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  Filling & sandingback INDEX next Working with epoxy

10. Fiberglass cover

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After all filling and sanding is done, the surface should be vacuumed and lightly wiped off with a tack cloth. You will be surprised how much dust is still left. ( I was reminded that epoxy manufacturers recommend against using tack cloth for it might produce a bad reaction with epoxy).This has never been my experience. If you press fresh tack cloth into the surface so hard as to leave waxy streaks, then who knows? Older and dustier tack cloth will be perfectly OK. Using dusty cloth for varnishing is a different story.

The deck here is covered with 4oz. plain weave fiberglass that came from a 50" wide roll. Positioning the fabric efficiently is important in order to reclaim the largest possible leftovers for the inside deck as well as an abrasion patch for the hull bottom.

The issue of fiberglass contouring the stems is far less problematic in kayak construction than it is for canoe builders. I rarely need to cut the cloth at the ends to conform. This can be clearly seen in the photo of the bow. Sometimes it is necessary at the stern, but it mostly happens beyond the boundary of the rudder block.

Trim the glass with a margin of an inch or two and smooth out all ripples and wrinkles.
Getting out all wrinkles is a bit harder on the inside.

The important thing here is to prevent the epoxy from getting into the cove of the sheer strip. Cover it along the entire length with a 3/4" masking tape. It doesn't matter that part(~1/4" ) of the sheer strip on either side will stay unglassed. This will be addressed when the shells are bonded together.

Note the black 'drip skirt' to protect the already finished outside hull.
The inside deck is pasted from three leftover pieces of fabric, the compromise being money saved versus ease of work.

My rule of thumb about this is to always use one piece of fabric on the outside of the kayak and leftover pieces on the inside if necessary. The problem with using several pieces goes beyond the frustration over unraveling edges. The main issue is that you must overlap the sections (~2") without sanding them down. Nobody will see it on the inside of the kayak but it would look unacceptable on the outside.
Bias cut cloth provides further reinforcement to the keel line and the stems. Again, it is made of several segments.

Sanding through overlaps in this abrasion patch poses no threat to the integrity of the underlying main cloth cover. In fact, the overlaps on the abrasion patch are important because when they get sanded down the surface will be fair. Butting the fabric together edge to edge will force you to fill the groove between the sections later. It just adds more unnecessary work.

The stern keel of single kayaks can be protected with an additional layer of glass or 'abrasion resistant fabric' because it is subject to more abuse during launching.


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