Timeline so far–4 days to glue the panels to length. 3 days to wire the hull together and insert the forms.
Did I mention that the strongback is only 2′ wide? Three feet would have been better, but only because it would have cut the panel gluing down to 2 days. After that, the 2′ width is fine.
Tip 6: Before you start using the resin, get yourself a Bahco scraper. These tools can take every drip and sag down to flush (or down to wood, so use some caution). The blade is carbide, so it remains sharp, like, forever. And it’s reversible. For $15, this is the best tool in the whole shop, considering the time it saves, maybe it even makes some smoothing tasks possible. Don’t even think of buying a spare blade–at $12 for a blade and $15 for the tool, get two of them. I also recommend the small scraper with the triangular blade–it can safely scrape areas that are too narrow for the 2″ model.
Here in Colorado, even in the summer, the shop rarely gets above 76 degrees and is more often in the mid-60s. The shop floor can be a little below 60. In these conditions the medium speed hardener begins to gel the resin in 18-20 minutes. For some applications it is OK to use up to 30 minutes, but if you need to flow resin (as a glue) into a seam, I’d plan on 15 minutes. Setting the bottles of resin on the cool floor was just cool enough to cause crystallization. The small difference in temperature obtained by setting them up on a table prevented this. But even then the hardener was almost too viscous to pump. Putting the resin under a box with a 17 watt light cured that problem.
Pay attention the the warnings in the epoxy book. Even a very small amount of epoxy can get hot during curing. This cup had less than one ounce left over and was set aside. Within 10 minutes the heat almost melted the cup through, causing the cup to deform and lean over.
As you get ready to glue the hull together, you might want some additional materials. The small curved-tip syringes are great for applying the thin resin, even with some wood powder mixed in. But it’s damnably difficult to fill them with the thickened resin. I recommend buying 20 additional small syringes and 5-10 larger ones, about 60cc. Use the small syringes for gluing and the larger ones for filling the joints, especially the exterior bow and stern where you need to round the seam. One of the real advantages of the larger syringe is that you can pour a whole 1-1/2 oz mix in them at one time. So, for two kits, get the following (approximately) and adjust appropriately for one kit:
cups – 150
gloves — 150 pair
popsicle sticks — 100 wide, 50 narrow
paper towels, blue industrial shop – 5 rolls
6 oz glass tape — one extra 7.5 yard roll
cab-o-sil — one gallon (works like wood dust, but smoother)
wood flour — one extra bag
syringes — 20 additional curved-tip, small
— 5-10 each, approximately 60cc, large
You’ll find that you throw almost everything away after one use, for two reasons. First, the acetone costs more than the article you’re cleaning. Second, you should avoid skin contact with acetone as much as practical. So you’re going to go through a lot of gloves and cups.
If you tape all the deck seams behind the coming, particularly the ones that are also covered with 4″ strips of cloth, you’ll run out of tape. Also, if you have the hatch kit, you may need additional tape.
The cab-o-sil works like the wood flour, but provides a smoother finished surface in the fill areas. Mix it 1:3, cab-o-sil to wood flour, in your thickened resin.
What is happening when it is done wrong is you are putting the point of the red triangle on the stern and then cutting accordingly–the corner of the cloth and the point of the red triangle coincide. To do it right you should put the wide end of the cloth at the middle of the coming and trim–then you get a pattern as shown in the top box and the remaining triangle of cloth will be wide enough to cover the bow end. This is not clear in the kit instructions. John Lockwood is aware of this and is editing the instructions, but just make sure you do this correctly, whether or not you’ve got a new edition of the instructions.
The cloth is not very expensive. If you want to entirely avoid a cloth joint/overlap in the area of the coming, just buy 6 yards of extra cloth and do the deck in one piece.