Saturday, December 16, 2006

Green Tape & An Unemployed Bum

I've started to work on the kayak once again with a bit more regularity. With recent warm temperatures I decided it was a good time to do some epoxy work over the past week before we get another cold snap (we have had unusual quantities of cold and snow so far this winter). You may recall that back in June I joined the two halves of the kayak, fiberglassing only the inside of the seam, then packed everything up because we moved to a new house. Well that move threw me off and I lost all momentum with my energy being directed first toward moving, then towards finishing up the renos I initiated during the move. Add in the parenting of two energetic girls and being busy at work and there was little time or energy to work on the kayak. However, at the end of November I was laid off from my job as a "Research Associate" and now I have a bit more time on my hands (not a lot mind you, I still have to take care of the kids - the youngest started walking this week - while my wife picks up extra shifts at her job). Thus, I moved the car out onto the driveway, warmed up the garage, and fiberglassed the outside seam. I used the technique of masking off the edges as described on the One Ocean Kayaks web site.

I laid down strips of masking tape to either side of the seam leaving about 3/4" to 1" on each side of the joint. I folded the edge of the tape to prevent drips from running away.

I then rolled on the 3" wide strips of glass cloth that I had cut for this purpose.

In the picture above you can see that in addition to the green masking tape that I ran out of, I also used brown masking paper. This paper has a light adhesive on one edge (like a sticky note) and I turned to it because it was what I had available at the moment. However, I would advise against others using the same stuff - although waxed, the epoxy soaks through the paper and gets stuck to the kayak. Thankfully it scraped away fairly easily and at least the brown colour matches the boat so if I missed anything it should be inconspicuous (at least it's sufficiently inconspicuous that I couldn't find any more of it).















The fiberglassing of the seam went pretty much as the rest of the glass/epoxy work but on a smaller scale. Once sufficiently cured, I then trimmed away the masked tape. In the above close-up photo you can see that I went over top of the hole drilled for the grab loop; I trimmed the glass cloth from the holes while trimming the masked edges.

However, I sort of forgot one minor detail from Vaclav's instructions - I should have lifted the masking tape, pulling it away from the kayak and bending the glass right at the edge of the tape. As it was, on the first side I scored/cut the glass with the tape flat which didn't work all that well. On the other side I lifted the tape/glass as I was supposed to and it made trimming the excess much easier and in the end I was left a fairly nice edge which was easily scraped to a smooth transition. I now have about 70 feet of fiberglass reinforced masking tape - that's gotta be good for something right? I can see why people seem to always want to build another boat - next time the whole seam glassing process would go much more smoothly.

I have more on the subject of glassing the seam and addtional progress to report, but I'll address those in the next posting or two.

p.s. If you are in the Saskatoon area and would like to hire a molecular biology technician for generous sums of money, please let me know! ;-)