1st time builder with progress pics and questions

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by Phrancis, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. Phrancis

    Phrancis Paddler

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    Hi folks, I'm building my first kit kayak - an Arctic Tern 17 in my cold garage in Portland Or.

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    So far my first mistake was to bevel the wrong edge on the hull side panels. In addition to the shear edge I did the edge touching the bottom hull panels as well :cry:

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    It didn't occur that it would matter much until I put in the temporary frames and the bottom panels forming the keel line were pushed apart slightly

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    This allowed a large glob of epoxy to seep through the 1/8" gap and onto the 2x4 that the keel was mounted on. The 2x4 was covered in wax paper, but the glob cured onto the bottom of the hull. I've tried to slice, grind and sand it down as smooth as possible, but it's slightly rough to the touch.

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    Also some of the thickened epoxy used on the outside chines, bow, and stern edges aren't absolutely super smooth and I've dented some of the panels accidentally. I'm about to apply my saturation coat and I'm assuming that coat, along with the fiber glass cloth and cloth tape will be enough to smooth things out. Is that accurate?

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    I also understand that you only have 72 hours between the saturation coat and the fiberglass coating - It's 40-50 degrees F and it takes 2-3 days before the last batches of epoxy is cured. I'm thinking I have 4-6 days to apply that fiberglass coat after my saturation coat today. Does that sound reasonable? Thanks for any advice and tips!
     
  2. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Two suggestions:

    1. Get a carbide bladed cabinet scraper from the hardware store (Wink's will have it for sure) to reduce those epoxy blobs; run a Stanley sureform tool over the big blobs first.

    2. Get some heat in the place where you are working with resin, and raise the temp to at least 60 F -- 65 F is better for application and especially wetting out glass -- the resin will be unworkably thick to do glass at 40-50 F. You will ruin the boat if you do not get some heat on it during those stages. Allow the room to cool from its high of 65 F, as you glass or saturate the wood, so you do not get outgassing.

    Discuss these thngs with David at Pygmy for confirmation.
     
  3. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Too bad about beveling the wrong edge of your panels but it's not a huge problem. As with most things boat building, there's always a solution.

    The gap that you have between your panels should be fine after you apply some thickened epoxy to it -- make sure that your thickened epoxy is convexed on the joint as you'll have to sand it flush afterward (you don't want it concaved, or there will be low spots and you'll end up having to add more filler later).

    You might also want to apply removable green masking tape to each side of the joint before filling with thickened epoxy -- this will keep any mess from slop-over of the thickened epoxy to a minimum (slopping thickened epoxy on the bare wood will create blotches that will show up later).

    Not too much you can do about the dings that you've got in your panels -- basically you'll need to learn to live with them. You can try putting a hot, damp (not soaking wet) cloth over the area to "swell" the wood a bit if they're not too deep, and then sand lightly afterward. They will fill in with epoxy but not so much with your saturation coat, they'll fill in more once you do the glassing. By the time you've done your fill coats, the surface will be flush. Again, don't worry too much about it -- its on the hull and it won't show much (you're the only one that will notice it when the boat is finished). Now that you've learned that lesson, you'll know to be a lot more careful with the deck panels as those won't be so easy to hide. :wink:

    You should pick up a carbide cabinet scraper (a rectangular piece of flat metal) -- this is the best tool for getting rid of globs and runs of epoxy that aren't fully cured (sandpaper tends to clog and just push the epoxy around). A cabinet scraper is not expensive and you can probably pick one up at your local tool store (or maybe at Home Depot). Another handy tool to have is a small sureform -- it looks like a cheese grater and works exceptionally well for taking down high spots of epoxy -- even after it's fully cured.

    What kind of hardener are you using? I suspect that if it's taking a few days for the epoxy to cure to the touch, that you're going to be OK going beyond the 72 hour limit -- 72 hours is the time that the epoxy takes to fully set in normal temperatures (this will be different depending upon whether or not you're using a fast hardener -- which it sounds like you're not). If you can increase the heat in your garage, that would be best and will shorten the cure time considerably. Optimally, you want it around 70 degrees, but ten degrees warmer than you've got will make a big difference.

    Although I'd say your safe going beyond the 72 hours because the epoxy is not fully cured, I'd do the next coats shortly after your previous coat is able to be sanded.

