Monday, September 8, 2008

Like an ant in a syrup jar...

I guess I didn't really complete my story from my time up at WoodenBoat in in the middle of the summer. I sort of left folks hanging here.

To finish that tale up, I'll take you back to Wednesday morning of our second week building the Wee Lassies. As of that morning, the hulls were complete and we did a little bit of finish sanding to get them ready for fiberglass and epoxy. The process was very dusty between the sanding and cleaning both the boats and the shop before applying the epoxy. This is the point at which the biggest variation from the class I normally teach came into play. With a limited amount of time, we decided to hot coat the hull. Hot coating is a process where you lay up successive coats of epoxy before the prior coat has fully cured. It speeds up the process immensely.

We'd been given special access to some experimental epoxy from the folks at West System. It was a new version of their 105/207 epoxy forumulation. (resin/hardener) The 207 hardener we had was much clearer than the current product and a bit thinner, which aided the saturation of the 'glass. This was one of those times when taking a class at a place like WoodenBoat is really nice - first, we had access to this special material, and second, we had access to epoxy metering pumps (AKA : Goo Grinders...) to simplify the measuring of the epoxy. If you've ever got a project where you'll be mixing a lot of epoxy, get one!

Things went very well, overall and we managed to get 4 coats of epoxy on all of the canoes by the end of the day. Still, no matter how hard you try to work "clean" and to keep things neat, it seems that the epoxy gets everywhere. As a friend once remarked when working with epoxy, "I feel like an ant in a syrup jar."

Between the dust and the epoxy, I didn't bring my camera out at all that day, so no pictures.

Overall, it was a long, hard day, but by the end we had much to show for it. Here is a picture taken on Thursday morning:

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