Coho Build - Vancouver, Washington (Portland, Oregon)

Discussion in 'Boat and Accessory Building' started by photoshawn, Apr 2, 2009.

  1. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    Even though Dan Millsip has already posted a great deal of photos and descriptions along his way of building a Coho, I figured I'd put my info on here as well. And I'm sure I'll have oodles of questions to post - or maybe not - maybe it'll be easy.

    IF YOU HAVE A COHO or have oodles of time to share emails and tips, etc. please do email me - I'd love to have somebody I could chat with and not feel like I'm a burden on - with all my questions and comments and photos :) I'll still post to here, but it'd be fun to meet up with somebody online or in person - either way - to have as a boat building chat partner so-to-speak.

    I was quite nervous at first. Then my wife bought a boat from a builder in the Seattle area. I asked the owner if he had any tips for a newbie boat builder and he said "Here, put this on" and handed me an apron-like critter and some gloves. We grabbed some glass cloth, he mixed what he used for epoxy, and we did the underside of a hatch cover. Wow - that wasn't bad - I think this is doable :)

    I've only rented kayaks for a year or so... paddled a bit here or there and decided to purchase a kayak. Then I decided to build one due to cost - plus it would be a fun experience that I've never had before - and if (or maybe it is - when ) I put a hole in this thing, I'll be able to take care of it myself quite easily. I'm not much of a big designer or builder - the most I've worked with wood is when I built our fence for our hours 10 years ago - but I have a few brain cells left and figured I'd give it a whirl. :)

    Did a bit of research, and decided I should buy from Pgymy as they were only a 5 hr drive away. Tested out boats. When I went up there, the Coho wasn't on my list because of my height and I felt it may be more for the advanced paddler. After trying out several kayaks, I quickly put the Coho at the top of my list. It went just about as straight and quick as the others, but it seemed to turn easier and seemed a bit more playful or fun? So The Coho is what I'm building and hopefully will be paddling for some time.
     
  2. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    resin half full??

    Just got my box open that had the resin (2 bottles) and hardener (one bottle) (system III product). One bottle of resin is only half full, the cover under the lid is somewhat sticky to the touch, but there's no spill anywhere.

    I'm assuming some sort of evaporation occurred due to a seal that wasn't completely sealed? I'm assuming also that this would have an effect on the contents of the bottle regarding the ratio of resin product to hardener - meaning that the resin product isn't exactly the product that it was meant to be due to evaporation now?

    Emailed Pygmy and System III to see what they say.
     
  3. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Re: resin half full??

    Not evaporation. Has to be a spill. But no mess?

    The resin and hardener combine in a 2:1 ratio. Does that conform to the volumes you have of the two?

    Message back on how to measure out epoxy. The crew here has some very helpful techniques to save you hassle, resin, and time. Most first-time Pygmy kit builders run out. I did on the first one.
     
  4. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Shawn, welcome to the site.

    Chances are that you're fine. In total you should have 2 1/2 gallons of epoxy (combined, in all bottles). Your hardener bottle is probably not quite full and if the epoxy leaked, you'd have one heck of a mess all over everything. One bottle of epoxy should be about half full. As Dave says, you should have about twice as much epoxy as hardener.

    Be careful with your epoxy and only mix as much as you need for each task (you'll get the hang of this once you get going) -- otherwise you'll run out before you're finished your boat.

    Pick up a set of ketchup and mustard bottles from a dollar store, wash them out good, and use them with syringes to dispense small amounts. A description is here:

    http://www.westcoastpaddler.com/buildin ... =12&pos=46
     
  5. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    Is the syringe method better than utilizing the pumps that come with the kit? It seems like it would be much better. I'll check out the link you posted. Great help! I love this :)

    Here's a photo of the epoxy and hardener, unopened - showing the difference in quantity. Both epoxy bottles say one gallon, but one contains significantly less product.

    [​IMG]
     
  6. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Your epoxy looks about right to me (ah yes, a picture speaks louder than words).

    The syringe method is for mixing small batches of epoxy. Most of the time you'll use the pumps, but there are times when you won't need as much epoxy -- instead of wasting epoxy, mix a smaller batch with the syringe method -- if you're careful, you will have enough epoxy to complete the boat, but it will be close.

    *****
     
  7. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    Alright, epoxy quantity has been confirmed as correct (by Pygmy) - and by hearing your comments as well. *phew* got that one worry off my chest :)

    And I'm SO happy this forum is here. Next on to making my list of supplies. Got a good one going, but have a couple questions.