    *****
     
  4. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I echo Dave's advice (once again :lol: ) -- especially about getting some heat in your garage -- and about checking with Kelly at Pygmy (Dave's not there anymore).

    *****
     
  5. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Dan's reply and mine crossed.

    His reminds me about hardener: at those temps you are likely to get amine blush if you are using the System Three General Purpose resin (instead of the Silvertip -- more expensive and not usually shipped unless you ask for it). If you are towards the end of the window of time, and the epoxy is hard and not tacky, scrub the surface with soapy water and a 3M pad (green, also at the hardware store). If there is too much amine blush on the surface, it will inhibit bonding of the next layer.

    Read the sections in the S3 Epoxy Book (shipped with your order?) on amine blush and scraping. Good stuff in there.
     
  6. Phrancis

    Phrancis Paddler

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    Thanks for the tips. Yes a cabinet scraper sounds good, as well as the sureform thingie. Well I just put on my saturation coat around lunch today since that's when the garage gets the warmest (47F) and then drops.

    Unfortunately I can't really raise the garage temp due to the fact that the forced air gas furnace lives there too. There is a vent near the top of the garage letting in fresh cold outside air for the furnace. Heat from a space heater would pretty much bleed out very fast, along with electricity going out the window. Can I just aim a few halogen lamps at the boat? It's been curing just fine as long as I can tell - just really slow. It won't be tack free for at least 2 days. Yes, Im using the standard sys 3 hardener.
    I haven't noticed this amine blush before. Is it just a waxy feel? Can I just wipe it off with acetone, windex, or alcohol?

    I bought the kit used on craigslist from a girl who glued the panels (butt joints) together and then stopped due to an injury. It's been siting in a garage for 2-3 years. There was mold and water discoloration on some panels, which I sanded, and the epoxy pumps had crystallized gunk clogging the ball valves. As I put on the saturation coat today I noticed that the panel joints that were done years ago are a much lighter color, since the exposed parts of the panels have aged and darkened. Crap. Well I guess I will be painting the hull or all the boat white...
     
  7. Tootsall

    Tootsall Paddler

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    If any of the panels are really badly damaged you can likely get replacements from Pygmy.

    If nothing else, can you put an electric radiant heater in and aim it at the hull? At least that'll warm up the panels rather than the air in the garage. You could also try "draping" your actual workspace with some tarps suspended from the ceiling: there are some posts in this forum showing how people have done that.
     
  8. barman

    barman Paddler

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    Hello Phrancis, you’ve come to the right place for advice. Not too long ago I finished a 14ft tern and found WCP to be immensely helpful, as was Jim at Pygmy. I have only one boat under my belt, so you should consider my advice with that in mind.

    Like you, I started my build in cold conditions and, at first, worried endlessly about my epoxy curing properly (I had a mix of fast and medium hardener at my disposal). While it is critical to pay attention to the curing times, there are other issues too. In retrospect I overlooked an important factor -- viscosity. When at the cold end of the working temperature range the epoxy will be noticeably more viscous than say at 70F, and thus more prone to trapping air. High viscosity is no problem for gluing seams and making filets, but causes trouble when wetting out the fiberglass (I think). In the end, I felt the biggest issue with my build was trapped air during the major glassing steps (hull and hull interior), and I suspect that the colder temps and higher viscosity was part of the problem. So, when you get to the major fiber glassing steps, I recommend heating your garage as best (and safely) as you can.

    My hull has several blister-like spots under the glass that are like pimples on prom night. It was glassed in cold conditions. My deck looks great -- done in warm conditions. Could be that I was more “experienced” by the time I got to the deck, but ....

    My last bit of advice concerns lighting. I see that you are building your boat on one side of your garage and I guess that the light is therefore behind you some/most of the time. I was in a similar situation in my garage. In my case, I missed several blemishes that could have been fixed in real time, if only I had seen them. My lighting stunk. I realized this by the time I was ready for the final finish and, lucky me, found a a stand-up work light at a yard sale just a few houses. I wish I had paid more attention to my lighting earlier on ... sounds obvious now.

    Have fun!
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Phrancis,

    Barman struggled with low temps in his build, across the river in Vancouver (WA, not BC), and we all sympathized with him.

