Building Logs

A Break from Gluing Panels

Posted by Paul

Today rather than gluing panels again I spent the day cutting hull panels out of the 3 layers of sheets attached to the strongback so as to free up some space in the warehouse. We have a small space to both build and run a small importing/wholesaling business from and the 3 double pallets of panels took up 6 pallet spaces that would otherwise be able to store stock. I am now down to 1 double pallet of panels left after I glue the last of the 25mm sheets (6 left standing against the wall). I can then start work on the last pallet. So in order to have things stacked against the wall in the order I will need them, I decided I would spend the day cutting out the full length hull panels. I had been cutting out the top sheet each day before gluing the next one (between 6-10 panels) leaving the first 2 layers I have glued left on the strongback as a table to work on. They are strong enough to walk over which is better than walking around the whole thing all day. But as I need to stack all the panels against the one wall and I am now on to the bulkheads it made no sense for them to be behind the as yet uncut hull panels that would be needed after the bulkheads. So nearly the whole day was spent cutting. It was a stinking hot humid day and I think this idea was a mistake. The heat caused lots of perspiring and the cutting caused lots of tiny airborne fibreglass splinters wanting to find the most irritating place to rest. My forearms. You know the tender, soft, sensitive underside of your arms, man did it itch!! And foolishly I scratched. Try to resist that. I think the idea of cutting a few panels and moving on to another job was a better idea. Less irritating anyway. When I got home I had a long shower and rubbed some vitamin e cream (moisturiser) in which gave some relief, but found that “stingoes” really worked. My scratching did cause a minor rash for the night but it went quickly. I may try to wear some kind of sleeve protector on hot days, as it is too hot to wear overalls even the thin white disposable type. I even considered “gladwrapping” my forearms next time but dismissed the idea as silly, but then the itching is annoying so I may yet try it! I promise to post a pic if I do.

They say problems come in 3’s, well I had 3 things go wrong today (besides the itching!) I found a z joint that hadn’t quite met so I have a gap the size of a match head down a 750mm section. It is the last part of the rounded window on bulkhead 6 that holds the cabin top and forms the wall between cockpit and saloon. I don’t think it is a big problem and will worry about it when I come to that part of the build but I think injecting some resin into the joint until it is full and maybe glassing the section will be more than adequate. It feels like it is still a good bond but must be compromised by the balsa not being bonded.

When I was cutting the hull panels out I didn’t have quite enough clearance between the sheet I was cutting and the one beneath (I have been chocking up the sheet I am cutting with lengths of 75mmx50mm or as we used to call them 4 by 2) but I mistakenly had it laying on its thin profile and I cut a 2″ gash into the sheet below, it can easily be filled and taped over but my carelessness just added another job to do later. The lesson is be careful, don’t rush, don’t be lazy, check and double check – its faster.

Finally the other problem I had was a small 250mm section on one of the very bottom panels broke today as I was manhandling it against the wall. I can only assume that after being cut out of the sheet, a section as small as this didn’t on its own have the strength to support the load I must have put it under because other panels in the same joint (glued strip) are very strong so it couldn’t have been a bad joint, although the panel was near the edge of the sheet so I may have been running low on glue and skimped although I don’t recall that happening. The lesson here is make sure all joints are butted up well and well glued.

I removed as much of the dry glue as I could and re glued it with lashings of glue. As this is part of the under hull it will also receive a layer of glass anyway so again I am not concerned.

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