Bubbles version 2.0: DONE!!!

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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Corwin C » Tue Apr 02, 2013 11:15 pm

Martinjmpr wrote:

I'm thinking that that is just a clear coat that is checking where the wood grain is stressed from bending.

I wonder if you could sand it down, lay 6oz cloth with epoxy, fill the weave with epoxy, thus reinforcing the wood grain, stopping the checking and keeping that woody look. Just a thought, not sure if it is as easy as it sounds. ;)


I'm not understanding. :NC

Do you mean lay the glass fiber on top of the wood and then epoxy it? What would that look like? Do you have any pictures of what that might look like on wood?

I'm pretty much open to suggestions, I just have never done any of this so I need to know what my options are, hence the post I linked to above.


This is a cedar-strip canoe that my brother built and I helped fiberglass. I have one of my own, but it's not nearly as photogenic. There is a single layer of 6oz. plainweave cloth inside and out and the outside bottom, bow, and stern has an additional layer of 6oz. cloth for abrasion resistance. As you can see, the fiberglass fabric disappears into the epoxy (even where it is doubled up) and lets the wood shine through. You actually have to look quite closely to see the fiberglass at all.

Image

It is a do-it yourself process, but it does take a little know how and effort to pull it off. I would recommend fiberglassing a small project before tackling the roof of your tear. It is also more expensive than other finishes, but as you can see, the result can be worth the effort/expense. The process would involve sanding off the existing finish, cleaning it to dust-free, draping the fabric over the area(s) to be finished, properly mixing the epoxy (critical to follow the instructions that come with your epoxy, small batches are key to success), spreading the epoxy and pushing it through the weave of the fabric (easy, but once you start you have to finish), repeat applications of epoxy to fill the textured weave that comes through the epoxy from the fabric (follow the directions for your epoxy, some require a complete cure and sanding between coats), sanding smooth, then finally finishing with a UV resistant varnish. The varnish will have to be re-applied (seasonally depending upon exposure to the elements) to keep it effective at protecting the epoxy from UV light, so it's not a maintenance free finish.

My recommendation would be to use lighter cloth, you're not looking for strength, just a stable finish. If it was mine I would use 4oz. or possibly even 2oz. plainweave fiberglass fabric. This will also take less epoxy. Make sure that you're epoxy is for clear coating ... others may leave a hazy or even semi-opaque finish. I use RAKA epoxy but there are many other good brands out there. The manufacturer of your epoxy/fiberglass can give you an idea of how much you will need if you have a surface area measurement for them.

Best Wishes!
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:13 am

No pictures but I got my axle yesterday. :twisted:

Wish I still had the old one just so I could take a side by side picture for comparison. But I'll put it this way, it took two of us to lift the old axle up into the bed of the buyer's truck and even then we were struggling.

By contrast, the 2000lb axle I just picked up, I could carry with one hand. :thumbsup:

I even found a local guy on CL who has 3 15" wheels that he will sell me for $20 (for all three!) Hoping to pick them up tonight. I'm sure I'll have to paint them but that's easy. By the end of the weekend I'm hoping to have both the axle and the wheels and tires on!

Stay tuned! ;)
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Wed Apr 03, 2013 9:20 am

Corwin C wrote: This is a cedar-strip canoe that my brother built and I helped fiberglass. I have one of my own, but it's not nearly as photogenic. There is a single layer of 6oz. plainweave cloth inside and out and the outside bottom, bow, and stern has an additional layer of 6oz. cloth for abrasion resistance. As you can see, the fiberglass fabric disappears into the epoxy (even where it is doubled up) and lets the wood shine through. You actually have to look quite closely to see the fiberglass at all.

Image

It is a do-it yourself process, but it does take a little know how and effort to pull it off. I would recommend fiberglassing a small project before tackling the roof of your tear. It is also more expensive than other finishes, but as you can see, the result can be worth the effort/expense. The process would involve sanding off the existing finish, cleaning it to dust-free, draping the fabric over the area(s) to be finished, properly mixing the epoxy (critical to follow the instructions that come with your epoxy, small batches are key to success), spreading the epoxy and pushing it through the weave of the fabric (easy, but once you start you have to finish), repeat applications of epoxy to fill the textured weave that comes through the epoxy from the fabric (follow the directions for your epoxy, some require a complete cure and sanding between coats), sanding smooth, then finally finishing with a UV resistant varnish. The varnish will have to be re-applied (seasonally depending upon exposure to the elements) to keep it effective at protecting the epoxy from UV light, so it's not a maintenance free finish.


Thanks! That canoe is gorgeous, BTW!

