Fiberglassing a boat using Poxy-Shield epoxy resin INTRODUCTION

If you have not worked with GLEN-L Poxy-Shield epoxy resins, or you have applied fiberglass before using polyester resins, make sure you read and understand all of the following information before starting any aspect of the job or handling any materials. Epoxy resin works and handles differently from polyester. SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ARE IMPORTANT!

The Poxy-Shield epoxy resin consists of 2 PARTS. These are to be mixed according to the ratios given on the containers; 5 parts A (resin) to 1 part B (hardener). DO NOT VARY THE RATIOS. Do not add solvents or thinners. Sanding between coats of resin is not absolutely necessary to achieve a bond (although some sanding may be required as will be explained later). Note: Resin without hardener is NEVER used. Always add hardener in the 5 to 1 ratio.




The fiberglass cloth used in fiberglassing a typical plywood boat must be compatible with epoxy resin. Although most cloths will work with epoxy, there are some that are not compatible. If in doubt, test the material using scrap wood, to insure that it cannot be pulled off. Fiberglass mat should not be substituted for cloth. The cloth included in GlenL Fiberglass Covering Kits are, of course, compatible. Glen-L kits include a cutting list to determine how to cut and use the cloth provided. Cloth comes in various widths and are chosen to yield as little waste as possible.



Resin is applied using disposable brushes and foam rollers. You will also need a squeege for working out excess resin when applying the bond quote. Power sanders will save work during finishing and other sanding operations. The reciprocal/orbital types are safe and easy to use, but are slow and remove only small amounts of material. The disc and belt types are fast, but require some practice for proper control. A foam pad backing disc should be used to minimize gouges. A sanding block can be used in areas where power tools can't be used. Scissors and a utility knife are used to trim the fiberglass material. Cleaning materials should be ready to use at the work site. These would include a bucket of hot soapy water or a waterless resin cleaner, safe for skin contact; and suitable solvents, such as denatured alcohol, acetone, or lacquer thinner, for keeping tools clean.


only an epoxy filler can be used. Epoxy resins are considered industrial chemicals that should not be handled carelessly. dust. gouges. The use of wood preservatives on the surface to be covered is not recommended. ALWAYS wear a dust mask when sanding. (As a precaution. bare wood surface free from dirt. grease. SURFACE PREPARATION Cleanliness is the most important factor for successful results. A slightly rough surface is acceptable. a heatproducing reaction (called "exotherm") begins. creating a wrippled surface. keels. lift strakes. paint or other contaminants. Avoid oversanding Douglas fir plywood surfaces as the softer grain will wear away. especially on resin-coated surfaces that have cured LESS than 7 days. All holes. or rain can settle onto an uncured surface.y y y y y Do NOT work in direct sunlight or where there is direct exposure to the elements. this work can be done after the seal coat has cured but in this case. Optionally. dents. fog. Do the application at temperatures between 70oF and 85oF for best results. ALWAYS wear protective gloves. HANDLING AND MIXING When the RESIN (PART A) and HARDENER (PART B) are mixed together. Do NOT work in high humidity conditions or when rain is imminent or in progress. AVOID DIRECT SKIN OR EYE CONTACT. The application and all coatings should occur over a clean. All corners (inside and outside) should be well radiused. and non-permeable protective clothing (such as paper or plastic aprons). moisture. and other imperfections can be filled with a non-oily resin-compatible wood putty or epoxy filler. Temperatures below this will retard or prevent cure. For example. Also. flatter area. or debris from settling onto the surface. Start applying coats of resin early in the day so that partial cure will occur before any dew. but free of wind or high-speed fan-forced air. using a filler such as our Microspheres. and sanded level prior to applying the first coat. Appendages. correct after fiberglassing.) The worker can control the "exothermic" reaction to some extent. warmer temperatures speed it up. but after this time. oil. SAFETY Read all product container labels before opening. and rub rails should be installed AFTER the fiberglass application. while temperatures above this may cut working time to an impractical degree. eye protection. some even place the container in an ice box (free from foodstuffs). Cool temperatures slow down the reaction. cracks. Should this occur. large amounts in a concentrated area will cure faster than a comparable amount well-dispersed over a larger. seams. The rate of this change can vary. See note in "Finishing" for more on the radiused edge of the transom. The area must be well-ventilated. dirt. wax. large concentrated amounts should be avoided since the heat can build up to such an extent as to present a fire hazard. such as deadwood. Do the job under some sort of cover that will prevent any moisture. Or in cooler temperatures somewhat below the 70oF level. dry. the mixture will thicken and change to a solid material. No reaction will be noticeable for about 30 minutes at room temperature. slow the reaction down by placing the contents in a cool area or in the shade. Do NOT use polyester-based putties. the .

