Monday, February 17, 2014

A kitchen scale saves the day.

I took another boatbuilder’s suggestion, and bought a kitchen scale to use in measuring my epoxy mixtures. This simple device I bought for about $30 at K-Mart has made a huge difference. I can now precisely measure any given amount of epoxy, with no guesswork. It’s such an obviously superior method that I wish I’d done it this way all along.

Not surprisingly, the last 2 layers of epoxy went on easily, with no problems whatsoever in curing time. With the stem & related parts now encapsulated, I could move on to finishing the side planking.

On February 15, the 1-year anniversary of my heart surgery, I got the forward starboard planking attached.

Again, the kitchen scale was an indispensable part of the process, and really saved my tail at one point. With weight-based measuring, the Silvertip Gel Magic is mixed at a 1:0.41 ratio, (rather than the 2:1 ratio by volume.) I had mixed a little over 150 mL, because I had a considerable amount of area to cover: both surfaces of the butt joint, the forward 7 feet of chine and sheer, the side of frame #2, the upper part of the stem, and all the same mating surfaces on the planking itself.

I ran into trouble about 3/4 of the way through this batch of epoxy. Enough time had elapsed that the mixture had become so viscous that it was unworkable. At that point, I had coated everything on the boat framing, and had only just coated the mating surface for the butt block on the planking. I had all the rest of the planking left to go.

Luckily, I had 1 extra mixing cup and 1 extra chip brush on hand. Going quickly back to the kitchen scale, I mixed a small batch of approximately 75 mL, allowing me to finish the job. The epoxy cured solidly by the end of the afternoon.

The next day, I faired off the front of the starboard planking at the stem, and started fitting the port side.

Starboard side planking, finally attached!
Now to fit the port side.


  1. Ah, the old running out of epoxy problem!! I've run into that as well. Now I always have extra cups ready with resin already measured into them. All I have to do is add a measured amount of hardener and I can move forward. Ask me how I learned this lesson! :)

  2. Hi Carl!

    Yes — no doubt about it — I will make certain to have extra cups & brushes on-hand every time from this point forward. For that matter, I think I'll order some more epoxy before I tackle the port side, just to make certain I have plenty on-hand just in case.

    Sounds like you've got a really good story there, about learning "the extra epoxy lesson!"

  3. Well, it actually was learned over 25 years ago when I was working for United Airlines as an aircraft mechanic and ran out of epoxy on a critical lay up. Had to rip the whole thing apart and start completely over. Needless to say, the supervisor wasn't too happy about that!!