I think that is exactly what we need to do. And yes, as I was thinking about this yesterday I thought maybe I'd build a small box or something and try the process out on that, first, just to be sure! :D

Of all the options, I think this one has the advantage of being something the wife and I could do ourselves, in our garage. It also preserves the gorgeous all-wood look of our TD. We have until the end of June but ideally I'd like to be ready to go by mid-May if at all possible - that may be a stretch, though!

I appreciate all the input - this is a great forum with a lot of knowledgeable folks, so thanks again! :thumbsup:
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Corwin C » Wed Apr 03, 2013 10:59 pm

Martinjmpr wrote:Of all the options, I think this one has the advantage of being something the wife and I could do ourselves, in our garage. It also preserves the gorgeous all-wood look of our TD. We have until the end of June but ideally I'd like to be ready to go by mid-May if at all possible - that may be a stretch, though!


It is possible to meet that deadline, but you are looking at quite a bit of work. Don't let me spook you away, but here is a little advice from someone who has done it before...

If you can find someone who has done this before, their assistance will be comforting as you "dive in." I have every confidence that you will be able to do this without help, but it's a big scary step to dump that first batch of epoxy on the glass and start working it in.

Follow the instructions that come with your epoxy ... each formulation is different, so read and follow them. This can not be over stressed. Your success depends upon it. Every manufacturer I have dealt with has been happy to answer questions and give advice, so use them if you're unsure of anything.

The initial layer on the roof/front will be the hardest. It is going to be up high and you're not going to be able to avoid having a vertical surface somewhere in the process, so do part of your small project vertical (or even slightly upside down) so you can see how that works. It is possible, but requires diligent attention. You will find that you have to keep adjusting the epoxy as it sets to avoid big runs, thin spots, and puddles. Watch for bubbles and push them out with your gloved fingers before they set. Keep a "wet" edge as you move over the top of your tear, so start on one end and work your way to the other. I would suggest the hatch line and move forward as this will give you the opportunity to watch the front closely at the end and make sure everything stays in place. Resist doing one side of the top and then the other because you will end up with a line down the middle. Work all the way across as you go. Little runs aren't worth chasing, you will just sand them off in the end, but keep those big ones pushed uphill. I prefer a 6" - 8" squeegee to do this. When the epoxy no longer moves and starts to polymerize, leave it alone, you don't want to pull or snag the fabric underneath.

Look back at your work as you go and take care of issues as you see them. It will take you long enough that where you start will be set up before you get to the other end.

It will take all of your attention when you do this, so make sure you have the time when you start as you will have to wet out all of the fabric in one session. NO DISTRACTIONS, turn off the cell phone. If you have small children at home, having a baby sitter to keep them occupied wouldn't be a bad idea. I would suggest taking the hatch off and doing it separately. It will be much easier because you can lay it down at a convenient height and relatively flat.

Extra hands are a good idea. It helps tremendously to have a trusted helper mix small batches of epoxy while you apply it. Stir it more than you think you need to, scraping the sides and bottom of you mixing container repeatedly and try not to whip in any air. The "pot life" is the amount of time you have to get it applied, so only mix up what you can put down in about 1/2 the pot life at a time. Temperature will affect this time, so be prepared. A thin layer of epoxy sets up slower than a thick one.

If the epoxy starts to set up in your container, discard it and mix up a new batch. It will cause you problems if you try to hurry it.

Keep scissors, single edge razor blades handy if you need to cut or slit the fabric to get it to lay down smoothly. Leave scissors all the way open if they get epoxy on them and you may be able to rescue them when it sets up. If they're closed, there's almost no chance.

Double up your gloves (you will tear some so have plenty of extras), protect the floor, use disposable tools (make sure they're compatible with your epoxy), and most of all, wear clothes that you don't mind throwing away when you're done.

I have faith in you ... now go for it!
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby PKCSPT » Thu Apr 04, 2013 1:53 am

Can't wait to see the final result.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby TPMcGinty » Thu Apr 04, 2013 9:40 am

Martin,

If you decide to fiberglass or just clear coat with epoxy, do you have a heated garage or shop? The epoxy I used required a constant temperature over 50F in order for the epoxy to cure correctly. I wanted to have my Tear refinished by May but I had to wait for warmer weather so the finish cured correctly. I didn't have a heated space to work in.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:06 am

TPMcGinty wrote:Martin,

If you decide to fiberglass or just clear coat with epoxy, do you have a heated garage or shop? The epoxy I used required a constant temperature over 50F in order for the epoxy to cure correctly. I wanted to have my Tear refinished by May but I had to wait for warmer weather so the finish cured correctly. I didn't have a heated space to work in.


