Perfect wetout

To get a perfect wet-out of your glass you will need to follow many guidelines not provided by the epoxy and glass manufacturers but are available from experienced glassers.  I am happy to share some of my knowledge knowing how difficult it is to learn by trial and error.

First, read the instructions on your epoxy and be sure to talk with the supplier of your glass to ensure you have the right materials and understand the basics of handling their materials.  Epoxy must be mixed at certain ratios and you must not deviate from them for any reason.  No reason at all. Glass must be of the right weight and have the right coating to allow a good wet out.  Your glass supplier will tell you what glass you need in 4 or 6 oz and epoxy will label the ratio.

temperature is extremely important!  You must glass at high temperatures, the higher the better up to 85 degrees F.  I heat my shop to 85 to 90 degrees and then let the temperature begin to drop.  Glassing in rising temperatures will cause out-gassing of the wood, resulting in foaming of your epoxy and air bubbles in your glass. Try to maintain a temp of 70 minimum as your epoxy cures for the fastest cure rate. 

Lay your glass over your hull and smooth it out carefully to achieve a smoothly draped cloth with no ripples or pleats.  Trying to glass and smooth at the same time will be a real pain.

Warm your epoxy with a heat lamp or water bath to 75-80 degrees and mix small batches at the right ratio.  Mix for 1 minute and then poor into a new cup and mix again for one minute scrapping the sides and bottom of the cup.

Use a thin 1/4″ foam cabinet roller or epoxy roller cover.   These can come in different lengths but cut the longer ones down to 3 inches or so for working on your boat.  Let the roller cover soak in epoxy for about 5 minutes to allow air to escape and then begin brushing epoxy over your glass.

Roll the epoxy on in a thick enough coating to allow the glass to soak up epoxy and become transparent but take care to make the coating thin enough that you do not have a lot of runs and drips.  As you coat the glass you can run your roller over your glassed area a second time to even out the coating and spread the epoxy more evenly.  Continue to wet out the entire side of the boat and then check the starting point to see if the cure is proceeding fast enough to require squeegeeing. you should be able to glass the entire boat before you need to squeegee.  

Finish the second side of the boat, using your roller to paint the epoxy onto the glass.  Make sure you get good coverage and that you do not leave any glass visible.  you will be able to see the texture of the glass because your first coat will not fill the weave but only soak into the glass and wood. If you see white fibers of glass you do not have a complete wet out.

After glassing you must use a heat gun to quickly pass over the hull to raise and pop air bubbles that have formed in the epoxy.  move the gun in a smooth steady pattern over the boat to make sure you do not overheat an area.  Move quickly to pop bubbles but do not attempt to heat the epoxy.

As soon as the epoxy has a cold honey thickness to it you must use a plastic auto body squeegee to remove excess epoxy and press the glass tightly against the wood hull. The epoxy will float the glass and excess epoxy will add a ton of weight.

Use your squeegee by starting along the keel and holding it at an extreme angle of 60-70 degrees, draw the squeegee down the hull to the sheer line.  Use enough pressure to press the glass tight to the hull and remove or spread areas of thick epoxy while not removing epoxy in thin areas.  If you begin to see a color change in the glass weave you are pressing to hard. 

 

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