Wooden boat repair question

I put the first layer of fiberglass on today. First step was to sand and prepare the surface, then hit it with a coat of epoxy. When that was still a bit tacky, I put the cloth on and started applying resin.

Of course, as soon as I started putting resin on, the wind kicked up. (It had been calm all day) Scrambling around to wet out the fabric while the wind kept trying to flip it up was an interesting process.

I got it covered though. I used two 8" runners over the chines, and a single wide piece up the middle.

There were some areas that I couldn't seem to fill properly though. They don't appear dry, but there's clearly a little bit of air underneath the mat. It looks to be caused by unevenness in the boat surface.

What is the best way to take care of this? Also, before I put the next layer of cloth on, should I put several more layers of epoxy (so the first layer of cloth no longer has a visible texture) or just apply the next fabric layer as is?

UPDATE: After doing some reading, I'm going to add the second layer of fabric while the first one is still tacky, for the best bond.

Here's how things are looking now:

A big thanks to Dave for letting me buy his leftover supplies!

getting the air out can be tough, but IMO, it is very important. If there are voids, I suggest letting the epoxy set solid and then grind out the voids before applying the next coat, or more glass cloth. I should have mentioned, I have several different rollers that help a lot to get the air out and work the resin into the cloth, and position the cloth where you want it. If you want, come by and I'll get them for you to use. I'll be up untill 9:30 or so if you want to come by tonight. Give me a call.

Thanks Dave.

I put another layer of cloth & resin down, and there are still voids. I tried to get them out, even working the resin into the voids with my gloved fingertips, but no luck. I suspect it's just due to the cloth bunching up.

Once it sets, do you think I can just grind down the voids, feather the edges and apply patches?
That's the way I would do it... As I said, the rollers I have make the job much easier. If you catch it before the epoxy completely hardens, you can use a utility knife to cut out the voids... If not an aggressive grinder works well.
It's a little strange that you got those voids, I've never had that happen on a flat surface. I wonder if there was some residue on the plywood or something. Not much you can do but get rid of em and do patches. It's all a learning experience I guess.
It's a little strange that you got those voids, I've never had that happen on a flat surface. I wonder if there was some residue on the plywood or something. Not much you can do but get rid of em and do patches. It's all a learning experience I guess.
They seem to be in places where I got the fabric too tight (so it pulled up in the center) and places where I got the fabric too loose (so that it left a crease or bubble in the middle). Kind of like when you put a decal on, or put a screen protector on a phone. I tried to "squeegee" them to the edges as best I could, but there are still several left.

The ones I don't understand are the ones that appear to be flat and solid with no air underneath, but just have the grey hue instead of being completely transparent.

Ah well, like you said, it's a learning experience. I anticipate a lot of sanding and patching in my near future.
I was thinking the same thing. Too much resin will float the glass. It's not the end of the world and you don't really have to do anything about it if you're painting the surface.

Angler 77

AKA Scott Jones
I suggest the voids came as a result of the steps you followed. Laying the glass into tacky epoxy can easily trap a bubble of fabric. Not that it matters now, it sounds like you're on the right track to remedy the bubbles.

I like to apply a layer of glass in one of two ways.

1. Coat the surface with unthickened epoxy, let it cure, sand with 80 grit and then lay the glass down, spread epoxy with a squeegee working from the center out, making sure not to leave too much epoxy floating the cloth.

The idea with the first coat and then sanding is that you take care of any lifted grain in the first coat with the sanding prep for the second coat (laying down the glass). You are less likely to have "dry" spots in your glass because you have more or less sealed the wood with the first coat as well.

2. Lay the glass down over the raw wood, you can even pin it in place or tape in a spot or two, again starting from the center apply epoxy and move it around with a squeegee. Keep an eye out for dry spots and reapply as necessary.

Remember to do a fill coat while the epoxy is "green", wait for that coat to cure then sand and do a third, flow, coat.

I'm a bit envious, I've yet to build or repair a drift boat of my own. Have fun!
The "voids" could be from contaminated (oils/other things) spots in the cloth. I've have that problem before, and had to cut out the bad spots and redo the glass, or fill the voids with wood filled epoxy.

When I lay on bottom glass, I usually let the glass lay on the hull for a day or two to relax the fibers of the cloth. I also hand smooth the cloth to remove tension in the fibers, and to even out the cloth on the bottom of the hull. I usually run the glass cloth up the sides as far as I can, depending on the width of the cloth. I then add some "blue tape" along the hull at the height of the narrowest part of the glass. Wet out to the middle of the tape, and cut along the bottom (top of hull) side of the tape to get a clean edge along the hull. You can fair in the edges if you want. I do a lot of this on my www.youtube.com/redbarnboats site.

I will be starting a new hull in a month or so. It will be an 11ft drift boat and you can download and make a cardboard model of the hull at http://www.duckworksbbs.com/plans/messer/solduk/index.htm scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the PDF file.
I don't no if you have completed your project but this is in reference to the first question.
I am the owner of a 14 foot wooden drift boat my boat is not the varnished it is painted it's a lot easier to keep it good-looking, on the bottom I painted u-coat shop floor paint and it seems to work pretty darn good it's great for going over rocks, as well on the inside I have bedliner on the floor keep me from scratching the rubber membrane acts as extra waterproofing

thanks Good luck and thank you for choosing a wooden boat!!
Thanks for all the info and feedback. Warren, I really enjoy your videos!

I have made a little progress on the boat, in between work and being sick. I went through with a utility knife and cut out all the bad spots, then sanded back the edges. On the larger ones I put in new glass, and on the small ones, I just filled them with epoxy. There were a few where I also mixed in some thickener to help level things out.

As it is now, the boat bottom has two layers of fiberglass and 4 coats of epoxy. There's a few high spots where I applied the thickened epoxy and left an edge, or high spots where a bit of fiberglass poked up. My plan now is to sand the whole thing to get rid of the high spots and to prepare it for the final epoxy coats. I think I'm going to go with the West Marine graphite to mix in the final couple of coats. I was considering painting it, or bedlining it, but I think the graphite is going to give the best bang for the buck, and will be easiest to maintain in the years to come.
How thick is the West graphite mix when you apply it? Post a photo when you are done.

For spreading the epoxy, use a "flexable" 3-4" putty knife. You get a good coating and don't waste a lot of expensive epoxy. Also it helps to add a bit of "paint pigment" (light gray) to the mix, so you have a better idea where voids may be as you apply the epoxy. You can't see them until you go to paint, and then it's *%$#@