    Below is one solution to your temperature control problem. And, no, heat lamps will not be enough. You have to get the wood warm enough so when you lay epoxy on it, the resin will flow. Barman's comments about high viscosity as a deal breaker are spot on.

    1. Get your stuff ready for a wet-out of glass ... fully ready. Meaning: glass is cut and laid on the boat; resin and hardener are incubated in a heated enclosure (think held in cardboard box with a 60 W light bulb inside it -- overnight before you get ready to do the glass).

    2. Ramp up the thermostat inside your house/apt/condo/whatever so it gets really warm, enough to keep the inhabitants happy while you do the glass work. You can run a space heater while you are prepping for the epoxy job and running the furnace to over-heat the house .. it will help some, even when the cold air vent is open.

    3. Shut the furnace down, totally.

    4. Temporarily cover that cold air supply so no leakage occurs.

    5. Use a space heater to raise the temp inside the garage to about 70F, and hold it there for about half an hour.

    6. Turn off the space heater so the garage begins to cool down slowly.

    7. Do the glass/epoxy work.

    8. Uncover the cold air supply opening and resume normal operation of the furnace. The garage will cool down, gradually, as the cool air infiltrates. This will not hurt anything.

    Another, alternate, solution is to scab in some temporary ductwork that isolates the cold air vent flow and directs it to the feed for the furnace. That's what I would do.

    You really can not do glass work with resin when it is cold. Been there, tried to do that. I had a massive clustermess. It was awful, awful, awful.
     
  10. Phrancis

    Phrancis Paddler

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    Ok - since there's a consensus that I've gotten away with epoxy in a cold garage so far, but that I'll royally screw up the fiberglass - then I guess I'll cover the garage vent and use a space heater. Might throw in a hair dryer if the space heater doesn't warm the garage enough. If I still can't get it to 70F can I pre-heat each panel section with a hair dryer right before I roll and squeegee it? The idea is to get the wood warm and the epoxy liquid enough to initially get the bubbles out, right?

    I've also been using a sink full of scalding hot water to get the epoxy jugs warm and runny. I usually end up bringing my mixture back out to the cold garage. Guess I'll have to pay attention to that too.

    Since that saturation coat is still very cold and tacky, I think I have until Sunday or Monday to put on the glass. How do you tell if it's too late anyways? I'll let you all know how it goes. Thanks again.
     
  11. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Phrancis wrote: If I still can't get it to 70F can I pre-heat each panel section with a hair dryer right before I roll and squeegee it? The idea is to get the wood warm and the epoxy liquid enough to initially get the bubbles out, right?

    Might be OK, although you'd have to work very quickly.

    I've done the epoxy jugs in hot water dance a few times. If you just store the resin jugs under a cardboard box that has a 60 W incandescent bulb lit inside it, 24-7, the resin will be nicely warm. Tip the box up on end, do your resin measurement, restore the box, and all is wunnerful, wunnerful.

    Keep us posted. I think you'll have a great time, and end up with a very good looking boat.
     
  12. Phrancis

    Phrancis Paddler

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    Well my wood color came out really uneven. I hoped it wouldn't be that bad, but I guess this used kit sat around way too long before I got my hands on it.
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    I put epoxied my first layer of fiber glass yesterday. The saturation coat was put on last wed, but due to the cold garage I reasoned that I had much more time for the fiberglass. I first got a cabinet scrapper and went to town on the uneven globs. I didn't feel a waxy coating, but I lightly sanded the surface anyways.
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    So I was able to get the garage temp as high as 67F by first heating the house, then shutting off the gas furnace, plugging up the garage vent for outside air, cranking up a ceramic space heater, and leaving the house door leading to the garage open.
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    I can see where warmer epoxy would be easier to saturate and squeegee, but it turned out fine with some elbow grease and lots of patience.
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    So I didn't cut the bow flap correctly and there is this large matted blob at the top and a rough edge flap that overlaps too far for the fiberglass tape to cover. Can I just sand that part down before the next epoxy layer?
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  13. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    That's looking good. That bow part will sand out and blend in once you get some saturation coats on it.

