Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Two Down, One To Go

The largest panel yet, weighing in at 1650mm x 1005mm!

I am becoming more confident with the fibre to resin ratios, using less resin than the weight of cloth.

Mixing the resin and wetting out the glass fibre whilst the temperature is a little cooler than ideal buys me a little time and helps to ensure a full wet out without the resin gelling, before getting the bag sealed and the vacuum pulled, the heat is then ramped using the cardboard oven and left overnight for a full cure.

This panel is enough for both bow sections, the next challenge is the final panel measuring 1005mm x 2440mm!

Sunday, 16 March 2014

One Down, Two To Go

It's been a pleasant week off from work and working on my boat never feels like work, there's a lesson in there I'm sure...

"Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life" Confucius.

A lot of this week has been spent on my hands and knees, I now have two, 1 metre by 1.2 metre laminated panels ready to shape in to the main bulkhead... and a pair of sore knees!

That leaves two full sheets of foam core to work with, I'll no doubt run out but it will complete the bulk of the project. There's the forward watertight bulkheads to construct, a pair of bunks, stowage compartments on port and starboard, immediately aft of the main bulkhead and the new companionway hatch arrangement.

Friday, 14 March 2014


After numerous communications with people in the know, I had a short list of possible causes.

Gurit suggested I had applied the vacuum too early, waiting for the resin to begin to gel was advised.

East Coast Fibreglass Supplies suggested the laminate was insufficiently cured before debagging and peeling, they have very kindly sent a sample of teflon peel ply and perforated release film for me to try.

And, Tor recommended perforated core material to equalise the vacuum pressure and release film between the peel ply and breather.

Yesterday I ran another test, using fast hardener rather than the standard used before and waiting a while before applying vacuum, I laminated another piece. Leaving the laminate in a cardboard oven overnight...

...the result is very satisfactory!

The laminate appears to be well saturated and yet there is still plenty of resin in the breather/peel ply material, perhaps I am using too much resin in the first place?

No perforated release film was used in the making of this laminate!

Wednesday, 12 March 2014


Good... and not so good!

The vacuum bag, from the laminating table up, consisted of vacuum bag, peel ply, glass cloth, foam core, glass cloth, peel ply, breather and vacuum bag.

Peeling the bag apart this morning the side of the foam core with just the peel ply looks excellent, really pleased to see an even finish and super flat too...

...however, the upper most side, the side with the addition of breather material has failed. It would appear that the breather has drawn the resin away from the foam core, as I peeled the peel ply and breather away from the laminate the laminate came with it!

Any minute now Tor will leave me a message to tell me where I am going wrong...

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

The Test Bed

I know, I know, it's been a long time but one thing leads to another and before you know it...

I have a whole week of annual leave to squander on my little boat and so far I have been blessed with lovely sunshine. Yesterday was spent with a sander in my hands, there will be further sanding, filling and fairing before the hull and keel are up to scratch.

Today I conducted a test, having spent time over several months gathering materials and equipment necessary for vacuum bagging. I converted my pressure cooker from the Red Admiral days in to a catch pot with vacuum gauge...

...the handle on the lid snapped off on my return from Newport so I'll be needing a replacement!

I've taken a small sample of the G-PET foam core I bought months ago and laminated a piece of 600 gsm biaxial glass cloth to each side of the foam using Ampreg 20. The resin has a fairly long open time, giving you the breathing space to work with larger pieces before it all starts to gel.

There's a leak somewhere in the system, with so many connections I'll have to chase it down and I'm pretty certain it's not within the vacuum bag itself?!

So far so good, at least what I can see of it looking through the vacuum bag, breather, peel ply etc.

I'll know either way come the morning...