Starboard Hull, Taping hull joins and bulkheads, Wombat

First Internal Tapes

Posted by Paul

Have you ever done aerobics in a sauna? That is what it feels like taping a hull join up a ladder, overhead in an upturned hull. The hull traps the rising heat and acts like a sauna and it is very hot. Much hotter than the prevailing temperature outside. Yesterday was a warm day but I wouldn’t call it hot. It got to 29c. But inside the hull up the ladder it felt like double that. I may even have to resort to wearing a headband! Pat Cash and Mark Knoppfler have permanently scarred my impression of head bands but I may have to battle through that because the alternative is having sweat drip into my eyes which just adds to the difficulty of the job.

I also again misjudged how much the heat slows down some aspects of boatbuilding whilst ironically speeding others up causing the slower workrate. I intended to use the wombat to wet the tapes out and figured it would be much faster and I might get half the hull plank joins taped in one day. To recap, I am taping all of the hull plank tapes on the inside of the finished hull first then I will tape the bulkheads to the hull. I figured out that 10 turns of the wombat handle wets out 200mm of tape, which is fine for 2 of the 3 long sections (about half the hull) and it was my intention to get them done in one day. I loaded the tapes onto the wombat ready to start, and mixed up some filler to cove the joins with the intention of applying the tapes onto wet coving.

I also decided I would try using peel ply on the tape joins so that I would not have to sand them later. I didn’t bother on the first hull, and I don’t really need to bother on this one, because I don’t intend to fair the inside of the boat. I am going to try using laminex instead of bog, sanding and fairing and paint. The only reason I would sand the tapes is to remove the jagged edges that catch on clothing or worse skin until I apply the laminex nearer the end of the build. So before I started wetting out the tapes I cut 2000mm of peel ply off the roll and cut that piece into 200mm wide strips and rolled them up ready to apply. One point on cutting peel ply is that it is really easy to snag threads and cause bunches which must be removed before applying the ply as it must be smooth to apply it properly. They come out easily enough but are annoying all the same.

The last time I did this in winter it took all day for the coves to set hard but today it took minutes, about 30, rather than hours to set hard whilst I was cutting the peel ply!. I mixed up 10 pumps of resin which in retrospect was way too much. I poured it into the wombat and cranked through 10 turns wetting out the first 150mm tape, I then cut it and wound on another 10 turns of tape and could feel the tape getting hot already after only about 5 minutes so I decided to go and apply the tapes to the hull, which I did. I returned to the wombat and managed to wet out a third tape, which I also immediately applied to the hull. By the time I returned to the wombat the rest of the resin in the bag had started hardening and got so hot it melted the bag.

So as a result of the wombat fiasco I decided that I would revert to the manual wet out method. For those that don’t remember, the manual method of wetting out the tapes is simply to lay them out (I use an offcut of Duflex) and paint them with resin then roll them up and unroll them on the panel.

Once I had both tapes on a join I applied the peel ply. A tip here, once you have applied the peel ply and have it on pretty well, quit while you are ahead. Any attempt at a better job often results in making it worse. Especially if you have resin coated gloves which is almost always the case as you use your hands to smooth the glass down. The sticky gloves stick really well to the peel ply making it almost impossible to re apply peel ply once it has been applied. You lift it up unintentionally due to the sticky gloves and wish you hadn’t messed with it and infuriatingly you cant get any improvement on the last touch with each touch worse than the once before.

I was even wondering today if I would have been better off taping in the cooler weather last month and sanding in this heat. Can you believe it, contemplating sanding in the hotter weather as better than taping in it! So it tool me 6 hours today to do what I thought was 3 hours work. I intended to work 6 hours but I only got half as much done as I thought I would. And the heat meant I needed to work faster than I wanted to so I took quite a few rests to watch the test match cricket.

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