< back to articles

Kayak Building Part 8 – Fiberglassing the Hull!

This is part 8 of a multipart blog . . . Read Part One here,  Part Two herePart Three herePart Four herePart Five herePart Six here, Part Seven here.

Now that all the preparation has been done, it is finally time to fiberglass the hull.  There are two significant keys to this step. First, it’s best to have a team of five people so each can have a different station and work quickly before the epoxy sets up.  Second, additional coats of epoxy need to be applied within 72 hours of the fiberglass.  So – it’s best to have four consecutive days available for the process.

Here is a video of the process!


And – if you’d rather read about the steps, here’s how the week went!

Day 33: Monday 6/18/12  2 hours.

Dan and I met at the lockmaster’s house an hour before our team of five was scheduled to arrive in order to prepare the fiberglass.  The fiberglass is like a long shiny blanket.  In the kit, the fiberglass is in one big piece, folded in a plastic bag.  Dan and I draped the blanket over the boat, careful not to touch the dirty floor.  It’s very delicate, and the slightest pull causes a separation in the glass.  Once we covered the boat, we cut the blanket, folded the excess and put back it in the plastic bag to save for the deck.

Draping the fiberglass over the hull

Next we smoothed the fiberglass blanket with our hands so it would conform to the boat.  I removed my rings because they were causing marks in the glass while smoothing.  We went over the boat at least three times to make sure it was a nice fit.

At 6:00, our team showed up.  My husband Mark was assigned to the squeegee, along with Dan.  John Clark and I rolled the epoxy, and John Flannery was the official mixer.  In addition to the team, the Marietta High School women’s crew coach showed up for the event, along with Frank to shoot the video and our kayaking customers Lee and Phyllis Reger.

The fiberglassing team

The Mix Master!


John Clark is an experienced boat builder so I was able to watch how he rolled the epoxy and follow his lead.  It’s all about getting the right amount of epoxy on the roller to fill the weave.  John was much faster than I was, so once he finished his side, he went around the bow and started to work on my side.  During the move, the blanket shifted a bit, and we needed to pull it back down to cover his original side.  We reacted to that fix quickly before it became a problem.

Rolling epoxy on the fiberglass and using the squeegee

The squeegee was used to smooth out the epoxy and to make sure it soaked into the fiberglass weave.  We held a container underneath to catch the drips.

Dan using the squeegee

On the stern end, the excess glass was wrapped around the end and overlapped for a double layer.

Overlapped fiberglass on the stern end


Day 34: Tuesday 6/19/12  1 hour.

Although I tried to plan for four consecutive days, I had to travel out of town unexpectedly on Tuesday night.  Fortunately, Dan said he would take care of  the first coat of epoxy for me.  Before he layered on the first coat, he trimmed the excess fiberglass from the sheer.  He also put a layer of fiberglass tape on the seam for additional support.  Due to the way the tape is made, one edge is thicker than the other.  This edge would later be sanded down to better blend into the boat.  Once the coat of epoxy was applied, Dan also very lightly brushed over the epoxy to remove any air bubbles.  Once the brush is used, it is thrown away – so you need to start out with a good supply of brushes.

Dan uses a foam brush to remove air bubbles in the epoxy


Day 35:  Wednesday 6/20/12  40 minutes.

When I returned to town, I stopped at the lockmaster’s house before going home to apply another coat of epoxy.  Basically, I mixed a double batch of epoxy and used a new yellow foam roller.  It took two double batches to coat the boat, but it didn’t take much time at all.  Once the epoxy was applied, I used a 3″ foam brush to remove any air bubbles.


Day 36:  Thursday 6/21/12  1 hour

I made my routine run to the lockmaster’s house after work.  This day I sanded the edge of the fiberglass tape on the seam and a few of the rough spots on the ends where the fiberglass overlapped.  I used 150-grit sandpaper and also used the shaver and cabinet scraper a bit.  Using the curved and paisley shaped scrapers gave me the best control for the areas I had to reach.  Once the sanding was complete, I vacuumed the boat to remove the shavings.  Then I applied the final layer of epoxy to the hull, and used the foam brush to remove the air bubbles.

Curved scraper to smooth the edge of the tape

Paisley shaped scraper to smooth the edge of the fiberglass tape

Now that the hull is fiberglassed and coated with three layers of epoxy, it’s time for . . . VACATION!

The hull is fiberglassed and awaiting my return from vacation!

I’ll be back to the shop in July and will start on the deck!  Stay tuned!

Check out Part 9-Prep the Deck!



Add a comment

Comments (4)

  1. avatar
    inlay, August 9, 2012
    I love what you guys are usually up too. This kind of clever work and reporting! Keep up the terrific works guys I've included you guys to my personal blogroll. Reply
  2. avatar
    Dachshunds, August 18, 2012
    Good Reading. I had a Old Town and love it. I would like to build one of these kits one day myself. Good luck on the boat. Reply
    • avatar
      nancy, August 20, 2012
      Thanks for your comment and for reading the blog! It's been a lot of fun, and I really can't believe I was able to fit this project into my schedule, but I really love working on it. Hopefully I'll have it in the water soon! I encourage you to buy the kit now and start to work on it before something else comes up! Reply
  3. avatar
    Henry Rodriguez, March 29, 2013
    Just found this blog this morning and its great inspiration. Thank you I'm trying to pick a kit and find a space now. Just curious, Is there anymore coming? Now I'm addicted. Reply

Add a comment

(it will not be shared)