Caulking Gun Fillets

Today I tackled the most undesirable job of filleting and taping the deck to the hull of my new hybrid. The job went a lot faster, much easier, and less messy than my experience last year on my Shearwater, though, largely because I used empty West caulking tubes to spread the thickened epoxy fillets along the seams with an old caulking gun.

It was very easy to reach all the way into the end compartments and lay down an even bead of goop. I used a six-ounce mix of epoxy with a 4:1 mix of Celofil and sawdust from my random orbit sander on each side. The mix was looser than peanut butter, but thicker than mustard.

I set the boat on its side, leaning against a stepladder, and laid down the entire seam before smoothing it out with an old kitchen spatula, then covered the fillet with 3" fiberglass tape that I had pre-saturated with a brush on an old board, then rolled up for a few minutes before spreading. Four hours later I did the other side the same way.

I had no problems with the epoxy setting off too soon or jamming in the tube. Conditions were ideal: 70 degrees and dry. This system worked so well that I intend to use it on all fillets in the future.

For what it's worth - Wes

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RE: Caulking Gun Fillets

That sounds much better than my recent experiences.  I'd used the plastic bag twice and made something of a mess, but on the advice of Laszlo, tonight I mixed up a nice thick (1 cup+) mixture and just poured it into the edges, using the same spatula that you probably used (I'm beginning to love the Dollar Tree!) to smooth them out.  After a few feet of messing around, things really smoothed out (no pun intended) and I was able to do the remaining bottom seam and both sides to the middle of the boat, with a minimum of epoxy (trying to keep it within weight specs).  Tomorrow it's the other half of the boat and tape-time.

If I had the caulking aparatus I'd give it a try, but I'm pretty happy with today's results.



RE: Caulking Gun Fillets

I agree that plastic bags are a bit messy.  Found a place that sells empty caulking gun tubes for epoxies.  Ordered 3 tubes for ten dollars today.  This should make life much easier for me.  Go to



RE: Caulking Gun Fillets

The West empty tubes are two for three dollars. West Marine (not the same as West epoxy) sells them.

I used them again on my daughter's Ganymede. This time I drilled a 1/8" hole in the plunger to let excess air escape. -Wes

RE: Caulking Gun Fillets

That is a very good idea.  If (when) I build the next boat, I'm going to use that method.  I used West Six-10 Epoxy, which comes in tubes and is already thickened.  It worked well, but drys with a milky color, not the brown wood flour color.  It's also $20/tube.

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