Fiberglassing Methods

In a recent coversation with a local (very experienced) shipwright, I was given an alternative to the CLC recommended method for applying fiberglass as follows:

1.  Roll on a thin layer of resin and let it cure to tacky. 

2.  Lay the glass on the tacky surface and roll on another thin coat of resin.  Use a metal roller (it looks like a collection of washers on a roller frame) to work out any bubbles.

3.  Apply filler layers as required per CLC recommendations.

 The advantage is supposed to be that the glass cannot float when it is layed on the tacky surface and you end up using less resin.

Has anyone tried anything like this?  I am sure there are plenty of opinions out there in any case.


4 replies:

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RE: Fiberglassing Methods


First off, if you do it that way you have to be very careful to make that first layer be very very thin. Glass layups are at their peak strength when the glass/resin ratio is about 60:40 by weight. If that sub-layer is too thick, then in effect you are floating the glass on a tacky layer of resin instead of a wet one.

The other potential problem I see with that method is that it keeps the glass from sliding. It's like contact cement - once the 2 pieces make contact, good luck getting them apart. There's no possibility for adjustments, smoothing out wrinkles, shaping to curves, etc.

All in all, it looks like a method that could work for someone who's practiced it for a long time, but for a first timer there's a lot of potential for wasted glass & resin.



RE: Fiberglassing Methods

I agree with Laszlo, the hardest part on laying up my yak, was brushing out the wrinkles, something you wouldn't be able to do with a tacky under coat.  Spreading the epoxy was easy, and using a plastic spreader pushes the glass cloth down tight.  Be skimpy on how much you use to wet out just getting enough to wet out the cloth, and then build up the epoxy with added coats.  I had NO problem with the cloth floating.

I can see your method working on a large area of gradual shapes, but would be tough when you have sharp curves of a kayak.


RE: Fiberglassing Methods

I used this technique to cover an old plywood boat with polyester cloth, and to build a Bolger Cartopper.  It was tricky and a lot of work.  I used the CLC method on my Shearwater and found it works fine if you are diligent about seeking out any air bubbles.  I suspect the pre-coating method may be best when using heavier cloth, but the one-coat method works fine with the very light cloth used on the CLC boats.

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