Fiberglass and epoxy

Boat building with stitch and glue includes fiberglass and epoxy. I have set up some information about this topics so you can study the materials a bit more below. Enjoy 🙂

Fiberglass tape

Fiberglass tape

The fiberglass tape can be of any regular available type. One important thing is that you choose a tape with the minimum weight as specified for the boat building job you are doing. If your normal supplier does not have the weight specified choose the nearest weight above.

Fiberglass fabric

Fiberglass fabric

Most of the designs from my company do not require fiberglass fabric on the entire hull. Basically it is a choice omitted because the fabric often makes the finish work more difficult and result in a heavier boat. For most designs the strength of the plywood is more than enough so fiberglass fabric is not necessary.

However you can choose to cover the hull with fiberglass fabric to get better durability and easier maintenance over the years. If you choose so my advice will be to select a crowfoot woven fabric. The crowfoot weave has the advantage that it will be totally invisible when wetted out with epoxy.

Epoxy resin

West system epoxy

You can get epoxy resin for your new boat from many suppliers and manufactures. Choose the supplier where you get the best service and guidance, also if something turns out not exactly as you suspected.

You can get epoxy resin with different hardeners. Some uses slow hardener and some uses fast. If you can’t find a hardener with a curing time that fits your need it is often possible to mix the hardener. This means that if you would like to have a gel time between the slow and fast hardener you simply mix the two and achieve a gel time in between.

Some manufactures make a special tropic hardener. It’s very fine for laminating in warm areas. You will then have time to apply and work with the epoxy even if the temperature reaches 43°C (109F).


Wood flour

The filler is applied to the epoxy resin to make it thicker. The thickened epoxy is used for gluing the different hull parts.

For most of my designs you can use ordinary wood flour. Basically the wood flour is some fine and very clean sawdust, and in principles you can make it yourself.

One advice for working with thickened epoxy is to make the seams as nice and fair as possible before the glue sets. Believe me it’s much easier to work with before it sets than having to fair it with sandpaper after.

Happy boat building,

Morten Olesen, Naval Architect

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