Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it – no matter if I have said it! – except it agree with your own reason and your own common sense.” – Siddhartha Gautama, a.k.a. the Buddha

Its the details that kill ya

Alternate title: Sunday’s a bust

Spent lots of time energy and resources setting up the cockpit deck on my kayak.  The resources being the fiberglass and resin more than the wood.  The wood in this case is fine, but little details that I didn’t know, caught me, bit my ass and wasted a several hours of my time and more than a little of my working capital in wasted resources.

I had the kayak in the rafters of the house last night to help with the cure of the fiberglass and the linseed oil I had soaked the frame in.  The linseed oil did its thing, and the glass did something else entirely.  Oh, it cured, cured good and hard too.  But this morning when I took it out, that deck looked as wrinkly as the surface of a peach pit.  NOT the surface I was shooting for to say the least.   SO, dive into the nets and see if there is something I did, didn’t or need to do.  Five minutes of research and I hit the ‘FacePalm’ moment. 

First order of business is to get all of that resin and glass off the deck.  (interestingly enough, the interior side where i used the Matte, did just fine, and I will tell why as this goes along). Bust out the scaper to get the bigger chunks and keep my glass dust to as low as possible.  Then the sander with 40 grit pads to get the rest.  Gotta take it all the way down to the wood.   Two hours later and several discs of paper, back to ground zero.

So what detail did i miss?  Seems that wood and resin are not completely copasetic in bonding; they need a middleman so to speak.   That middleman is varnish: Varnish loves wood and soaks in creating a mechanical bond to the wood.  Resin loves varnish and ‘mates’ with it to create a chemical bond (stronger). But resin is a larger polymer and can’t absorb into the wood the way the varnish does.  Additionally, the resin “gasses off’ and that is what caused the wrinkles, gasses under the glass and the outer surface had cured already so couldn’t vent.

So why did my matte work where the fabric didn’t?  Rough surfaces.   I didn’t do much prep on the inner side of the wood since it won’t be seen and there were lots of saw marks, grooves and what not that the resin could get into to make a bond.   I also used more hardener in it to speed up the cure since it was getting cold and I didn’t want to fart around too much.  With the matte being thicker, was able to hold the heat from the reaction better, so cured cleaner, inside to out versus what the fabric side did.

The deck is all sanded now, minimal traces of the old resin (mostly in the joints where the wood comes together.  it stuck very well to the glues in the joints) but the whole deck is flat and smooth as a babies butt now.   One heavy coat of spar varnish on it and its sitting in the sun letting  the heat of daylight drive that varnish into the surface.   

I did not know that little detail of the varnish middleman or I would have done that first off.   Its those little details that will kill you.

So was it a wasted weekend?  Not at all; I revel in my failures as they are the BEST teachers. (so long as they don’t kill ya that is). This is not a mistake I will make again, EVER.    So I may be out a little cash on materials, (not in the budget this week, what with a truck in the shop and hours being down,,,   I’ll make it happen though.) But my knowledge has grown, and I consider the price paid a minor tuition in the school of hard knocks and busted knuckles.

It’s time to go off and do my domestic duties for the week, Not much I can do on the kayak until that varnish cures, and I need to pick up more glass and resin anyways.   Just a little wrinkle in my time loop this round, one that tells me this one has been completely re-written for something better.  Looking at the lines of the boat as she sits in the horses all ‘nekid’ without a skin, I see a sleek torpedo of a boat: My itch to get on water will have to wait till she is complete.

More later, probably about the cannibal feast I am witnessing in the EneMedia, with links to others seeing similar.   


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