Monday, March 23, 2009

Fairing, Fiberglassing and Priming

I'm in the middle of a labor-intensive stage of boatbuilding at the moment - still working on all the details of fiberglassing, fairing, sanding and eventually priming and painting of the decks and cabin sides.

The cabin roofs have still not been installed, as I am waiting to finish up some more interior details before closing them in and making access more difficult. But in the meantime I am working to completely finish all other exterior glassing of the cabin trunks and details such as the hatches and lashing cleats so that the decks can be painted. This involves spreading lots of fairing compound (see below) and sanding it smooth so the glass can be laminated over it.

All the joints between the decks and cabin bulkheads get a strip of fiberglass tape to reinforce them in addition to the sheathing on the main surfaces.

The outer surfaces of the hatch coamings, being made of plywood, also have to be sheathed with fiberglass to protect them from checking in the sun and to bond them to the surrounding deck surfaces.

The twelve beam and four shroud lashing cleats are also made of plywood and are separately sheathed with the cloth wrapping around the radiused edges to prevent delamination.

These small details are time consuming but essential to the longevity of the boat.

All the corners of the cabin trunks are reinforced with a separate strip of fiberglass.

And then the main surfaces are sheathed, as you can see below in the example of the aft bulkhead of the starboard cabin.

Working from the bows back, I'm slowly getting the fairing finished and have began applying the undercoating primer, as seen here on the forward part of the foredecks, stems, and bow hatches.

Fairing and priming the decks and cabins is a much bigger job than the hulls, as there are so many surfaces to work around. After the final coats of primer are applied and sanded, the green topside paint will be cut in to the bottom of the sheer stringer. Everything from the sheer stringer up will be painted an Off-White, with symmetrical patches of non-skid on the decks.