Tuesday, 10 April 2012

re-fibreglassing a cedar strip kayak

After the recent job 'I wish I had never started mk1' [fitting rubber hatches] the comments along the lines of 'ooh.. I thought cedar strip kayaks were supposed to be quite light'...started to annoy me and reflecting on my usage of boat and the Sherman tank like 'Expedition' layup I used when I built it 4 yrs ago I decided to remove said 'exped' fibreglass and epoxy resin from the hull, as demonstrated in a YouTube vid by Nick Schade of Guillemot Kayaks, one of the worlds top builders... to make Tootega a bit lighter so my pals have less to whinge about when they are lifting it off the car and down to the beach...

To be fair, removing the old glass and resin only took a couple of hours with a hot air gun and a paint scraper, but may have contributed somewhat to global warming.

Removing the resin left stuck to the hull was a pig of a job. 40 grit sanding discs only just about doing the job [B+Q own brand...I have a healthy suspicion they are nowhere near as good as discs made by Bosch.] It now weighs 4.5kg less, so I hope for a finished weight of 25kg inc hatch covers and electric pump

Hull was eventually sanded off, new cloth and resin arrived so on a nice warm day I got to work. Against all the advice I give to others, I decided to use MAS, a different epoxy resin than the normal West System I have used in the past. I ordered the 'Fast' variant and believe me it is. I'll stick to west System in future.

The resin went off so quick I had to replace some of the glass as it didn't wet the glass out, however the rest of the job went quite well and apart from a slight cosmetic fault, I've got the fill coats on and now doing the boring wet+dry stuff.

 All the sanding completed and the boat rinsed off with clean water. 
Total wet out so no greasy spot or fish eyes..ready for varnishing!

First coat of International Compass varnish. It's the best varnish I've used yet. I'll give it 3 coats  to protect the epoxy and re-coat it over the winter. 
I'm going to fit a graphite keel strip in the next week or so.

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