Whilst I had a run of continuous days left to me, it seemed sensible to tackle possible the last big job - fibreglassing the deck.
I want to get this done before the weather gets too damp; thus avoiding the irritation of amine blush on the epoxy (likely to be impossible to clean on the dimpled surface of the glass).As usual the logical start point is the most complex - just in front of the cabin, with the intrusion of the tabernacle, forepeak hatch and curved corners of the cabin sides.
Preparation involved getting a few plastic paint kettles to mix larger quantities of epoxy and some firm rollers to apply it. The glass I already had from the start of the project, though had used some for the punt restoration a few years ago; hopefully I'll have enough left to finish...
Marking out a 4' strip that extended 3" behind the cabin front, down the side decks and 45" forward (the roll of glass is 4' wide) was the start point. The ply on the deck had already been filled and rubbed down several weeks ago, so was swept and wiped over with a tissue soaked in acetone to remove any greasy residues. Also the small strip of teak cabin sides that the glass would lap up onto was washed thoroughly with acetone to remove its natural oils.
The glass would be trimmed on the cabin sides 1/4" up from the deck and similarly 1/4" down from the overlap of the hull planking. this is done when the epoxy is half cured or "green". I wanted an even cut so knocked up a sliding guillotine contraption with appropriate spaces and a Stanley blade sandwiched between blocks of wood; one 1 3/8" deep for the hull (spanning the deck thickness plus overlap) and one 1/4" for the cabin.
The first swathe was a P.I.T.A. but eventually went down. 4 hours later it had gone off however the bloody thing was covered with bubbles centred round the nail positions... Curious.
Advice from those that do much more of this epoxy / ply thing was that the acetone from the wipe down was probably being drawn up by the less dense filler used over the nail heads was evaporating after the glass skin was laid, pushing it up. Lay off the acetone (on the ply at least). This advice came too late for the 2nd panel...
Third panel - sans acetone - was laid down the side deck in the evening and laid like a dream.
Fourth panel around and in front of the forepeak hatch (probably the largest) was also laid without acetone the next morning. By the afternoon it had gone off and covered in sodding bubbles again!
Decided to seal the rest of the deck with a layer of epoxy to cover the bloody nail heads, This then was covered in amine blush the next morning, which had to be laboriously washed off and then the whole lot sanded down smooth to accept the glass.
Meanwhile further advice indicates that "gassng out" of epoxy is exacerbated by temperature; thus application in the morning will increase the likelihood of bubbles as the temperature rises during the day - bloody plastic boat building...
Fifth panel is a small one right at the front of the deck; now laid over epoxy primed ply and in the evening - perfect.
Meanwhile, I've several score bubbles to sand off and patch.