Best Tips

The following are almost mandatory! Well, #1 and #2 are definitely mandatory!!

Inside taping is easy with a sling!

1. As soon as you get the hull glued, rig up a sling. Early on this will allow you to get either the deck or hull up off the strongback so you can work on the other. Later, you can get rid of the strongback and easily roll the boat into the best position for whatever task you are doing next. The sling is just two lengths of cheap cotton rope through a hook in the rafters. Make a loop in one end and adjust the height with a simple half-hitch, so you can change it with one hand while you support the boat.

Bahco Scraper–this is the single best tool, ever.

2. Buy a Bahco scraper. Buy three of them. This handy device can remove a cured drip in 5 seconds and is invaluable in smoothing the rough edge on tape and cloth. When you get ready to varnish, you can scrape the entire surface to get rid of irregularities, then quickly sand out any remaining imperfections. However, if you want to prevent scratches and even damage to the underlying cloth when you’re smoothing the inside seams, you must remove the corners of the blade–use a grinder to create a small radius at the ends of the blade, maybe 0.03″ radius.

3. Buy extra glass cloth (6 or 7 yards) and an extra quart of resin. Cloth is cheap. If you screw up cutting the pieces, it’s the best insurance if you’re on a timeline. You can have a Pygmy in the water in 22 days, but even if you’re on a relatively relaxed 6-week schedule, having the extra on hand will save you a week.

Get Plenty of These Before You Sta

4. Make sure you buy enough 1/8″ nap rollers. These are devilishly hard to find, unless you have a West Marine store next door. You’ll need 1/2 roll for every resin layer (saturation coat, glass layer, and fill coat) and some spares if you start to get the “milky” appearance as you work. That computes out to 6+ packs. If I thought I needed 6, I’d get 8. You can salvage a roller when it gets milky by wrapping the wet roller with plastic, like Saran Wrap, and then squeezing the resin out of it like milking a cow. Not the best move, but works if you’re running out of rollers.

5. I like the medium hardner because I can usually get two steps done in each 24 hours. This year, however, the shop spring temperature was about 5 degrees cooler (around 63 F) than the summer two years ago and cure time was just a bit too long to do one application of resin in the morning and another in the evening. Use a ceramic heater to speed things up. You’ll have reasonably long pot life with the medium, but you can then get it cured in 6-8 hours. You need to be careful not to overheat small parts or the parts nearest the heater, or you’ll get bubbles and sags, but when a ceramic heater is applied thoughtfully (think tent made out of thin plastic drop cloth), you can really speed up production.