Fiberglassing cockpit on Mill Creek 16.5

I'm building a Mill Creek 16.5 and am wondering whether to fiberglass the cockpit sole and if I do how much of it to 'glass. Or is it just not necessary? Will the epoxy coating stand up well to sand? Any insight is welcome. 

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RE: Fiberglassing cockpit on Mill Creek 16.5

If you know that your boat will be gently treated and the manual doesn't call for cockpit glass, you don't need it. But if it will get rough use, it's a good idea to glass it.

Properly applied and cured epoxy is as hard as a formica countertop. It'll stand up to sand about as well as it stands up to sandpaper. An occasional sand grain lightly rubbed across the surface by the pressure of a bare leg or foot won't hurt anything. The pain on the skin will cause you to stop pressing before too much scratching will happen. But if you have sandy footwear, eventually the epoxy will be worn through.

A layer of glass will help by providing an even epoxy surface as thick as the weave. Unglassed surfaces can be uneven and the thinner areas can wear through. That's why a layer of glass provides better abrasion resistance - not because it's harder, but because it's got a consistent thickness.

The other reason I like a layer of glass is because sometimes I drop something heavy, like an anchor, into the cockpit. Epoxied Okoume will dent pretty easily, but even a layer of 4-oz glass will limit the damage to the wood by converting the impact force from compression to tension.

Finally, an internal layer of glass helps limit damage from external impacts for the same reason. A layer of external glass can still allow the wood to break on the inside, but a layer of internal glass resists the stretching of the wood fibers on the internal face. Since the cockpit sole carries the paddler's weight, that's the area that will impact the hardest when grounding, so the extra reinforcement will be a big help.

Happy New Year,


RE: Fiberglassing cockpit on Mill Creek 16.5

   You talked me into it - I'll glass the sole- 

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