stir or agitate before use. The FOURTH coat is the FINISH COAT and provides enough resin build-up for final sanding and finishing. Work the coat as long as possible to assure that all areas are evenly coated. This coat should be thin and even. If crystals form in products. However. high and low areas. and recoat. The THIRD coat is the FILL COAT and fills the weave of the cloth. Use a thin high-density foam roller with long multi-directional strokes and good pressure. do NOT apply any more resin than is necessary to accomplish the purpose of each coat. makes finish work difficult. The SECOND coat is the BOND COAT. However. This is a proper occurrence and indicates proper sealing. sags. Dispense into a shallow. Mix up only as much resin as can be worked in a 20-30 minute period. The surface may appear fuzzy upon cure which is usually of no consequence. and seals the wood surface prior to applying the cloth. After 10-15 minutes. It is also possible to bring up the work surface temperature with locally applied heat. and increases weight and cost. APPLICATION SEQUENCE The application consists of four coats of resin. and "dry" spots. there is no need to stop. they should disappear and no harm is done to the product. SEAL COAT APPLICATION After surface preparation. and smaller amounts are usually preferable. there is no application where resin is used without hardener. or overnight. flat pan or paint tray IMMEDIATELY after mixing. start early and apply the first coat of resin to all surfaces that will later be sheathed. Store at room temperature and avoid exposure to heat and freezing/thawing cycles. bring them up to room temperature and mixing will not be a problem. Air escaping from the wood may cause small bubbles to appear. set containers in warm water. Throughout ALL coats. Work from a dryer area to a wetter area. don't recoat an area if the surface has begun to set up. check the surface for any dry spots where the wood has absorbed the resin (especially over edge or end-grain areas). If products stand for more than 6 months. This is a waste of resin. (A possible exception to this is that in temperatures cooler than recommended.) Do NOT mix in glass or foam plastic containers. do NOT attempt to change the reaction by varying the mix ratio. too thick a coat will inhibit this reaction. such as with light bulbs. Resin is ALWAYS used with hardener. and do NOT attempt to use thinners or solvents in cold weather to make the products easier to mix. Do NOT mix up more than about a quart at a time. and is used to wet out and bond the cloth to the surface. Do NOT use the mixed resin once it begins to gel or gets "stringy" discard it and mix up a fresh batch. Follow mixing instruction on the container labels. if runs or sags or extreme roughness . A typical problem with beginners is that they use too much resin. However. free from runs. Allow this coat to cure at least tack-free before doing subsequent work on the surface. A CLEAN stick of wood is suitable for mixing. Do NOT attempt to spray any of the coats of resin. the FIRST coat is the SEAL COAT.product containers can be brought up to room temperature by placing them in WARM (not hot) water before mixing. the mixture can remain in the mixing container for a few minutes to help get the reaction going prior to dispensing. Keep containers closed when not in use. Certain power-type mixers can be dangerous and make mixing incomplete.

chine junctions. but make sure tacks and staples are removed prior to the resin setting up hard. At these junctions. these joints can simply be buttted (although overlaps are optional and would be handled similarly as noted if done). a solvent wipe after sanding using a rag soaked with denatured alcohol. FIBERGLASS APPLICATION We recommend the "dry method" of cloth application. The adjoining cloth then laps over this area covering the feathered area and preventing the formation of a ridge at the cloth edge. and position the fiberglass cloth first. dirt. Attempting to fit or butt cloth widths together closely can be difficult. applied to no more than an 1/8" of the cloth. staples. (*) Sanding after each coat is not necessary for adhesion if the coat is applied in less than 24 hours after the previous coat. A light hand sanding and solvent wipe should be all that is necessary prior to the Continue coat (*). Feathering again will be done on the second (adjoining) cloth after the resin cures. This thin film is easily removed with solvents as above. (We use masking tape. then feather the edge of the cloth a couple of inches by sanding. If you are not familar with working with fiberglass cloth. making such joints inconspicuous. or similar solvent will remove any loose dust and other contaminants. Allow the resin to cure tackfree. such as the transom. across the centerline. RESIN APPLICATION TO FIBERGLASS WITH BOND COAT Apply activated resin onto limited area of cloth and move it around quickly with a roller. LAPS AND JOINTS Joints in the cloth are usually required. . etc. With all cured coats of resin. the cloth is positioned over the surface "dry" and the resin applied ONTO the cloth to wet it out. once application of the bond coat begins. Double laps of cloth may be specified. In this method. At other joints which occur between widths of cloth. Cut. heavy power sanding on this coat should be avoided to prevent removing the seal coat or damaging the wood surface. acetone. a oily-like film (amine blush) frequently appears on the surface. these areas should be sanded. so it can easily be removed. fit. such as at transom corners. in order to get a "feel" for the work. Use tacks. Make sure the surface is completely dry before recoating. using the cutting instructions provided. a light sanding is often advisable to remove any dust. insects.) Begin work from one end of the hull and work to the other. In addition. However. Fold under the end of the tape that sticks to the hull. start the application in a smaller area. or masking tape to hold the cloth in position. there is no need to stop (except in certain instances as will be noted). This is to provide a double thickness of material at these areas.occurs in an area of a type that would interfere with the easy and smooth application of the cloth. However. lacquer thinner. apply the cloth to lap across such corners and junctions about 4" or as specified. if left on the surface it can cause bond problems. or debris that could have settled onto the surface during cure.

