Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

I am building the Shearwater 17 and I am about to join the panels.  The panels have puzzle joints, which according to the manual are 1st glued and then reinforced with fiberglass tape over the joint. Is this a 2 part process, in that the fiberglass tape is applied after the epoxy has dried, or should the fiberglass tape be applied at the time the joints are joined?

 Many thanks in advance. 

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RE: Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

It's a one part process. Glue the edges, put the pieces together, put a 4inch wide swath of glue on the inside of the joint then lay the fiberglass tape on. I made a big mess putting glue into the edges of the joint and had a bit of sanding to do on the outside, so go easy on that.


RE: Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

I have had a bit of confusion with the manual as well.  3 of us the other day couldn't agree that the manual was saying the same to each of us.  Now the voices in my head get  a bit loud sometimes so that may be part of my problem...


But, we were confused on one point of this process ourselves.  For the joint, you mix some celo fil with the epoxy, but for the 4'' swath, should that be plain epoxy or with the celo fil?  We went halfway and did the bed of epoxy with celo fil (it was already mixed and ready to go) and wetted out with fresh plain epoxy.   

RE: Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

And were you satisfied with the result?

RE: Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

For our first try?  Yes, I think we were pretty happy.  The extra fiberglass was REALLY hard to trim, suprisingly so.  I wonder if the celo fil makes the cutting harder.  I am thinking that MAY be the case only because it was only hard to trim right up against the boat, 3 mm out and it cut easily. The only place the celo fil would have been would have been right on the edge as we wetted out with plain.  But maybe we are about to learn how fun it is to cut and sand epoxy. :D

 Check out some pics! 

RE: Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

I checked out your pics - looks good so far.  I guess I'll be a few days behind you as I begin to build my Shearwater.  Good luck to you.

RE: Gluing puzzle joints - Shearwater 17

I'm building a S&G Shearwater16 with Eric Schade (the designer of the Shearwater boats) in a boat class at the Bath (Maine) Marine Museum.

Here's how we did it in class: We laid out the two pieces to be joined on a flat surface, and fit the puzzle joint together.

Then we put a piece of plastic under the joint, so that when the glue and epoxy leaked through to the other side (it will, be assured) we wouldn't be glueing the plywood to the work surface. We made sure that the joined surfaces were flush, and if they weren't, applied weights here and there, a few inches away from the joint, to bring the two halves into a nice flat surface

Just make sure you're epoxying the inside of the joint, not the more visible exterior side.

We then sprayed the puzzle joint with a very quick drying glue (like, 30 seconds) that Eric had. Just a little dab every 3/4" or so, not the whole seam.

We then cut a strip of fiberglass to nicely cover the joint from edge to edge (or maybe we did this before glueing...), mixed a bit of epoxy (clear, no fillers of any sort) and epoxied the glass to the panels. We let them dry overnight, peeled off the plastic, and cleaned up the surface a little. 

The epoxy will leak through to the outside, but we didn't sand it at all until after the hull and deck were joined, and we were sanding the whole assembly prior to glassing.

The "16" that I'm building is actually the original, 21" wide version that isn't listed in the catalogue anymore. The current one has a 23" beam. However, a puzzle joint is a puzzle joint.

Good luck!

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