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Cole 26 salvage


Ken_Potts
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   Two gel-coats done now and two layers of chopped strand mat.  The picture shows the first layer of glass.
   I've been progressing carefully since the first gel-coat.  I haven't done this kind of layup before and I haven't ever mixed vinylester until this morning.  So... Before work this morning my plan was to add fillets over the gel-coat where necessary so the glass would lay down properly when I applied it later.  I've been trying to time things so that I'm working at a careful pace but I'm still hot-coating the goo.  I wasn't quite sure if I was going to add the first layer of glass before or after work.  I was thinking that if I couldn't quite smooth the fillets well I'd hang out for an hour or so until the thickened resin could be poked into shape and then go ahead with the first layer of glass.
   I mixed up some resin and thickened it to just shy of peanut butter consistency and started applying it.  One of the needed fillets was to be at the intersection of hull and deck so the resin had to stick to the underside of the deck.  I bet it's easy to see where I'm going with this...  Much to my horror, half the goo was sticking and half was dropping off in gobs and landing in places it shouldn't have been.  Every time I tried to smooth the stuff that was actually sticking, more would drop off.
   With pictures in my mind of having to spend the next three days grinding frozen poo off the inside of the boat I decided that I might as well go too far.  If I was going to have to go through that misery I might as well try to get the first layer of glass on over the top of the messed-up fillets and use the glass to smooth the fillets (I think I've accidentally discovered something here that many of you already know).  I frantically slapped lots of goo into the general area it was needed then moved the rolled-up glass into position between the hull and the bulkhead.  I mixed up a liter of goo and rolled it onto the upper two-thirds of the patch area (I'm really glad I had the foresight to get the patch carefully rolled up before I started mixing things).
   I rolled the patch upwards into place and pressed on it to get it to stick.  Unfortunately it immediately started peeling back off.  The next several minutes resembled something from "I Love Lucy" as I scrambled from one end of the mold to the other trying to get more goo on so it would stick.  Eventually things started to stick and I was even able to get the top of the patch to start sticking to the underside of the deck.  That's when the goo ran out.  Mix, mix, mix, and I had another batch ready to go (I was pretty much panicking at this point).  I slopped it on nice and thick and worked it in as well as I could with the toothed roller in one hand and the regular roller in the other.  A casual observer might have mistaken me for a ninja (or Zoidberg).
   Eventually I stopped hyperventilating and realized that the glass was finally nicely wet out and starting to behave.  It appears my strategy of careful planning followed by wild panic has resulted in a nice first layer of glass.  After work I applied the second layer and there was much gnashing of teeth and some more panic for other reasons and I seem to have a good second layer (unless it moved after I walked away - I'll find out tomorrow morning).
   The saga continues...

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See, you should plan to be all panicky from the get go. Then things will go smoothly.

My fiberglass experience is limited to sheathing canoes and two stitch and glue boats, but that was almost all cloth and epoxy resin. This job sounds real icky. And tricky.

It's looking cool, though, so keep up the good work, Zoidberg. Man, I wish I could transliterate the sounds that guy makes!

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Just bear in mind as you go, poly or vinylester resin does not have the strength that epoxy does. You need the glass for strength.

 

A few random thoughts.

 1. Try not to build up resin thickness between layers of glass.

 2. Always laminate roving into wet mat. Roving laid on roving, or on cured surfaces of mat will have no peel strength---your repair may de-laminate.

 3. Be sure that you are using laminating resin---not finishing resin.

 4. You can vary the curing rate with the amount of catalyst you use. You can Google catalyst charts if you don't have one.

 5. Use only enough resin to saturate your glass layer

 6. Roll out your glass mat  with a "bubble buster" roller, and squeegee your roving or cloth laminate.

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   Thank you for the tips, Chick.  And no, that wasn't supposed to be a table saw joke.

   I am working to keep the glass-to-resin ratio high.  There were a few slick spots on top of the first layer of glass but most of it wasn't overdone.  I'm working with the advice of a couple of professionals and I think (I hope) they have adjusted the layup to suit an amateur.  I'm using 6 layers of 12.5oz chopped strand mat with a layer of biaxial cloth in the center (10 0z?) and I'm keeping the time between layers to 12 hours or so in an effort to assure a chemical bond (the weather has been cool here, too).  The can says to use 1.5% to 2% catalyst so I've been using 1.5%.  I think I've got enough working time, I just have to be efficient.

   One of the pros who has offered advice on this boat is the man who sold me the resin (he is also a previous owner of the Cole 26 molds so he's built a number of these boats).  I'm using the resin he ordered for the job, so it's likely to be a laminating resin.

   A squeegee is better than a toothed roller for cloth?  I'll keep both handy when I do the cloth layer so my panic has a nice outlet.

