Recore: Nearly There!

The last of the really big steps is complete (I think) – the top skin is back on! It’s taken much, much longer than I anticipated, but I feel like a good job’s been done, and I should be satisfied with it for many years to come (all of the remaining ones, I hope).

Here’s the details, for the record…

I got the pattern made in the last installment – but of course it was a pattern which merely covered the top, didn’t allow for where I would make the seams or for staggering the joints. I took it inside and started cutting – first trying the dining room table, as planned:

And then, when that turned out to be too small, on the dining room floor:

which was juuust right.

I cut out the first layer according to the pattern as I had laid it up on the cabin top. A bit time consuming, since they are large pieces, but no big deal. I have been reminded all through this process, though (pattern-making and using) that the stuff we were taught in art class in grade school wasn’t all for naught after all, and I would have done well to take it a little more seriously. Despite my wickedness as a child, however, I managed to get through this exercise.

Then I started to consider the next layer (which would actually be the first layer, starting from the bottom, since it would be slightly smaller). It was at this point that I realized that my carefully laid plans of how to lay the thing out weren’t compatible with my original plans – and thus my first-cut layer of cloth didn’t really work. Aagh! So I spent another hour or so working with the diagram and coming up with a way to make it as strong as possible with what I now had to work with. Shoot. At any rate, I came up with a way to make it just as strong – stronger, in fact – I’m putting a larger third layer on top – one which will go around the saloon hatch as well as the partners, since both of those areas need extra strength.

Amazing how an hour’s worth of staring at fiberglass and a diagram in the dining room can be expressed in a short paragraph in hindsight, isn’t it.

So I continued with the cutting, eventually amassing a nice little pile of cloth at the side of the room:

That was it for that day – I wasn’t about to start out on the most ambitious bit of glass-laying of my life when somewhat tired – and solo. And my Dad was coming the next day to help!

Dad arrived and we got to work after my day job on Monday. This gave us about 3 hours of good daylight to get the job done in – more than enough, one would hope, given the working time of epoxy.

First we laid it out dry, to make sure it was going to work:

And then we just went at it, mixing epoxy in ~3 cup batches and spreading it like crazy, putting cloth on top of neat epoxy waiting for it to soak through and putting more on where it was dry (and everywhere, for the first layer since we wanted the second layer to soak it up from the bottom). Went through just shy of two gallons of epoxy, running out without managing to get the third layer on over the partners and the saloon hatch area. But that’s alright, I’ll do that after the fact. It’ll have a slightly weaker bond, but since it’s probably unnecessary in the first place, I’m satisfied that it’ll be alright.

Here’s what she looked like when we finished:

Not bad for a first attempt, I think! I did end up with a few bubbles here and there, but nothing big enough to worry me (1/4” x 3/4” is the worst one), and there is definitely a lot of epoxy that has dripped down the cabin sides – sometimes even onto the deck. Despite that – I’m pleased!

Now I just need to get the last layer in place, fair it and paint it, and re-install everything. Piece of cake!