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Re: First Time Builder Mistakes

Posted by: Doug Keaster on December 16, 1999

It's kinda funny how canoe builders often think alike. I must admit that I'm not a kayak builder...in fact I've never even sat in a kayak before so I was a little hesitant to bring up any "new" topics in a kayak building board. But, I have built quite a few canoes and because the "other" boards seem so slow right now (I wonder why that is) I meant to start a thread with the general topics of 1) what mistakes have you made in your baotbuilding, 2) what tips do you have based on your experiences. I don't know if it's been done before...I suppose it has but it never hurts to review right? :-)

My first major mistake was getting some discount cloth that was just barely compatible with the S3 epoxy I use. It was too cool and the cloth was just wrong, so much so that the epoxy took FOREVER to soak into the glass. I had to tear all of the glass out of the inside of the canoe because it was obvious that it wasn't going to work. Lesson learned: use quality materials!!!!

Here's a tip that I found works for me.... I use S3's Clear Coat to wet out my cloth. I then use regular S3 to build up the fill and final coats. One thing I do to avoid the many runs and sags that take forever to sand out is to put on many super thin coats of epoxy instead of just the normal 3 or 4. For example, on a 18' canoe, after I wet out the cloth with clear coat, I will typically put on another 8-10 coats of epoxy. The trick here is to use very small amounts and spread it over the entire canoe. I use small 7oz. cups and I suppose there may be 5 or so oz. of epoxy per coat. The first couple of coats after the clear coat do take more though...perhaps twice that amount but once the weave starts to dissapear the coats get thinner and thinner. What I end up with is a smooth, flawless finish that takes just a short while to sand. It may sound like alot of work putting on all of thaose coats but it goes very quick and the resulting finish is well worth it for me. I also have less waste as I'm not dribbling a big scraper full of epoxy onto the floor as I try to spread out 20 oz. of goo. Anyone elso wish to contribute? Doug

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