PaintChip's Blog
PaintChip's Blog

Asheville-class Patrol Gunboat Mark II

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Entries on 25-October 06

entry Oct 25 2006, 01:08 PM
Work has kept me busier than I could ever imagine and that has taken a toll on hobbies. Today I took a "flex" day off since I'm working 4 ten-hour days this week and dedicated the time today to getting the hull fiberglassed.

A final sanding and a couple of minor fills and we're ready to get messy with epoxy. I had purchased two 9oz kits of Great Planes finishing resin from Tower Hobbies along with two 1 square yard packs of 2oz fiberglass cloth to use. I found that the Great Planes epoxy was more fluid than previous finishing epoxies that I've used and made live much easier when spreading it on the wood. I cut the first sheet of fiberglass into strips and started to lay them down. Before I had tried to get a complete sheet on a hull and fought it the entire time. By using strips I have more control and it was much easier to deal with. After all once the epoxy hardens and the hull is painted nobody will know or care that it wasn't one sheet of glass.

The main body and stern went easily, epoxy, glass, smooth, epoxy, move to next section, rinse, repeat. The transom was a bit more difficult but with a razor I managed to get things to lay down and curve around the transom plate like they should. Slowly but surely the glass went down and about an hour later I was at the point where I was ready to do the bow. Even smaller strips and blocks of fiberglass were the key here. Well that and patience. Another 30 minutes later and the bow was covered.

Not done yet though...after the first layer was done it was time to "armor plate" the hull with yet another layer of fiberglass. Again small strips an blocks made this easier and the second coat went faster than the first.

Now the hull just needs to cure (3 hours to dry and 24 to fully cure) and then I'll have to do some minor trimming and filling to get her ready for another sanding session.

Once she is cured I plan on reinforcing the insides with the remaining epoxy and add some extra basswood where the rudder tubes will be. A balsa platform should fit nicely in the midship to house the motors and batteries and other gear.

Tune in next time for another thrilling episode of "Finishing the hull!"

 
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