Daggerboards, Glassing

First Layers of Glass on 1st Blank

Posted by Paul

I have a cursed resin barrel. I am convinced as much as any rational person can be that I have somehow upset the gods of resin as I don’t seem to be able to catch a break on this second drum of resin. If there is a way to spill some of it I will find it. I did not spill a single drop of resin from the first drum, but with this second one I am inventing new ways to waste resin in pools on the floor. I have been decanting from the second drum because of the crystallised hardened resin due to the hardener spill into the top of it. It seemed to be down the very last dregs and I was getting half an icecream container after a day of it dripping out. On Tuesday night I forgot to put the bung back in before I left (each night I bung the hole and remove the bung the next day to extract another half an icecream container) and could not go to work on the boat again until today. The icecream container was full, and there was a pool of resin on the floor. I have no idea how much, maybe 10 litres if I was lucky. James found the spill yesterday and put sawdust over the spill for me and bunged the hole back up. Of course just to rub salt in the wound because it has been a bit warmer, the resin thins and exits the drum faster!!! so more of it than had been coming out for the last 2 weeks seemed to come out. I will be glad when this haunted resin drum is empty.

So I started on the glassing of the first blank today. The plans say to cut the sheave slots before you glass but I don’t have them yet (so I don’t know the exact width of the slot) so I decided to cut them after the glass is on. I cant see how it would make any difference. I started by screwing in long (100mm) screws into the ends to act as axles the blank can rotate on. I will be glassing over the leading edge so the ability to roll the blank over whilst the glass on one side is still wet is important and you cant really lay wet glass down on a rigid surface so rotating on an axle suspended between 2 drums works well. Once the axle screws were in and it was on the 2 drums suspended, I started on backfilling any gaps, hole, cracks and of course the trough in the centre spine. I did both sides and let it tack off a little. I also resin coated the cedar blocks as this tends to soak in a bit, it gives the resin on the cloth something to adhere to.

Once it had tacked off enough I lay the glass over the blank (it was roughly pre cut to shape) and trimmed the overhangs where needed (the only edge the uni can go around is the leading edge) and smoothed and stretched the glass out over the blank leaving the glass for the other side overhanging the leading edge of the blank and just hanging down. The plans say to glass the uni one side at a time and overlap by 100mm over the leading edge to the other side, but I decided it would be easy enough to glass in one continuous sheet from one trailing edge, over the leading edge around to the trailing edge on the other side.

I made a basic mistake that may have made that decision a bigger mistake but I got away with it so in retrospect I am glad I glassed them this way. What happened is that once I had finished wetting out the first side I rotated the blank and started to smooth the glass down on the other side and as I did the wet glass started on the now under side started to peel itself off (gravity now the enemy) and once it gets a start it accelerates until gravity is satisfied. I managed to catch most of the now free wet glass before it hit the dust covered (not just dusty but 3mm deep dust!) floor and only about a foot of it hit the floor. So I turned the blank back over, reapplied the wet glass, smoothed out the air bubbles, removed as much of the dust and grit off the wet glass as I could and then clipped the wet glass to the blank (which is what I should have done as soon as I first finished the wet out on that side) and turned it over to wet the other side.

Once both sides were wet and I had used the detail roller to ensure it was well down with no air bubbles I had a break for lunch and let the first layer tack off a little. I am not sure yet if this was a good idea. On the positive it meant that once the next dry cloth was in place it was held in place by the tacked off resin below until I finished wetting it out, on the downside, it is much harder to get the cloth correctly into place as it sticks to the tacked off resin the moment it makes contact. If I applied the next glass layer straight away the resin below would be more slippery and the glass easier to move into place. Jury is still out. I didn’t have any problems but I will try it the other way on the other blank and decide.

Once the second layer of uni (also running down the dagger) was wet out and properly set down (air bubbles removed with detail roller) I let the blank drop on the axle so it set without any chance of sag in the middle of the board to one side or the other due to gravity. Then I had to go as I had to be somewhere else, so I did not get all 4 layers of glass down today. It took me 6 hours to get just the 2 layers down. So I plan a very early (6am) start tomorrow in order to get the last 2 layers on while the resin is still green (able to chemically bond).

I am glad to finally start getting glass on the blanks because without the glass on the blanks (the foam) is very fragile, every time I moved the blanks I put a dint in them. The next uni layer goes across the board (so I will have to butt join smaller pieces and they cannot go around the leading edge, then a final layer of double bias across the entire board and over and around all edges to seal it all in.

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