Good point. I have a garage and can probably borrow or buy a heater to keep it warm.

Can someone explain the different processes between epoxy and epoxy + glass? If we go with the epoxy only do we just "paint" it over the surface? Can anyone point to any on-line guides or Youtube videos of this process?

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby TPMcGinty » Thu Apr 04, 2013 10:33 am

Martinjmpr wrote:
Can someone explain the different processes between epoxy and epoxy + glass? If we go with the epoxy only do we just "paint" it over the surface? Can anyone point to any on-line guides or Youtube videos of this process?

Thanks in advance! :thumbsup:

This is what I used:

http://www.raka.com/manual.html
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby KCStudly » Thu Apr 04, 2013 2:43 pm

Again, I'm not an expert, but the point of the glass is to reinforce the wood and stop the stress induced splintering/splitting. The epoxy alone is not that strong in tension so it will do little to improve your current situation if you do not include the glass reinforcing.

+1 on seeking help from someone with experience, especially if you do not have time to experiment and work your way up to the bigger project.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Corwin C » Thu Apr 04, 2013 6:59 pm

Martinjmpr wrote:Can anyone point to any on-line guides or Youtube videos of this process?


This is from West Systems (another good manufacturer). The system that they are showing is not their clear coat. They do have one, however, and the process is the same.



Here are a few that are not real informative, but you can see someone roll it on and how the fiberglass becomes transparent.





There are lots and lots of videos on youtube ... feel free to look at them, many have excellent ideas/techniques.
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Part 5...

Postby Martinjmpr » Fri Apr 05, 2013 7:51 am

We had a gorgeous warm evening yesterday so I had time to put the axle on.

Here's a nice comparison between axles. This is the old Dayton axle:

Image

And here's the new one:

Image

It took me and the buyer a good deal of effort to lift the old axle into the bed of his truck. This one I could pick up with one hand!

Installation was actually pretty easy. I used a scissor jack to hold the axle in place and then I just bolted it in:

Image

Image

It looks good and I think it has plenty of clearance, so that's a relief.

A couple of days ago I also scored some wheels off of CL. Of course, they weren't in great shape...

Image

Image

But they aren't dented, the rust seems to be just surface rust and they're structurally sound otherwise. Best of all, they were $20 for all three.

I did a "test fit" to make sure they'd work on the axle, and they do:

Image

OK, I've never built a trailer before so I don't know: Does this look like enough clearance for the wheel & tire?

Image

We're going to try and go with as low profile a tire as we can (BTW these are 15" wheels) and we'll be putting a fiberglass fender on, does it look like it will clear?

If not, I think I can get a spacer to put between the wheel and the hub, right?

This weekend's project will be to bolt everything up tight, work on making some cabinets for the galley area, and maybe scrubbing and sanding these wheels and shooting them with some primer. If I can get tires by next week that will be great, we can move the trailer around!
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby TPMcGinty » Fri Apr 05, 2013 9:06 am

I have only 1" between my tire and the side wall of my Tear and have never had a problem with it. I guess it will depend on how wide a tire you put on the rim.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Sat Apr 06, 2013 7:22 pm

OK. another productive day! Tightened up the axle and put on a set of temporary wheels (off of my little utility trailer) so we could move her around.

The drop in height is amazing! We love how low she sits now! Here's the comparison:

Before:

Image

After:

Image

I would imagine we lost almost a foot of height, which will make the trailer more comfortable to use and easier to tow. Of course, this is with little 12" wheels off my utility trailer, Bubbles is eventually going to get 15" wheels and tires that will move her up maybe another 4" or so.
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby S. Heisley » Sat Apr 06, 2013 8:33 pm

Surprisingly, Bubbles looks a lot better with the smaller wheels. :thumbsup:
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Re: Bubbles version 2.0: The Buildup Begins!

Postby Martinjmpr » Mon Apr 08, 2013 9:39 am

S. Heisley wrote:Surprisingly, Bubbles looks a lot better with the smaller wheels. :thumbsup:


Well, she won't have those little 12" wheels when we get done. I pulled those off of my little around-town utility trailer that I call my "$100 speacial (because that's how much I paid for it) and as soon as I have tires and wheels for bubbles, those little wheels will go back on the utility trailer.

I have some 15" chrome rims I got off of CL that need to be cleaned up and painted black, and those will be our wheels. But the low-ness is really nice. We can actually use the galley (if you look at some of the pictures from our 2012 Oregon trip, Liz was trying to cook but the galley was about at her shoulder height! She literally could not see into the pan to tell if the food was done so she had to ask me!)
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