Construction - Fiberglass

After a lot of computer drafting and calculations I completed my hull lines and rib drawings.  I will not share them as they are direct take-offs of the plans BC Ferries gave me.

1) I started by spray gluing the rib drawings onto a piece of 1/8" doorskin.


2)  I then cut them out using a band saw and disk sander.

3)  Because I am making fiberglass moulds strength isn't the a issue right know so I hot glued the ribs to a piece of 3/4 inch particle board.  This gives it a sturdy backing and easy removal later.

4)  After all the ribs were laid out I started by putting some 1/8"x1/4" balsa strips along the bottom plate and edges of the ship as they are easily bend to give me a solid edge.

5)  Then I started to plank the hull with 1/8"x3" balsa boards witch bend extremely well when soaked in bathtub for 20 min and the surface blow dried.  And later I will explain why there is no bow section yet.

6)  After I finished Planking the hull I started on the bow section.  In order to get the extreme curves here I could either fuss with bending strips of wood or just build it up.  I chose the later of the two.  Once again using the computer I generated a rib for every 1/8" and glued them onto wood just like with the main ribs.  I then laminated the pieces together to form a solid block with the right shape for the bow. (Forgot to take picture)

7)  Then I sanded out all the bad shaping defects.

8)  A coat of auto body filler was then applied to all cracks seems and the bow, sanded and reapplied.

9)  Now I am applying some very fine auto body filler to the entire hull witch will be sanded and reapplied and sanded.

Notice the new bed sheet apparently my mom doesn't approve of sleeping in epoxy and Bondo residue, so had to buy a new sheet and I have to work on my boat in the garage now and store it in my room.  

10) Again I Forgot to take a picture, but I smoothed the hull down and then sprayed it with sandable primer.  I sanded that out with 220 and sprayed again and sanded again. Then I put on a final coat and sanded it with 400 wet/dry. 

11) We then waxed it twice and sprayed it with PVA mould release.  It was kind of old so it pitted a little.

12) After letting it dry overnight we put the first layer of fiberglass on. 

13) The next day I put on 2 more layers.  Later that day we popped her off.  It wasn't perfect because the PVA pitted this will be sanded out with 400 wet/dry, and I will buy new PVA.

14) Now I know why we don't build ships out of balsa.


15) It is now time to burn the plug.  This was kind of uneventful so I didn't take any pictures.

16) After doing some repairs to the mold including a few air bubbles and a hole from a large chunk of dirt that had stuck to the cloth I was ready to start making my parts.  I also added supports to it.

pic to come

17) The mold is waxed and sprayed with PVA again.  Then a single layer of fiberglass mat is applied and allowed to cure.  The next day I applied 2 more layers of mat.  The reason I start with one is that it is much easier to get all the bubbles out of one layer than 3, also when you apply a layer on top of a wet layer the bottom layer tends to move around and creates air bubbles when you work the new one in.

 18) Popped that bad boy out and repeated step 16 for the second half.

19) as you can see the edges of the part are rough and undefined I put the parts back in the mold and used the mold to draw a line along the top of the hull.  I then use a zip-disk and a grinder to get the clean edges.

20) I then used a grinder to shape the ends of the parts so they fit together properly.  I also shaped a wedge into the ends so they were sharp. 

21) Then I aligned the parts on a piece of plywood with steel to make sure it was flat and true.  Then I applied 2 layers of fiberglass to the outside of the seem in the 2 parts.

  22) The next day I flipped her over and put another 3 layers of glass on the inside along the seem.  GOOD AND STRONG.

Ok this step is kind of confusing so here is a diagram of how it worked.  The divots on the exterior were filled with bondo.

Fiberglass bond section

 23) I now had a sealed hull.  I had to do it.  I put her in the hot tub and had to put the equivalent of 3 car Batteries or 90 pounds in her to get her to the waterline.  DAMN she is goanna be heavy.  Then for kicks a had a little 4 year old girl sit in it and float around.

And another interesting Image.