    On the scraper: they are usually pulled across the work to avoid gouging, held vertical or slightly toward the worker. The idea is to use the leading edge to just take off a slight shaving.

    This is one way to do it: http://woodgears.ca/scraper/index.html

    I've never had much luck burnishing, so I just pass a flat file along the edge, held perpendicular to the edge, with light pressure until the file evenly kisses the edge. This gives a burr on one side, which you can feel if you drag a thumb across it. the burr does the work. You need to redress the edge when the burr is no longer evident.

    If you don't want to mess with all the flat file stuff, get a carbide bladed scraper, which will last a long time on epoxy. I don't think the scraper in the photo was that type.
     
  14. Phrancis

    Phrancis Paddler

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    Well Lowe's, Home Depot, and Harbor Freight didn't have a cabinet scraper but they suggested Wink's too. Well I'm on a budget and the tools I have are doing the job so far.

    So the mini sureform, file/rasp, and putty scraper worked well for smoothing out the bubbles and flap overlap.
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    Unfortunately there were a few short air pockets under the cloth along the chines - maybe 5, 1" long ones spread out over the whole boat. I'm gonna assume the overall structural integrity is still fine.
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    The final 2 epoxy fill coats went well enough, but that keel tape was tricky to layup straight. The cloth pattern still shows through in places, but sanding and final painting should smooth that out.
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    It's looking like I'm gonna have to paint the whole boat, due to the serious mismatch in wood color. Perhaps buying a used kit that was started years ago wasn't the ideal situation. I've heard Interlux paint is the best and you just roll it on like varnish? I guess an all white boat with a thin black stripe along the shear line will look nice.

    So comparing the hull efficiency and stability charts of the AT17 to the Chatham17 is how I figured I would like this kit, but I've still never actually paddled an Arctic Tern and this was a big leap of faith. I've heard good reviews about it not needing a skeg (despite being much higher volume and windage than the chatham), but I guess now is the best time to try to fab up a skeg box before building the deck. Any plans or suggestions on that? Can the skeg be placed further aft for more bulkhead storage or will that mess up the balance / fulcrum point? Thanks.
     
  15. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Phrancis, your boat is looking good.

    For those little trapped air bubbles, you can take a small drill bit of 1/16" or less (a hobby drill works great -- looks like an Exacto knife but holds a small bit) and make a hole at either end of the bubble. Use a syringe with epoxy and squirt epoxy into one end until it comes out the other. Put a piece of masking tape over the filled holes to stop the epoxy from leaking out until the epoxy cures. Although the bubbles in your photos don't look too big, and you'll probably be fine leaving them it would probably be best to fix them now as it's quite easy. If you don't deal with these bubbles, you may find that it could cause problems later on as it could crush and break open if the boat is banged directly on one of them.

    *****
     
  16. Phrancis

    Phrancis Paddler

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    Good point. I figured after sanding and painting you won't see the bubbles, but I hadn't thought about a direct impact to that spot and crushing it. I'll have to break out the dremel tool and epoxy syringe. thanks Dan.
     
  17. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Be really, really careful with that Dremel tool -- it's really easy to go right through the panel when drilling these small holes with a power tool (don't ask how I know :oops: ). A hobby drill works well but if you've got a small hand drill that would work too.
     
  18. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Looking real good. You obviously have a feel for this. On painting: Any two-part marine paint will do the job pretty well. Many of the folks who have documented their builds here have used the clear two-part LPU water reducible system from System Three. Being water-reduced, you don't have the odor and breathing hazard of the solvent-reduced paints.

    I've used the same stuff in pigmented versions on my power boat, and once you get the technique down, it goes on pretty fast. Being a two-part LPU, it forms a very durable finish.

    Kinda similar to the one-part water-based polyurethanes from Minwax, etc., but on steroids. The second part cross-links the urethane groups and makes it rock hard.

    A quart should do your entire boat. It is expensive, but worth it.
     
  19. Rrdstarr

    Rrdstarr Paddler

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    Dave and Dan are the "fountains" of Knowledge!

    Dave or Dan? What sprayer do you use to spray the LPU? Last time I did spraying paint was painting cars in the US Army hobby shops.....25 years ago. I already have a good compressor, but will need to make a paint booth inside the garage.
     
  20. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Oh boy.

    *****