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How to Build a Boat – Flats River Skiff Part 7

how to fiberglass

You can build your own boat using our plans and instructional videos! The 7th video in the FRS12 how-to build a boat series shows how to fiberglass the boat hull with epoxy resin. This includes laying fiberglass, wetting out the fiberglass, trimming fiberglass and applying fairing filler for easier sanding.

Before You Fiberglass the Boat

We’ve rolled the boat over and the bottom is a little wavy, so we’ve pulled it up and pushed it down where we needed it.  Then we pulled thickened epoxy between our zip ties.  Once the epoxy cures, we can take all the weight off, cut the zip ties out, and we’ll be ready to prep for glass.

Dry Fit the Fiberglass

We dry fit our fiberglass.  Start by sanding the bottom and sides of the boat.  We put a 1/4″ radius on the edges so our fiberglass will wrap over easier.  To cut the fiberglass, we’re going to cut it six inches longer than the length at the shear, and we’re going to cut it a half inch to an inch longer than our widest dimension.  The fiberglass will be longer at the front, so we’ll trim it.  We marked ours with a sharpie and cut it with scissors.  Just be careful not to nick the fiberglass and pull it apart, because that could show us as an imperfection later in the process you’ll have to work out.

Your edge at the shear bumper can over hang.  This is a great way, if you’re unsure of where to cut it.  We left it a little long at the shear bumper to make sure we don’t come up short.  We can trim it off later when it cures.

The order that we’re applying the fiberglass is the same order we’ll apply it when wet.  We’ll start with our sides and then move to the bottom.

So we have the other side on, cut the same way.  Two inches of overlap at the front, four inches at the back.  The bottom piece is already cut, so we’ll roll it out to show how that is.

The bottom piece of fiberglass will overhang the edges.  Once it cures, we’ll trim it off.  The reason for the overhang is to reinforce the edge.

We also have a six inch wide strip that goes down the keel and reinforces it, that gives us wear resistance.  Both pieces of fiberglass overlap four inches at the rear.

Fill All Holes with Thickened Epoxy Before Applying Fiberglass

We have all the holes from the zip ties, and the seam from our plywood.  We’re going to fill all of it in right before we fiberglass.  I like to do it right before so that I don’t have to sand it.  But, you can do it, let it dry, sand it, and then apply your fiberglass.

What we can do, is take an old shopping card, mix up thickened epoxy, and pull it through, packing it into the holes.  Some will go through.  We’ll clean that up on the other side when we flip the boat over.  Don’t worry about it.

We filled all the holes and cracks in the whole boat with thickened epoxy.  Now we’re going to cover the whole boat in epoxy in preparation for glass.  We can use a chip brush or a foam roller.

How to Fiberglass the Boat

Now that we’ve covered the whole boat in epoxy, we can apply our fiberglass.  We’ll start with the sides.

After it’s laid loosely in position, I’ll come back and work each area to get it to lay down exactly like I want it.

We finished apply the piece of fiberglass, and some of the areas wet through and some haven’t.  We’ll take our brush or roller and apply another coat of resin.

The fiberglass is all applied.  We have both sides, the bottom and the keel strip on.  Let it get tacky.  Normally it will take 1-3 hours depending on your temperature.  Hotter temperature = quicker cure.

Flood Coat of Fairing Filler

Next we’re going to do a flood coat.  We’ve mixed epoxy and added a microlight fairing filler.  The purpose of the fairing filler is so you can sand the top of resin without sanding away the fiberglass.  Using a chip brush, I’ll brush on a light coat to the entire hull.

The fiberglass is cured.  We trimmed off the edges, sanding them smooth.  Just be careful not to sand through the fiberglass.  Now we’ll roll it over and start glassing the inside.

Build your own boat using our stitch and glue boat plans and instructional videos.

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How to Build a Boat – Flats River Skiff Part 6

how to install stringers

Build your own boat using our plywood boat plans and instructional videos.

This is the sixth video of the FRS12 how to build a boat series where we build a plywood boat.  We cover installing floor supports and the outer shear bumper. This is the final step before flipping the boat over to fiberglass. These plywood boat plans and more are available for purchase, and come with full size patterns.

