Glassing and Taping and Gluing

The hull was taken apart, the side panels laid flat on the floor and glassed. Each panel was covered with a single piece of 4-oz glass wet out with System Three Silvertip epoxy . Silvertip is a premium, blush-free, high viscosity, high modulus epoxy (sorry if that sounds like an ad). It costs more than many other epoxies, but it performs amazingly well both during layup and afterwards during the life of the boat.

Once the epoxy had cured, the glass was trimmed, the stitch holes re-drilled and the panels and bulkhead were stitched back together using nylon wire ties. A putty of epoxy and woodflour was used to tack the pieces together. The tacks were very shallow smears placed at the seams between the ties. Once fully cured, the ties were cut and removed. The tacks were strong enough to allow the boat to be carefully moved.

After the ties were removed, thin fillets were applied and the joints were taped with 9-oz glass. Because there were no ties to be buried, and the tacks were very flat, the fillets could be the minimum thickness needed to keep the tape from pulling away from the joint. This resulted in a very strong, yet lightweight, joint.

Click on any image below for a larger view

Hull with bulkheads

The bulkheads bonded to the hull panels. Temporary mold B is visible in the middle of the hold.

The outside of the hull is still bare wood at this point. All the other surfaces are glassed

Future cockpit

The tape and fillets are visible, as is the bottom curing on the shop floor under the boat.

Removing the ties produces very thin fillets which result in the most economical (less epoxy) and strongest (per unit weight) joints. Glassing the wood before assembly while everything is flat minimizes epoxy use, too. It also results in a neater job with minimal sanding and less labor time.

It does, however, take more up-front calendar time. If you use this method, you won't be getting to a 3D hull as quickly as if you'd just slapped it together and applied the glass later. However, you will get a neater job and make up for lost time by skipping a lot of sanding in the future.


With no stern piece. Bulkhead D is on the left, the stern is on the right.

The glass tape holds the stern together every bit as well as a wooden stern piece. The 1/4 inch thick hull panels are thick enough that they need no backing from a stern piece. Not only is the joint much lighter than a stern piece, it also needs no beveling. Stronger, lighter and less labor. Who could ask for anything more?


With no stem piece. Same advantages as at the stern.

Where everything comes together

A taped seam meets a puzzle joint. The puzzle joint is now glassed over. The tape for the joint between bulkhead D and the starboard side of the hull is plainly visible.

Once the epoxy was fully cured, it was possible to pick up the entire boat by grabbing bulkhead D and using another hand to balance the front of the hull. The boat flexed sideways, of course, since it had no deck or bottom, but there was no sense of fragility. It felt (and was) very solidly joined.

Bottom assembly

Here the sections of the 1/2 inch thick bottom sheet are being glued up. The wood has been roughly cut to the approximate outline of the bottom, with tabs left at the puzzle joints to aid alignment. It will be trimmed to the correct size when the bottom is attached to the hull. Lead weights protected from epoxy by a layer of shrink wrap keep the wood immobilized until the epoxy cures.

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