The cut piece of glass fits perfectly with an inch or so to spare on each side.  I also taped over the outwhale in case I drip epoxy as I work.  Applying the fiberglass was the only part of the project that made me really nervous when I first read through the book.  It turns out that it's not much different than painting and my worry that the glass would bunch up and become unmanageable were completely unfounded.
My friend John came by to help by mixing batches of epoxy as I spread it out.  I used a cut down disposable brush as suggested in the book and it worked very well.  I began in the center and poured on and spread the epoxy out to the sides and along the length.  John mixed a first batch of 8 ounces, then 2 more 8 oz batches as the spreading progressed.  We re-used the same mixing pot and I continued to spread the epoxy while he mixed.  It was easier than I had expected, but my surface is far from even.  The fiberglass is all soaked in fully though with no bubbles or excessively wet or dry spots.
After a few hours the epoxy was firm but not tacky and I used a utility knife to cut the fiberglass right at the edge of the #2 plank.  The knife followed the wood and penetrated slightly into it.  Then I was able to pull off the tape and extra fiberglass quite easily.  I trimmed around the stems with scissors to cut it back close to the curve.
I will sand the excess off when it hardens.  The first glimpse of a glossy finish!  Some sanding to go before I can apply the glass over the stems and a second coat over the center though.

Glassing the hull day 2 - glassing the stems, and a second coat of epoxy.

After the epoxy hardened it had bumps and hairs embedded in it and didn't look too good but it looked and felt smoother after I sanded it down with 220 grit on my orbital sander.  I attached my dust collector to the sander to keep dust down and so I didn't breathe glass dust.

I mixed an 8 ounce batch of epoxy and poured it into a small paint roller pan.  Using a 3" foam roller, I applied a thin coat of epoxy to the stem and then laid a strip of fiberglass over it.  This strip is bias cut - with the grain of the cloth at 45 degrees to the stem for strength, it is 4" wide and about 16" long.

After smoothing it into place with my fingers so it conformed to the hull I applied another coat of resin over the cloth.  This process was also much easier than I had anticipated, it surprises me how well the cloth will conform to complex shapes.

Then I proceeded to roll more epoxy on down the length of the hull.  Since the roller leaves small bubbles, I made a second pass with a brush to lightly brush out the bubbles.
The surface is now looking smoother and should only need one more coat, and maybe 2 more coats on the stems.

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