   Robert - So far I think you've seen the worst of it using epoxy and cloth to sheath canoes.  This vinylester resin doesn't seem to be as treacherous as epoxy.  I'm just making it sound harder than it really is.  Epoxy is too sneaky for me.  It seems like I can watch a newly-sheathed surface for hours waiting to chase any runs that might show up and as soon as I walk away for a minute it instantly runs and hardens.

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The funniest thing about the dumb little boats I build is the disbelief people express that there isn't any fiberglass or anything. They look lumpy enough to be hewn from logs, so convincing anyone of the wooden nature is easy. Folks just rarely seem to believe a boat will float without its got fiberglass on it. Hereabouts, anyway.

My number one trick for runs (in hardened epoxy) was a cabinet scraper. Then I learned about release cloth. Then I learned a heat gun will make blobs of epoxy soft. Oh, I built and assisted in quite a few strip/glass canoes.

Then I quit. Cold turkey. Cloth and stuff, not boats. Just tree bones and, occasionally, on request, ply.

But, I admire the heck out of the amazing things people can do. This thread is neat to me.

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   My general schedule during this week of glassing is to get up early and get one layer on before work and then put on another layer after work so I'm working at roughly 12 hour intervals (seven layers means Sunday morning should have been the last).  This morning I have had to change my schedule a bit.  When I looked at last night's work I found bubbles.  I have taken the day off work and I'm spending the morning cutting out roughly half of what I applied last night.  Once I've cut the bad stuff out I'll proceed with the next layer.  When I've applied all my pre-cut layers I'll just put on another whole layer of chopped-strand mat (rather than try to apply individual patches).  That means my biaxial cloth will be layer 3 of 7 instead of being layer 4 of 7.  I doubt it will matter that much since there's actually no evidence that the original layup had a layer of biax in the middle at all.

   I'm posting the bad stuff for two reasons:

1. I don't want anyone to mistake me for an expert and use my methods to mess up their project.

2. I want to let other non-experts know that things can get pretty bad and still be fixable - Assuming this is fixable, that is... :)

 

   I guess that's enough of a break for now - Back to the razor knife.

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You're correct, it's very unlikely any biax was used in the original layup. You don't need it now, if using laminating polyester and if vinylester, it will make a stronger piece, but what's the point, if surrounding areas are simply mat/cloth or roving. A standard laminate schedule for this would be alternating mat and cloth, until you've bulked up to the thickness you desire. If staggering the overlaps, put the biggest pieces down first, progressing to the smaller ones, which makes fairing a lot easier, without cutting into material as you knock things down.

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...If staggering the overlaps, put the biggest pieces down first, progressing to the smaller ones...

   FInally something I've done right! :)  I've already got the biggest piece on, the reast should get gradually easier to apply.  Theoretically, anyway.

   I've got the bubbles cut out and the edges of the cuts ground down and I'm headed out to mix some more goo.  Fingers crossed...

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   I've cut out the bad parts, ground the jagged edges down smooth and applied another layer of glass.  This one went a bit better and last time I looked it seemed to be okay.

   I think my mistake last night was in paying too much attention to it.  I was using the toothed roller too aggressively and pushing things around too much so the fabric stretched and sagged.  That's my theory anyway.  Today I was careful to get everything thoroughly wet out and stuck down using the regular roller and I only used the toothed roller gently in a few places that were popping up a little.

   I'm off to the store to get replacement cloth, resin and catalyst for the do-over layer.

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   Productive day so far - Yet another layer is on.  This was the biax layer and it seemed a lot easier.  It seemed to only need about 2/3 as much resin as the previous layers and it all wet out nicely and mostly stuck where I put it the first time.  That's 4 layers done and four to go (including the extra make-up layer).  I might leave the next one for the morning and stick to my schedule of 2 layers a day over the weekend.

   Time for a beer. :)

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   I'm glad you're enjoying it Robert (somebody ought to :) ).  By the way, it looks like you may have named our boat - We're still looking for ideas but "Belafonte" has recently risen to the top of the list. You ought to join us for a sail once the boat is on the mooring.

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Belafonte. Perfect. You can put a little drone size helipad on the stern. You're on you're own to squeeze the sauna in somewhere. :)

As to the sailing on her, well I don't fly, so if all my dreams come true, maaayyybbbeee I can be there. It's pretty much all downhill from here to there, after all. Now, where did I park the schooner? Oh yeah, on the drawing board...

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   While the attendees of the B and B get-together slept snugly on their boats or in their tents Saturday night I removed the engine from the boat (it was Sunday afternoon here).  I clamped and lashed together an a-frame from 5 pieces of lumber and lifted the engine out with a chain hoist. I had to do two lifts because the chain hoist doesn't lift far enough to get the engine all the way to the ground so the first step was out of the boat and onto the truck and after re-setting the gear I lifted it off the truck and down onto a little cart that I could roll into the shed until I take the engine to the mechanic.

   That was so much more fun than my recent week of goo :)

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