Dealing with fiberglass strings?

I started application of fiberglass to the hull of my Shearwater 17 today.  I ended up with fiberglass strings all over, quite a mess.  I'm interested in suggestions on how to avoid pulling strings loose from the fiberglass cloth while spreading the epoxy, as well has any suggestions on dealing with strings that have remained in epoxy that has cured.


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RE: Dealing with fiberglass strings?

Hi Airdog, 

let me start with the second question first.  if you have a string and it is fully wetted out, then you just, as part of sanding your epoxy smooth, will naturally sand it out.   it makes for more labor in your sanding process.....but, if wet out, not a problem.

to avoid strings is a bit more complicated in practice but is simple in concept.....avoid cloth placements/wetting out that require you to wet out unstitched ends.   an example of this would be laying out the glass on the bottom of a boat.   if all the cut glass that could become 'stringy' is hanging below the hull....then when you wet it out you don't have any loose ends you need to apply epoxy to....which could cause strings.

if you cant avoid that, there are some additional techniques that come into play.  one is simply being very careful when you have a loose end...and wet out carefully to not create strings.  another is to cut the piece oversize, and therefore avoid wetting out the ends, and then cut the piece back where epoxy was applied before the epoxy is fully cured to get a clean edge.

anyway, i hope that is helpful



RE: Dealing with fiberglass strings?

In addition to Howard's excellent advice, what I like to do when I'm cutting that oversize piece is to put a piece of blue painter's tape down the cut line and make the cut down the center of the tape. That way the threads are contained along the edges of both pieces. The blue tape goes away with the excess glass.




RE: Dealing with fiberglass strings?

   hspira and Lazlo,

Thank you much!  I wish I could have foreseen this issue and asked about it ahead of time.  As it is, I will apply your suggestions as I continue with this project - next on the agenda is the top side.


Based on other posts I have read, you both seem to have a solid knowledge base in boat building.  Have you acquired said knowledge by trial and error, or training, or books and videos?  If the latter, I would be interested in an recommendations.

Thanks again!

Tim/Air Dog

RE: Dealing with fiberglass strings?

   Have you checked out the tips and videos on this site yet?  They are very good IMO.  

RE: Dealing with fiberglass strings?

Hi Airdog,

yes to all the methods you described.  but i would highlight "the school of hard knocks"...20 boats and counting

my current process when i am starting a project:

- read the build manuals carefully

- look for videos on current project  or a close cousin

- ask the community when building a particular boat for perspectives on what was challenging

- on books, the only two books i own are related to strip build kayaking from Nick Schade....useful....but very focused on strip built-specific issues.   the only other very useful book i had was the build manual for the "arctic hawk" by superior kayaks....which was about 300 pages and had exquisite advice/detail on techniques for building a stitch and glue kayak.

- way back when.... i read all the "tips for boat builders" on this site...they have not changed much in 20+ years.

i also met and got to know some builders in the local area and visited with them at various points in my building journey.



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