Making the Weave Leave

I'm on my second boat, a Chesapeake 17, and compared to the NE Dory I started with, it's a piece of cake.  A very minor issue I'm having, however, has to do with making the weave of the fiberglass disappear.  On the Dory I applied the first coat of epoxy to the hull with a brush and a roller from CLC, then I sanded until I was dead.  Did that a second time and then a third.  After varnishing, the end result was a bright, clear finish with no visible fiberglass weave.  As I was working on the thwarts and sailing rig -- which didn't require any fiberglass -- I switched from the CLC roller to, after a bit of trial and error, very fine, foam Whizz cabinet and corner rollers.  These  gave me a really nice, smooth finish that reduced the amount of epoxy I had to apply and cut my sanding time in half.  With this experience under my belt, I went to work on the C 17 using nothing but the Whizz rollers.  I soon noted, however, as I was applying  a  compass rose "on lay" on the foredect, that it took me eight light coats of epoxy to make the fiberglass weave over the on lay disappear.  I now have five light coats of epoxy on the entire hull of the kayak and it's looking like I'll need a sixth if I don't want a slight cross-hatch showing up over the wood.  What I can't remember is whether the varnish will take up any of this "slack" and help hide the weave so I can stop epoxying now.  If it doesn't I'm still time ahead on the sanding and the fine finish is worth the extra coats.  At the same time there's no point in putting a lot of extra epoxy on the boat if it isn't needed.  Does anyone have any thoughts about this?      

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RE: Making the Weave Leave

Weave is constant thickness, regardless of the method of application. So if you're using thin coats, you need more of them. Totally normal.

Varnish will not hide the weave. You need to get the weave filled and as smooth as you want it to be, then put on your thin coats of varnish.

Lots of thin coats of epoxy are much better than a few thick coats. Fewer drips, less sanding, less epoxy used. But you do have to add enough to fill th eweave, and you have to build up enough thickness to sand. So for very thin coats, lay down 2 or 3 coats, then sand.

Have fun,



RE: Making the Weave Leave

Thanks, Laslo, you always have good advice.  What seems to work well for me is to put on a heavier base coat of epoxy and then sand with 80 grit.  With that base pretty smooth I begin the thin layers, but also move to 120 and even 220 grit as they start to pile up.  As you suggest, I'm not sanding after every coat, but after every second or third.  The great news is that after the first sanding, the next ones are relatively quick and easy.


Mountain Sailor  

RE: Making the Weave Leave

   laszlo and others are more expert than it, but i don't think you want to do much if any sanding on the epoxy coats before you fill the weave.  otherwise your sanding will remove some of the fiberglass which will weaken the finished product.


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