particularly on inclined or vertical surfaces. but don't drag the cloth from position. In fact. the surface should be cleaned with a solvent wipe to remove any possible dirt. If air bubbles develop. apply more resin to these areas. To prevent this. After all material is wetted. work these out with the squeegee. the area must be patched. The work can proceed at a later time by butting the subsequent cloth to this edge in the manner noted previously. Note: When using the roller. it is better to apply two or more thin coats instead of a heavy single coat that will not stay put. do not vigorously run back and forth over an area to wet it out as this can "whip" air into the resin and cause excessive bubbling or foaming. if time runs out. Other application tools will not make an even coating and will be more difficult to use. Don't allow any dry ("white") spots. and these can be applied as soon as the previous coat sets up tack-free if time allows. If this tends to occur. white spots (insufficient resin) are noted after the resin sets up. after roller application. trim the cloth at the stopping point to make a crisp edge. Work from wet areas to dry areas. work out excess resin with a squeegee. in spite of your best efforts. Use firm pressure to force the resin into and through the cloth. and is best applied with a new foam roller as was done on the first coat. the cloth will become transparent and develop a "matte" finish. This coat is applied in the same manner as the FILL COAT. a brush can be used to even out the coating before it sets up. Allow this coat to cure tack-free. When properly applied. but not before the resin sets up enough to prevent dragging the cloth from position. However. Trim excess cloth BEFORE the resin sets up hard. Just take care in all sanding operations NOT to cut through or into the weave of the cloth. The surface will be slightly stippled when using the roller. Apply resin to upper areas and work to lower areas.brush or squeegee. use only as much resin as is required to bond it to the surface and wet it out. the weave of the cloth should be obvious. keeping resin ahead of the squeegee. Glossy areas indicate too much resin. if runs or sags occur. amine blush or other contaminants before applying additional coats. FINISH COAT The final FINISH COAT is applied to provide a sanding and finishing base so that enough resin is available for sanding to prevent cutting into the cloth. Work the resin as long as possible to prevent runs and sags. remove it immediately and discard it. sand away to well-bonded material and apply a fiberglass patch. don't apply so much resin that runs and sags develop. Take care to assure that this coat is as . If. the resin should be allowed to cure so that these areas can be corrected by sanding. Again. cut the area with a knife and force the cloth down. FILL COAT APPLICATION No sanding of the surface is necessary before subsequent coats. If air cannot be removed from an area and the resin is starting to set. debris. Do NOT attempt to fill the weave of the cloth. if a long period passes between coats (24 hours or more). Furthermore. however. There is no need to stop the application. If this occurs. either a bristle or foam type. Keep the squeegee constantly in motion using tight-S strokes. the sooner the better. The third or FILL COAT is used to conceal the weave of the cloth. being sure that there are no "resin bubbles" under the cloth. If there is too much resin on the surface and it begins to set up.

can cause performance problems. as this. FINISHING The finish work will vary depending on the quality of the FINISH COAT. If coating wood and only part is coated with epoxy. start out by sanding with an 60 to 80 grit paper. for natural finishes. These may or may not require primer undercoats. now you must put the edge back. but remember. follow the instructions provided by the paint manufacturer to the letter. Use scraps of cloth and epoxy to build the corner up. the surface can look "blotchy". much depends on the builder's budget. the final epoxy coated surface MUST be protected by a paint system or ultra-violet stabilized coating. Note: The resin rarely gives a varnish-like smooth surface. In any case. However. Many approaches to final finishing are possible and are beyond the scope of these instructions. working up to a 120 to 180 grit. this will give results good enough for painting. If the work has been done with care. progressive sanding using finer grit papers will result in an even finer. smoother finish. Just about any marine-type paint system or industrial enamel can be used. be aware that epoxy resins cause slight color changes in the wood.smooth and even as possible. Be sure that no "hook" is built in. Allow the FINAL COAT to cure long enough so that sanding will be easier (overnight or 24 hour cure is minimum preferably. apply additional coats as necessary. then varnished. this edge was rounded for fiberglass application. like a geneously radiused edge.) Note: If the boat you are building is a speed boat or other planing boat. In all cases. Also. If the resin coating is not sufficiently thick at this point. the junction of the bottom and the transom should be a fairly crisp angle. For natural finishes. then grind the material off to form an edge. . thinner coats are better than thicker ones. using a brush to smooth out any imperfections before the resin sets up. Before fiberglassing. For many builders. sand the epoxy with fine grit sandpaper and apply multiple coats of marine varnish or polyurethane.

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