Some Questions About Sheawater

Hello all, I have been working hard on my Shearwater Sport and have just put the down the first coat of epoxy on the fiberglass of the outside of the hull. I was wondering if anybody that has built from a kit where the epoxy is included, has it been enough? The large container of resin only has 1/10th left and the smaller container is full. With 2 more coats on the hull, and then 3 on the deck, along with skim coats and miscellaneous glueing (hip braces, hatch rims, end pours) I am worried about running out of epoxy. I am excited to finish up this project, so if anybody has any insight on whether I should bite the bullet and order more epoxy or try to push through that would be appreciated.

Additionally I had a question concerning varnishing coming up in the next couple weeks. The manual suggests suspending the kayak from the ceiling by the hatches, but I do not believe this is viable in my garage. To keep the 5 coats of varnish to 5 days, is it possible to do a coat on the hull in late morning/early afternoon, then a coat on the deck in the evening (7-8 hours apart)? Or will this process be stretched out to 5 days for hull and deck respectively.

Thanks for your time!



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RE: Some Questions About Sheawater

   I have never finished up a kit boat with just the epoxy they provided in the kit. Of course I tend to patch up other boats, make paddles, and spill a lot. 

RE: Some Questions About Sheawater

There is just enough epoxy for a semi-professional boatbuilder to create a light-weight beauty. There is not enough for someone like me! I think you should buy more epoxy. If you don't need it (and I think you will), it will keep for years and be useful in a wide variety of repairs and projects.

As to varnish, I'm a fervent believer in applying multiple (2 - 3) coats of varnish per day. Don't sand between coats. Just let it get dry to the touch. In two days you can have all of your protective layers of varnish on the boat. Then let it dry for a week or more before giving it a light sanding and a final beauty coat.

That's been my method for my Northeaster Dory and my Shearwater Sport. In both cases the varnish has held up beautifully to subsequent hard use. Here is a link to a bit more discussion of my reasoning.   

RE: Some Questions About Sheawater

My advice on turning the boat would be to get all your "base" layers on the hull first (4 coats, 2 days). Wait a day for it to dry. Then turn the boat over and put all the base layers on your deck. Wait for as long as you can restrain yourself and then put your boat in the water and use it gently. Varnish can take a very long time to dry competely and it is easier to scratch before it is fully dry, so gentle use is important to avoid deep scratches. At the end of the season you can give the boat a full sanding and apply a couple of coats of "beauty" varnish. Let it dry over the winter.   

RE: Some Questions About Sheawater

I agree with the comments above about epoxy.  Better to have too much than to be waiting on a shipment when you want to be building.  I also needed more that was supplied in the kit for my first build.

Regarding varnish, I STRONGLY recommend that you follow the manufacturer's application directions.  Specifically, do not apply wet on wet unless the manufacurer says that you can.  If you have any doubts, call the technical support line and ask.  I did wet on wet on one build and the varnish on that boat ended up very soft and easily scratched.  After calling tech support, I learned that when you apply a fresh coat over a coat that is not fully cured, the new coat prevents the underlying coat from fully drying.  I have used the same varnish (Interlux Schooner) on 5 other boats using the manufacturer's method and they all came out well.

If you use a varnish like Schooner, you can do a coat on half the boat in the morning, allow it to get dru to touch then flip the boat and apply a coat on the other side.  Let it dry overnight, then wet sand the whole boat in the morning before applying the next coat.

Another option is to use a Varnish designed for rapid application.  I have used Epifanes Rapidclear on two kayaks and my GIS.  It is a semi-gloss which can be overcoated after 5 hours without sanding between coats. 



RE: Some Questions About Sheawater

   I never said to apply wet-on-wet. Dry to touch. If you sand between coats you are removing a lot of the varnish you just applied -- though you can minimize that with 400-grit sandpaper. Sanding removes the hard, thin, oxidized coat and exposes "wet" varnish for chemical bonding. The only difference is that you have wasted some of your varnish. 

Mark (and the manufacturers) are right that the varnish will take a long time to reach full hardness (as I stated in my post). But multiple coats of varnish are always going to take a long time to reach full hardness. Sanding between thin coats is a waste of time, energy, and varnish -- in my humble opinion. And the hard finish on my boats is all the proof I need.

Either way you choose to do it, you will end up with a great boat.

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