The deck and hull had gotten one fill coat of epoxy that the hatch covers had not, and I want the deck and the hatch covers to have the same depth of epoxy protection before I varnish. So I sanded the hatch covers and gave them one more coat of epoxy. There were also a couple of areas around the port edge of the forward hatch opening where the fiberglass cloth got chewed up a little bit when I was sawing the opening. They showed up after I epoxied as white specks around the opening. At first I thought they would be ok, but the longer I looked at them the more more I realized that they would bug me for the rest of my kayaking life if I didn’t fix them. So I did. It’s not perfect, but it’s better.
A quick word about building a kayak during winter in the Pacific Northwest in an unheated garage. I have done everything I can to isolate my workspace so that I can use a couple of space heaters to get the temperature up enough for the epoxy to cure, but it has its challenges. I can’t leave the space heaters on 24/7, and would worry if they were left on overnight, or while I am at work, etc. As a result, when the heaters are on it’s 60-65 degrees Fahrenheit in the shop, but when the heaters are turned off, it quickly drops to close to whatever the temperature is outside (averaging around 45 degrees F this time of year). So far, it usually takes a couple of days on average for epoxy to cure enough for me to sand it without it being “gummy” and clogging my sandpaper and risking causing bigger problems. I have read with envy, when other builders say that they built their kayaks in a few weeks from start to finish, and can only imagine that either they know something about epoxy resin that I don’t, or they have a nice heated space in which they can epoxy one day and sand the next. I’ll be lucky if I can finish my boat in 16 weeks, and for me, that’s all down to waiting for epoxy to cure enough to move on to the next step (whatever that happens to be).
This is the first fill coat of epoxy after fiberglassing yesterday.
I’ll apply another fill coat tomorrow and then sand, especially where fiberglass cloth overlaps on the cockpit apron and the hull. Then a final fill coat. If you look closely at the photo above of the bow tip, you can see that I have sanded smooth the bits of fiberglass cloth that were sticking out from the bow tip. Things are coming along. After all of the fill coats and sanding the next step is to build the cockpit coaming. EDIT: My intention was to do another fill coat the day after this post, but as per my comment at the top of this post about working in an unheated garage, this first fill coat wasn’t cured enough to sand yesterday.