    QUESTION 1: MIXING CUPS - A guy recommended using paper cups for mixing? and toss when done each time? But then I read that a larger bottom - more like a butter or cottage cheese container works better since it gives more time to work with the product? But the guy who recommended paper said don't use the plastic as the epoxy/resin mix may eat through it??

    QUESTION 2: TEMPERATURES. I do searches and I've gone through a few forum posts, but haven't come accross the temperature issue yet. I'm working in my garage, facing the sun, temp inside is usually 10° higher than the outside temp. If I kick butt, I hope to get the boat done end of May .. probably end of June is my guesstimate if I work my butt off.

    Can somebody explain temperatures a bit? I'm working in a garage that I can keep at about 65° when it's cold but currently has no way of cooling. The summer is coming up. Any major concerns with the temperature above 70°? I'm going to work at night so the temperature will be decreasing for 12 or so hours after I'm done working for the night. What about the time after that as the day starts and heat increases? (i.e. do I need to worry about installing an AC unit to keep the temperature more constant?). And how long to let the panels sit until I flip them and work on the other side and then set aside to work on the next ones? I see 3 days as a cure time, but I'd imagine there's a point at which one can move them around carefully prior to that?

    QUESTION 3: ROLLER - They supply a squeegee type critter, but I've heard of rollers for getting bubbles out (purchase or make makeshift one with different size washers, etc.). Any thoughts on that? Plastic squeegee work just fine and roller isn't that big of an advantage?

    QUESTION 4: SCRAPER - this looks mandatory to me, where to purchase? Or any place in specific to purchase boat building/glassing items?

    I think that's about it.. until something goes wrong :)~ Give me a few minutes and I'll figure out how to destroy something.
     
  8. skiffrace

    skiffrace Paddler

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    (+-) to both sides, but I'd say bite the bullet and use new cup for each batch of resin. Main problem when reusing cup: you need to clean the cup *meticulously*. Otherwise you'll have (cured) leftovers of old epoxy in it. This in turn will distort the proper ratio when mixing new batch.
    Use both calibrated cup and calibrated pump. You will be able to verify if one push of the pump pumped the correct amount of resin/hardener.

    I'd say 60° is the absolute lowest, otherwise the epoxy will take a very loooong time to cure thus making the build hard to manage.
    Theoretically there is no upper limit. However, once you are out of the 80s, the epoxy may cure too fast to apply it properly.
    Also, make sure the temperatures are falling once the epoxy is applied - it will help to minimize the air bubbles.

    Get 10 or 20 1/8 inch rollers from Pygmy - any thicker and you will get bubbles all over the epoxy. Cut the rollers in half to double their number.

    Yes. Use scraper to squeeze out as much epoxy as you can from the fiberglass. It goes like this:
    1. Use roller to apply *very* thin seal coat of epoxy to plywood.
    2. Lay the fiber
    3. Spread the epoxy with the squeege over the fiberglass.
    4. Use the scraper to remove excess epoxy from the top of the glass.
    You want glass to lay directly on the plywood. Texture of glass should be prominently visible. Glass should not 'float' on layer of epoxy
    5. 2-3 thin fill coats of epoxy with roller. More thinner coats work better (fewer runs)
    The fill coats should saturate the glass just barely. Do not lay epoxy much higher than the surface of glass. You will use more epoxy and have heavier boat with no extra strength.You need to just barely exceed the top of glass to have some room when sanding the epoxy in preparation for paint.
     
  9. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    It sounds to me like you need to read over one of the primers on use and application of resin and glass. System Three has a good one online that you can download as a PDF file (Didn't "The Epoxy Book" come with the resin from Pygmy? Usually does.). Gougeon Brothers has a good one, also. Many of your questions are answered in these in more detail.

    Skiffrace covered temps pretty well. I might add:

    1. Get a simple thermometer so you will know the temperature of your workplace.

    2. Never work in direct sun.

    3. Always apply resin to the untreated wood as the temperature is falling. Avoid applying it in the morning before the temperature has risen. If yiu have to work in the morning, heat up the workplace to a temp 10 degrees or so higher than its usual temp before working, then open the shop door and allow the area to cool as you work. This prevents "outgassing" from the wood, which will generate many, many pinholes on that saturation coat of resin. You want to seal the wood before glassing, so it is best to let the saturation coat cure most of the way before applying glass.

