“Aaaahhh! Daddy it won’t come off!” Maggie shrilled as she tried to pull of the pile of fine white fiberglass threads from her black sweatpants.
“Welcome to fiberglass Mags,” I replied. “It’s messy stuff. Just wait until we soak it in epoxy!”
Maggie and I had our 4th installment of Boat Building Class last night with a special uninvited guest appearance (more on that later). Last night’s task was to join the two bottom pieces together. With the side and bilge panels, I decided on scarf joints in hopes of preserving the natural flexibility of the wood as well as keeping her looking pretty. For this joint I went with the Payson fiberglass butt joint. I also thought Maggie would find more pleasure in glopping on epoxy rather than watching daddy run the belt sander through another scarf.
I decided I would run both strips of fiberglass at once as opposed to doing one side and then flipping it over after it set up. Maggie’s attention span and my time are both limited so I figured it would be a bit more efficient (or the exact opposite if it did not come out right). So I explained the process from start to finish to Maggie and she listened attentively. We cut out our two 5″ 4oz fiberglass strips and mixed up a batch of Raka epoxy. Maggie was fascinated with how the fiberglass disappeared as we wet it out.
I laid a strip of fiberglass on wax paper on the floor and soaked it thoroughly with epoxy spreading it evenly with a plastic spreader. I then gently butted the two pieces together on the wetted fiberglass being extra careful not to wrinkle the paper or the fiberglass since I would not be able to see it or smooth it out. I then laid a strip of glass on the top of the joint and wetted that out as well. Unfortunately, the sheets would not come together level, so I had to throw a copper nail into the wood through the fiberglass to hold it flat. It worked well, but now I need to figure out what to do with the bottom half of the nail sticking out. I will likely trim it off as close and possible and then sand it down. I finished up wetting out the top strip of fiberglass, covered it with some wax paper, and ironed out all of the air bubbles with the spreader. Maggie was pretty excited to have made fiberglass for the first time and when we checked on it this morning, it set up fantastically! There is one small air bubble about the size of a dime that I will just have to cut out and fair.
From there, I was losing Maggie’s interest a bit so I decided I would just cut some more stem pieces (laminated plywood) and call it a night. About half way through my cut on the band saw I saw a little brown streak fly by. Could it be? I yelled out, “Oscar! I thought I killed you!” My daughter looked at me as if she was certain I had lost my mind.
About 2 years ago I was planing the frames on the stand-up paddleboard in my basement and I had the distinct feeling I was being watched. I looked up to see a small brown mouse sitting on my workbench about 4′ away staring at me. The instant we locked eyes, he nearly killed himself jumping off the bench and making his escape. I saw him again a number of times over the years and maybe it was the epoxy fumes or the late night solitude of the basement, but he and I had some fantastic conversations. For some reason I started calling him Oscar, but eventually decided I had to do away with him. I put some D-Con Mouse Killer down and figured it was done with. Sure I was a little sad to lose my friend, but I’d rather not have mice in my house especially with 3 kids.
Maggie walked over to me and asked me what I was yelling about and I made the mistake of telling her the tale of Oscar. She spent the remainder of the time crawling around the basement saying in the most gentle of gentle voices, “Oscar. You can come out. I won’t hurt you. Ooooosssscaaarrrr.” She then ran up and told my wife how excited she to meet Daddy’s old friend in the basement. So, here I am caught between my two girls. If I put out some mice poison, my daughter will think that I am Satan himself and will likely never forgive me for murdering poor little Oscar. If I don’t, my wife will consider me more of a filthy animal than she already considers me and will likely force a full scale Armageddon purge and cleaning of the basement. I am all for a good cleaning of the work space, but she will take it to a whole different level when I find myself spending multiple hours of potential boat building time scrubbing and epoxy-coating the basement floor. I am thinking “Oscar Murderer” ain’t so bad and I will hope the kids have short, forgiving memories.
Thank you for reading!