Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Glass on the first float

I've been working very hard over the last couple of months and I've made great progress!  The progress helps to keep the project moving and it gives you a great sense of accomplishment!

Now that I have the main hull and one float on the strong backs stitched together, I decided to get the the first float glued up and glassed on the outside so I can take it off the strong back and stitch together the second float.  For some reason I feel I should build both floats at the same time.  I'm thinking that comes from my airplane building experience of building both wings at the same time so that differences in construction are kept to a minimum. 

The first step to getting the float glassed was to mixed up some epoxy and thickened it with cell-o-fill to the consistency of peanut butter.  I purchased a quart container of cell-o-fill and I used almost the entire container before all the seams of the first float were sealed.  Using a tongue depressor, I smoothed the thickened epoxy between the panel joints and tired to keep the joint smooth to minimize sanding.  I filled the gaps to within a centimeter of the zip ties.  the next day after the epoxy was cured, I cut and removed all the zip ties. I also removed all the screws that were used to hold the panels to the strong back with the exception of the very bottom screws.  I noticed that once I removed the bottom screws, the panels bowed outward.  I mixed up another batch of thickened epoxy and filled the remaining gaps, holes drilled for the zip ties and the screw holes.  I was extra careful not to push in a lot of epoxy at the joint over the strong back because I did not want to glue the panels to the strong back.  After the epoxy cured, I sanded the joints smooth.
The next step is to apply fiberglass tape on all the panel seams.  Starting from the bottom up, I glassed the first chine seam starting at the stern and worked toward the bow.  I applied tape to both sides.  For the two bottom seams, I started the tape at the stern and ran the tape to the bow and down the stem.  Doing this with both seams gives you the two layers of tape needed on the stem.  The last step before covering the entire float with glass was to place a single layer of glass on the bottom panel only.  The sides of the float require one layer of glass and the bottom two layers.

After the epoxy used to apply the tape cured, I rolled out the final, full covering of glass.
I applied a second coat of epoxy to the entire float to fill the weave.  When that coat of epoxy cured, I removed the remain panel screws and I was very pleased to see the panels did not bow out!  This last photo shows the first float after it was lifted from the strong back!
Before I start to build the second float, I plan to build a cradle with caster wheels that will hold the float while I finish the inside with glass and install the bulkheads.  This cradle will help me move the floats around my garage since space is now at a premium.

More to come!