    4. Avoid large batches of resin; if you must work with a large batch, mix it in a wide-bottomed, shallow container (salsa or margarine tub, etc.; wash these thoroughly with hot soapy water before use to remove traces of foreign matter), and get it onto the work ASAP. Epoxy will generate its own heat (aka "an exotherm"), which can quickly raise its temp and shorten the pot life enormously.

    5. Laying resin on wood in quantity is best done with one of those short-nap rollers Pygmy sells. Twenty is not too many to start with. Many folks pour the resin on the wood, smooth it out with one of the plastic squeegee, roughly, and then roll it out smooth. this avoids an exotherm.

    Much of the technique is subtle, and it would be good to get someone to walk you through your first session of glassing. Even the initial butt joints with very thin glass demand some technique. Post here for help in the PDX area: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/PDXseakay ... =119374634 You will have to register. Lots of folks in the PDX area with expertise on this.
     
  10. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    I agree with Dave, read "The Epoxy Book" from System 3 -- should have come with your kit. The book will clarify everything that you need to know about epoxy -- it's a very well written and an informative book.

    Regarding temperatures -- you should be fine. When doing large areas, especially over bare wood, you want the temps to be dropping (which will happen when you're epoxying at night). This is good. As Dave states, don't work in direct sunlight -- sun hitting your garage should not be a problem (unless doing large areas then you want the temp to be dropping -- see above).

    Your epoxy should be cured enough to do further work on the boat after a full night -- even at your temps. Epoxy takes several days to fully cure but if you can touch the epoxy with your arm and it doesn't pull at your arm hairs -- move on to the next step in the manual. If the epoxy has not set enough to not pull the hairs, wash your arm where it came in contact with the epoxy with vinegar (it works great for cleanup).

    Regarding the manual -- read, read, read. The Pygmy manual is very thorough -- read each section carefully and make sure that you completely understand what you are doing before you begin each step.

    *****
     
  11. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    Thank you!

    Thanks everybody for the very helpful comments!

    Off I go to re-read the booklets a few times, make some notes and then build a tools needs list - I'm confident I have what I need to start the butt joints at least, and start glassin' this weekend!

    Y'all are awesome. Thanks again!
     
  12. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    photoshawn, first tool you will need for the butt joints is one of these, available at hardware stores:
    http://www.acehardwaresuperstore.com/ca ... tml?ref=42

    The blade allows you to scrape excess resin off, best done when the resin is still not completely cured. This will help you to feather the edges of the glass tape that holds the panels together.

    There are simpler ones. Critical to get a carbide blade, and the most useful width is 2-1/2 inches. By keeping pressure on the glass/resin, and not on the uncoated wood, you can bring down the much harder and tougher resin and avoid gouging the wood. Sanding is laborious, and will erode the softer wood while leaving teh much harder cured resin less affected. Once you learn how to use one of these, you will wonder how you did without one.

    As Dan says, the instructions from Pygmy are pretty good. And, if you get into a bind, they are just a phone call away. Always helpful and friendly. Even though I built my first sng boat in 1996, when I call, they still remember me!
     
  13. Dan_Millsip

    Dan_Millsip Paddler & Admin

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    Dave, I've got a feeling that you're remembered by most people wherever you go (absolutely no sarcasm intended whatsoever). 8)

    *****
     
  14. cattail

    cattail Paddler

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    Welcome Shawn your in the right spot. Good choice on the boat.
    I'll chat with you just use the send PM feature up next to the log in.
    I recommend adding the metered pumps to your containers they were a real time saver for me I put one hand on each with the cup in the middle and pushed both at the same time so I never had to count (or lose count) with the hardner coming down faster with less also used a 2:1 resin. One pump of each was a small batch for me and 10 of each was about the largest I mixed per cup.
    Mixing with tongue depressors or something that will get into the corners of your cup without scratching it for 1 to 2 minutes depending on the size of the batch and let it set for another minute before pouring or brushing with it.
    If you have the slow hardner it shouldn't exotherm or get hot in the cup. I like the plastic cups sold in the paint section of just about any hardware store, not a butter man. After a day or two the resin left in them pops out with a little flexing leaving unmixed resin drops on the sides to wipe out with some acetone or lacquer thinner on a paper towel and they are ready to go again. I had 6 of them in rotation during my build and only tossed one by mistake.
    Plastic squeegies are also reusable the epoxy peals off them as well just let it dry over night.
    I'll second having the carbide scraper it's a great tool for removing cured excess epoxy from your parts just be careful the edges can dig leave marks on the wood that pop out under glass. They make them with curved and straight blades and are a life time tool.
    [​IMG]

    I think that's a great tag line to add to your signature.
    "Give me a few minutes and I'll figure out how to destroy something. :p "
     
  15. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    First Step - butt joints

    Alright.. tonight was my first build night. The same thing will occur a few more times.. probably over a week or ??

