Cabin Top 'Glass Laying Complete

That’s it for the laying of ‘glass on the cabin top. All done. Whewph! That was a long time, and a lot of learning. Happily I can say that the next time I find myself needing to lay ‘glass, I’ll be a lot quicker. And I can also say that I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out – I think the boat will be at least as strong as it was originally, and much stronger than it was when I got it. It’s also got solid coring where there will be penetrations, so no one should ever have to do this again (famous last words!).

I didn’t take enough pictures, but there you go.

I started out by water washing in case there was any amine blush (East System epoxy claims that there isn’t with their “intermediate” hardener, but it’s an easy step to take, so I did it). While doing that, I discovered that it’s probably a good idea to wear gloves to wash a freshly ‘glassed, never sanded surface – I got three nice puncture wounds on my hand from wiping over some sharp bits. No biggie – a wash and a bandaid and back on my way. It did sting, though.

Next came sanding – 40 grit on the Bosch 1250 DEVS in “fast removal” (eccentric rotary) mode made quick work of the high spots and roughed up the surface to give the fresh epoxy something to key into. That sander’s pretty great – with the shop vac hooked up there was essentially no clean up to do after sanding, and it took me about half an hour to prep the whole cabin top. 3M Imperial paper probably helps, too – and it’s purple!

Then I cut the cloth. This time, partly since Beth is home and it’s not so easy to commandeer the dining room floor for cutting, and partly to save time, I skipped the pattern-making and went straight to cutting by laying the cloth out directly on the cabin top. It seemed to work fine, and was definitely quicker. This time I was looking to overlap the original glass of the cabin top (no bevel left to overlap), so making the pieces exact wasn’t crucial, which I’m sure is part of what let me get away with it.

I mixed up epoxy in 24 oz. batches – and if I do something this large on my own again I’ll get larger containers and do more at once – I needed 3 × 24 oz and 1 × 12 oz cups to wet it all out successfully – thank goodness I wasn’t using fast hardener, or I wouldn’t have had time to get it done. As it was, though, with our reasonably cool temperatures here in NS (doesn’t stop me from sweating, mind you!) and the “intermediate” hardener (they used to call it slow), I got the whole thing layed up and squeegied before it kicked.

And that’s it for ‘glass on the cabin top! Lots of fairing to do, and more ‘glass on the back of the cabin, in the cockpit, and in a few spots outside the coaming – but the cabin top, after all this time, has enough ‘glass on it to satisfy even me. Hoorah!

One final note: when I removed my nitrile gloves and came inside to wash up I took off the bandaid which I’d put on over the puncture wounds to clean up a bit more since it was still quite painful. No wonder! There was a sliver of ‘glass the width of a porcupine quill and about 3/4 of an inch long stuck in my hand! I couldn’t pull it out with my bare fingers, and even with tweezers it took me three tries. Sheesh.