How to Build the Boat

We’ve installed our floor supports that are 1×1″ cypress strips.  To mark their location we used a straight edge on top of the stringers and transverse frames and marked it with pencil.  Then we cut our pieces to size and dry fitted them.

We notched the floor supports so the wood would take the shape easier.  The notches are about 1 inch apart and half inch deep.  After they were dry fitted, we pull them off, applied thickened epoxy to the back of the cypress strips, then re-installed them using screws from the outside.  Don’t worry about the holes, they’ll be covered up when we glass the outside.

Then we clean off all the thickened epoxy off the top and bottom of the floor supports, so it’s easier in preparation for putting our floor down.

How to Install the Shear Bumper

Next we’ll install our shear bumper.  I’ve chosen to use cypress, and mine is half inch thick by one inch tall.  The first thing you want to do is dry fit the shear bumper.  You’ll take the end and set it up at the stem, and without any clamps, you’ll roll it around.  I like to start at the front bulk head.  Then I’ll work my way back, following the top of the boat.  Now that I’ve got it held in two places, I’ll come back and work my way forward.

The plywood can be wavy in an unsupported section, especially along the shear.  That’s why we go ahead and install the outer shear bumper.  At the front, once you secure it, you’re going to want to stand back from the boat and look at it to make sure the shear bumper is in a fair curve.  Chances are, there might be a few imperfections.  That’s normal, and if you need to tweak it, and sand down the top, that’s ok.

So once the shear bumper has been dry fitted, we’ll mark where it goes.  We’ll pull it apart, and apply thickened epoxy, and clamp it back on.  We’ll let it cure before we flip the boat over and fiberglass it.

How to Install a Stem

We installed a stem at the front of the boat to reinforce it.  We cut it down to shape and glued it in with thickened epoxy.  Whenever we mount a d-ring on the front of the boat, it gives us something to drill in and something for our bolts to bite into.

You can build your own boat using our plywood boat plans and instructional videos!

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How to Build a Boat – Flats River Skiff Part 5

how to mix epoxy

This is the fifth video in the FRS12 how to build a boat series where we build a plywood boat.  We cover how to pull epoxy fillets.  This shows how the frames are epoxied to the hull with epoxy fillets and the individual plywood pieces become one large piece.  This is where a boat is born!  These plywood boat plans and more are available for purchase, and come with full size patterns.

How to Pull Epoxy Fillets

We’ve mixed thickened epoxy and spread it out on the board, because it’s so hot, so it doesn’t cure in the cup.  We will pull fillets in between the zip ties.  That will hold our boat together, and then we’ll cut out the zip ties.

Once the fillets are pulled (but not cured) we use a putty knife to clean up all the epoxy that pushed out the side and smear it on the board to reuse it.

We pulled the fillets and cleaned it up.  Now we’re going to let it cure and cut our zip ties.  Then we’ll pull the fillets in between.  But first we’re going to pull the fillets in the whole boat, all the way to the front.

All the fillets are pulled, and we’ve cut all the zip ties out, expect for those holding the bottom to the chine.

After You Pull Epoxy Fillets

We supported the keel all the way down the center with a straight 2×4.  Then we covered it in plastic (or tape) so the epoxy doesn’t drip down and bond the 2×4 to the boat.

Now we’ve mixed up some thickened epoxy, got a spreader and are going to use the flat side.  We’ll use a little pressure as we pull to shove it into any cracks or holes.

We’ve applied just enough pressure so that we’ve pushed the epoxy down into the crack of the wood.  This fills the holes, but we haven’t applied too much pressure that we’ve bent it into a full curve.  So there is epoxy built up above the plywood.  That’s what your glass will lay on.  And we’re going to do that all the way from the front bulkhead to the transom.

Let the Epoxy Cure

So after we cut our zip ties and applied our thickened epoxy, our plywood wanted to lift and relax a little bit, not staying in contact with the 2×4 underneath.  To ensure we keep a straight keel, we apply a little bit a weight at the keel from what ever we had around the garage, which keeps our bottom on the 2×4 and keeps our bottom straight.

You can build your own boat using our plans and instructional how to videos!