Building the "Swiss Army Knife" of Small Boats...Wood Duck Double #27: Sanding the Boat

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Blog entry by DustyMark posted 07-16-2020 01:14 AM 734 reads 0 times favorited 0 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 26: Fiberglassing the Coaming Ring Part 27 of Building the "Swiss Army Knife" of Small Boats...Wood Duck Double series Part 28: Apply Keel Rub Strip »

Running Out of Epoxy
I’m at the very end of my epoxy and will need to supplement with a different brand available locally. That twist nudged me to sand the boat and possibly use the remaining epoxy for touch-up after sanding. The kit contents completed the build. It’s the extras like the Dynel rub strip and hip braces that make an extra purchase necessary.

This photo shows the irregularities in the epoxy finish even after a good squeegee with a spreader. The 80-grit disc knocks it down quite well. I’m thankful for the good dust collection of this tool since I’m sanding the kayak in the future guest room!

Hull-to-deck seam scuffed up to show what needs to be feathered.

Progress made at feathering the joint. The goal on sanding is to remove excess epoxy, but not cut into the fiberglass weave. When feathering a joint, you obviously need to cut into the weave to blend it in. Four ounce fiberglass cloth is a challenge to sand as it doesn’t hold much epoxy and it’s easy to sand through. Edges are especially challenging and the build plans recommend hand sanding the edges. I’ve got a good feel for it and just dial back my RPM and used a more worn disc when working the edges. I only sanded through in one spot on this boat…

Half the hull sanded.

Photo shows transition from completely feathered to almost feathered.

Hull sanding complete. This photo shows the one spot I sanded through the fiberglass. I’m adding a strip of Dynel to the keel, so I won’t need to fix it separately. Dynel is a very abrasion resistant cloth when soaked with epoxy. This is often applied to the bottom of canoes to make them more durable. I applied a strip to my skin-on-frame rowing shell and it’s held up to some serious abuse.

Punch List
There are lots of little things to complete at the end of a boat build. Today’s punch list included, 1) Applied second coat of epoxy to hatch openings, under deck lids, and on coaming ring. 2) Applied fillet under the coaming ring. 3) Sanded the kayak.

The coaming ring seems awful thin, so I followed the kit instructions and beefed it up with a fillet underneath. I used silica as a filler since it makes a smoother fillet, if done well. Silica is harder to sand than wood flour, but I made a special spreader and it turned out real clean. I shouldn’t need to sand the fillet much, if any.

I’ll depart from the plan and fit hip braces to transition this boat from a “recreational” to more of a “performance” kayak. The hull is a great design. It’s the wide-open, loose cockpit that degrades it to recreational status. My modifications should make the boat straddle both categories…

-- Mark, Minnesota

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