    Lightly sanded off burs where pieces butt up against one-another.

    Used my electric piece of c(*$ fine brad nailer that can't go through c(*$ to pin down the pieces so they wouldn't move on me. Glad I did this, was thinking of just weighing them down - would have been a bad choice - ah - finally a good use for this piece of crud electric brad nailer - LOL.

    Ziploc bags used underneath to keep boat from sticking to table, Epoxy down, fiberglass tape down, more epoxy, wetting out - making sure enough epoxy is on either side of the tape so that when cured epoxy will be at same height as tape and feathered down, mylar on top, squeegee out bubbles, 2x4 on top with weight on top. Excess epoxy seeps from underneath mylar, more squeegee, and wait to cure :) And hope that I did everything right!!!

    Pictures show difference in color between wood prior to epoxy and after.

    Ooohhhh I wish I had gotten the mahogany type color of boat.. but heard that it takes special care as to not sand through the thin layer, yada yada yada.. so I went with the standard okoume ply marine wood. Still gonna be beautiful as heck :) Umm yeah, I'm getting excited and having fun.

    I think I'll bring the wire to be cut to work with me.. I have a couple boys that I mentor.. something good for them to do - mowahhaha

    Pygmy also puts stickers on all the panels... (shown in second photo) keep them face up and it's almost dummy proof - if all goes well I won't have to comment on this issue later on ;)

    Temp in garage is about 65 deg steady. 20 minutes was about how long my epoxy was workable... maybe longer, but started to get thick at that point.

    First round - took some time. Second time was at least twice as fast and got twice as much done - and finished with the butt joints for the left side panels.

    Pygmy says "In less than 15 hours you will be standing in front of a beautifully shaped hull shell." Umm that MUST not include the setup time for the table and shopping for all the stuff needed to do the project. Coz I'm easily in to 15 hours and .. yeah... you can see where I'm at. LOL

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Photoshawn,

    That looks good. Glad you are on your way. 65 F is a perfect temp.

    I hope that oriented strand board is smooth enough for this job. It is important that the panels mate cleanly, so that true plywood might be needed as a work surface. The 2 x 4's also need to have smooth surfaces. If you have a friend with a planer, it might be worthwhile to give them a quick pass through on each side to clean them up. Every imperfection in those surfaces will telegraph through to the surface of the panel. No big, most likely, because you will be cleaning up the surfaces with that carbide scraper in the morning, if you have fast or medium hardener.

    Which hardener did you get?
     
  17. skiffrace

    skiffrace Paddler

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    "With our magic pill you will lose 10 lbs / week with no diet and no exercise!"
     
  18. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    I did use the smooth side of the board face up - hopefully that will help. The 2x4s were what I had easily at hand - will see when I feel safe to remove the weights.

    When purchasing the supplies, I had no idea about anything - if only I knew this board was here!! - Anyway, I think I got the medium general purpose. It doesn't even say on the bottle. On the bottles, it has all three listed and cure times, etc. of the hardener. Hardener just says part b on it. hardener medium at 77 deg is 6 hrs tack free. I have a feeling I won't be touching the boards until tonight or maybe tomorrow. Still tacky this morning.

    TEMP - I kept it at 64 and it went down to 62 last night. At 64 again now. I am having a difficulty keeping the temp in the garage (overnight) at 65... will have to check out a different heater than the milkhouse electric one that i have. Garage is insulated, but the door itself is probably drafty and letting in some coldness.

    I'm still confused about the temp issue. I know everybody says the temp needs to stay constant or fall during curing... But say now that the epoxy is still not tack free, and the temp goes up to 70 in the garage, would I have issues? I'm working on the inside, so I don't think it's as mission critical - trial and hopefully not too much error!
     
  19. photoshawn

    photoshawn Paddler

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    My wife asked me what I wanted for breakfast - I said I wasn't hungry.. gotta go do more research on my boat and get some stuff done! I know what ya mean tho skiffrace, but maybe Pygmy SHOULD have put something about losing weight - coz it's so much fun and you forget about eating! - At least that one I would believe! ;)
     
  20. cattail

    cattail Paddler

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    Off to a good start Shawn.
    I do the forget to eat thing while I'm working on the boat but make up for it while the glue is curing.
    [​IMG]
    On my build those joints went together faster with these finger locks no epoxy or tape was needed.