Sealing up the Longitudinals

With the cleating in place, I was ready to seal up the seat longitudinals.  I use a foam roller to apply the un-thickened epoxy.  I buy 7″ or 9″ long , 1/4″ foam rollers from Pygmy boats or CLC Boats.  I cut these down with my band saw to whatever width I need.  This morning  for example, I cut off a 2″ piece of the foam roller to apply the epoxy.  The foam roller evens out the epoxy giving you a very uniform coating.  The foam has the ability to pick up epoxy (something a chip brush fails miserably at doing) and redistribute it evenly across a panel.  Once you try a foam roller, there’s no going back.  They’re that good!


Tomorrow, I’ll sand this coat and give both sides a second coat of epoxy.  One the second coat, I’ll tip out the air bubbles formed by the foam roller.  You really don’t need to do this on the first coating.  


The blog helps me stay focused and actually encourages me to keep moving forward at a faster pace than I otherwise would.  If you build a Skiff America or any other boat for that matter, I encourage you to blog about the progress.  And when you’re done, you’ll have a cool history of how your boat went together.  


Locked and Loaded

Once all the panels look fair and delightsome, I locked things into place.


DSC00475DSC00476After the epoxy has set up for several hours, I’ll come back and trim off the ends of the fiberglass tape and cut around the washers.  These are rather large fillets and it took time to lay in enough material to create a large smooth radius.

Steps I followed:

  1. I used a brush to wet all edges with unthickened epoxy.
  2. I rolled a 3″ strip of unthickened epoxy along all joining areas.
  3. I then applied thickened epoxy to all joining areas.  This was accomplished in several steps.  Many areas took three applications (all while the epoxy is still wet) to ensure a sufficiently large fillet. If you try to add it all in one step, the fillet has a tendency to sag.
  4. I worked the fillets by using a squeegee cut in a radius.  I made several different sizes, but really only used one large size.
  5. I then cleaned up all the jet stream trails (epoxy squeeze out).
  6. I cut 4″ glass tape into proper lengths.
  7. Using a squeegee, I wet out the glass strips on the bench over wax paper.
  8. I then laid the strips onto the wet fillets, using my gloved fingers to smooth the tape and remove any air bubbles in the glass tape.


Wait until you have an uninterrupted amount of time for these steps.  Once the fillet is wet, you want to have sufficient time to work the fillet and apply the glass tape.  It took me about 4 hours to accomplish these steps.  Now, I can wait for things to set up a bit before I trim the glass ends.  I’ll then roll on another layer of epoxy to fill the weave of the glass.  


Epoxy Woes

I’ve always said if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong with me.  This has always been my life experience.  Maybe you feel the same way, maybe everyone feels this way, but I have proof.

DSC00460DSC00465DSC00467DSC00469When attempting to sand the hull panels, I noticed the second coat of epoxy lifting off the first coat.  At first, I doubted what I saw…but the more I sanded, the more the truth revealed itself.  I had an adhesion problem and it was real.

What steps did I take when applying the epoxy?

  1. I waited 24 hours after the first coat before applying the second coat.  Please realize this is really slow stuff, so even after 24 hours, the first coat was tacky.  I presumed I would be getting a very good chemical bond between the coats.
  2. I applied the second coat and then waited 48 hours before sanding.
  3. My shop was heated to 65 degrees.
  4. No other activity occurred inside my shop.
  5. My shop heater is a closed system natural gas shop heater with venting out the roof, hence I was not adding moisture to the air through the heating process.
  6. When sanding, I detected some flaking.  After more sanding the problem revealed itself as an adhesion problem.  I included the photos above to help others see my results.


After sending photos to Ductworks, I called Chuck to discuss the problem.  He was very apologetic and immediately took care of the problem by sending me out new Marinepoxy.  I appreciate Chuck’s willingness to make things right before I even had a chance to ask him.  I don’t blame Ductworks at all for this issue.  They will be communicating with their supplier to discuss the problem.  Based upon this issue, I will be using regular Marinepoxy for my Skiff America.   Though initially very discouraging, I am very fortunate I detected the problem at this early stage of my build.  It would be heart breaking to getting deeper into things before realizing a problem.  Life is all about problem solving…this is no different.  

Let the Epoxy Flow

Well, not so fast.  Before I can start to epoxy, I need to get organized much like a surgeon would prior to surgery.

DSC00461This is my setup.  

  1. Epoxy
  2. Wood filler, Silica filler
  3. Roller with thin foam rollers
  4. Squeegee
  5. Alcohol
  6. Rags
  7. Gloves
  8. Zip locks for fillets
  9. Stir sticks
  10. Cups, spoons
  11. Wax paper

DSC00459DSC00460I also cover (2) 2 x 4 x 16′ boards with duck tape to use as an epoxy bench.

The epoxy I am using comes from Duck works.  It is a new formulation.  Much safer from a health perspective, much longer open time and if that isn’t enough, it contains two U.V. inhibitors.  Did you get that?  You don’t need to over coat this with paint or spar varnish.  That’s what the experts say.  I decided to give it a try.  Chuck has had a piece exposed to the Texas sun for 10 months with no signs of deterioration.   He indicated this is better than any spar varnish he is aware of.  It’s called DuckWorks DWX Epoxy.  I’m no chemist…but I like what I heard, so I’m moving forward with this new formulation.


My standard approach to epoxy application is somewhat different than others.  I mix up the epoxy, squeegee it around on the board (if it is a large board), then I roll over the epoxy to even out the coat.  I then finish things off by tipping the epoxy with a cheap chip brush to smooth out the bubbles.  This system works well for me.  It’s all about finding a system that works well for you.