Is my build up in flames?

Trying to hide my disappointment in the novelty humor of the build DVD videos... I've been working on my Chesapeake 16 build for almost 2 years after telling myself I was going to have it completed through a single winter season.


Fiberglassing the bottom, First side went well, 2nd half I had the epoxy kick off in the mixing cup, burned my hand causing me to drop the cup, spilled out on to the fiberglass weave and hardened fast. In the panic, I tried to scrape it smooth across the hull, but it just dragged and winkled the fiberglass cloth.


In my frustration I stopped working a while (not the first cup of epoxy to kick off in my hand, at this point I needed to order more of this as well....). When I returned, I decided that it was not repairable without causing damage to the fiberglass cloth. I cut the fiberglass along the keel and removed the cloth from the "messed up" side. I ordered another fiberglass cloth, sanded it down to bare wood and epoxy it again. I then ran a 3in Fiberglass strip down the length of the keel hoping that help reinforce the keel.


I'm now concerned about this solution... Everything I'm reading is telling me it's very important to have a single sheet across the hull for strength, rigidity, and smoothness. It' looks like crap, I've already had to order more fiberglass sheet and epoxy. I'm sure I'll need more 3in fiberglass strip now too.


What are my options? Sick of looking at this project in my garage, but can't bring myself to keep working for fear of further screwing it up.

6 replies:

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RE: Is my build up in flames?

  Relax. Everything can be fixed.

1. Is your hull likely to be strong enough? I don't really know, but I suspect it will be. Fiberglass and epoxy are amazingly forgiving materials. If you overlapped the fiberglass along the keel and then applied a wide (4" or more) strip over both layers, I'd bet money on the strength. If you did not overlap the glass along the keel, only the 4" strip will hold things together. I'd be inclined to put an 8" strip over the 4" one to add more strength. The downside to all this is added weight. But you may not even need the 8" strip I just suggested. It's just what I might do based on intuition and 50 years of working (very sporadically) with fiberglass.

2. Does it look like crap? Only you need to see the bottom of your boat. Other people will continue to admire the deck and the bits above the waterline. More fiberglass on the bottom can be a good thing (abrasion protection).

Your boat will be fine.

RE: Is my build up in flames?

Birch2 is absolutely right, everything can be fixed, your boat will be fine.

Yes, a single sheet would have been strongest, but a CH16 doesn't need strongest. It's a light slow boat, not a mach 2 jet. Strong enough is fine. For these boats all you really need is a 2" overlap to keep the glass from peeling up where it joins.

If it looks like crap, fairing compound and paint will make it look like a yacht. Or even just a couple of coats of graphite/epoxy mix.

Before, with oversanding on the edges, veneers sanded through, stitch holes visible.

After - flaws hidden by a shiny coat of scratch-resistant, bottom-protecting graphite/epoxy mix.

He's absolutely right, it'll be strong enough and people will admire it to the point of being annoying when you try to go paddling. Don't give up.



RE: Is my build up in flames?

   Are you using a fast hardener or something? What epoxy is it?  I user a slow hardener and i've never had to rush with it. It'll get warm if it sits there 20 minutes in the cup together trapping heat. I highly doubt a single piece of fiberglass is needed for strength or makes that big of a difference. as long as its all covered and you arent smashing the bottom on top of rocks in the waves.I would sand the epoxy and overlap the new sheet on it.If you're really worried theres nothing stopping you from putting another sheet over whats there now.  It'll just make it a bit heavier.

and it is glass. Seriously once you add enough epoxy and sand smooth you wont even see it

RE: Is my build up in flames?

   I once made a softball out of one of my epoxy mixes. That taught me the key lesson: mix epoxy in small batches, in wide and shallow containers. And adjust your expectations for curing time based on ambient temperatures.

RE: Is my build up in flames?

Hi GmanNH, 

Sounds like quite an adventure.....but i would simply say, relax.  there is some sage advice above.   smaller batches, slow hardener, working at night when it is cooler.  and there is just developing experience.

i did also want to allay your concerns about the single piece of glass and the strength of these boats.   your boat will not suffer in any discernable way if you end up overlapping some pieces vs a single piece.  as lazlo said above, two inches of overlap and you will be totally fine.

i have, on occasion, mucked it up too and did not end up with one continuous piece and did not want to spare the time or bucks to do it 'perfectly' and i have never had a problem.

there are, fwiw, several layup choices on these boats that range from heavy with lots of extra glass layers to lighter builds with only one piece of cloth.  most of us are never going to see the difference unless we really smack the boat into something hard or drag it over some rough rocks.  my preference, fwiw,  is to keep it light so its easier to carry your kayak without throwing out your back.

anyway, the chesapeakes have a lot of margin for error and are very robust boats.  i would not worry.

my only other comment is these boats look great with painted get all your practice in on the bottom...nobody needs to see your work there....and just be more attentive to the deck.

here are three chesapeakes i built over 20 years ago....they are all still working and going strong.


RE: Is my build up in flames?

   Use pie tins ,not cups to mix epoxy it can spread out more. Then just let it dry and reuse 

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