Making a Kayak – Sanding, Epoxy & Fiberglass

Posted on February 1, 2013

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So after stripping out the hull of the kayak, you get to sand. A lot of sanding! As I was sanding the hull I filled pits and cracks with “thickened epoxy”. Thickened epoxy is the epoxy I use to fiber glass the hull, its AeroMarine 300/21 Epoxy Resin. When I am sanding I save the fine saw dust that is bagged in my random orbital sander, mix that with the epoxy so its about like peanut butter and fill in the holes and pits. Once this stuff dries it very hard and when you sand it down its about the color of the wood so it looks pretty good. In the images above and below you can see the places that have had the thickened epoxy applied.

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After sanding, ( as a side note I mainly used 80 grit sand paper and a some hand planers to get the job done) it was time to epoxy and fiberglass the hull of the boat. This will make it much stronger as we go along and this is where it starts to look cool. The idea was to get the first coat applied so that the glass is totally wet and sticks to the wood. Pits or anything that leaves an air pocket behind the glass is bad as it prevents it from sticking to the wood. Once the first coat is mostly dry to the touch, I applied another coat, and did this twice so three coats in on for the hull. I had to be reminded that some runs and missed spots are going to happen at this phase, because after its all done we I will re-sand, another coat and varnish.

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You really do have to keep in mind that it won’t be a perfect finish at this stage, I thought I had ruined mine and had to be reassured that all is not lost when something isn’t perfect at this stage. The edges of the cloth that hang over need to be cut off after the epoxy is pretty dry.
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As you can see once the first coat of epoxy really pops the color and grain of the wood once it applied. A couple of things to watch out for is the temperature needs to be warm, 50′s are really the coldest that this will work at and is not recommended. 70-80′s are best. Once the epoxy is dry its pretty tough stuff once its set in place and the fact that it will have this layer on both sides will be pretty strong.

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After this is all dry I will unhook it from the strong back and set it in a harness type of system to work on the deck. Stay tuned for more fun!

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