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Stitch and Glue 101 - Frames & Fiberglass

Bottom Panel Installation:

Carefully flip the whole assembly, bottom side up:



A few notes:
-Only the transom and the two mid frames are in place in this picture. We will add the two other frames and line them up with the marks we drew on the sides.
-We support the mid frames with blocks.
-There is no need to check diagonals: the bottom panel will straighten the assembly.



With all the frames installed, the bottom panel is installed over the sides. Note the weight in the middle and the clamps to keep the panel in place while we tape it.
Ideally, the bottom panel and the sides are joined along their inside edge but great precision is not required. A gap of up to 1/2? is acceptable. The strength of the chine comes from the fiberglass tape, not from a wood assembly.



All outside seams are taped. We prefer to use sturdy duct tape but masking tape will work. You will probably not need stitches between the sides and bottom.

Flip the hull over again.

Gluing the Frames to the Hull:

The next step is to epoxy glue all the frames to the hull side and bottom. We will proceed one frame at a time. For each frame, the steps are as follow:

-Remove the frame.
-Prime the hull with epoxy resin.
-Apply epoxy glue to the edge of the frame (batten).
-Install the frame in the hull.
-Remove the excess resin that comes out of the glued joint.
-Brush some more epoxy over the glued seam you just made.



No fiberglass is used in this step. Note that we prime (pre coat) all surfaces with epoxy resin before applying the glue and that we smoothen the glued joint with liquid resin. This gives a nice finish and eliminate the need for sanding.
Proceed one frame at a time: if you remove all the frames at once, the hull will lose it's shape.



Fiberglass:

Hull Fiberglass Seams:
The next step is to build all the inside fiberglass seams.



Fiberglass Tape and Putty Fillets:

We will build fiberglass seams with fiberglass tape and epoxy resin between the side panels and the bottom, at the bow and all around the transom.
No fiberglass seams are required along the frames.

We will cut tape lengths to fit exactly over the seams, not longer.
You must prime all surfaces that will be taped and we recommend to cut all the pieces of tape in advance, roll them and mark them.
To build those seams, we will work wet on wet. This means that we do not wait for the epoxy or putty to cure between steps. Working wet on wet reduce the sanding by 90%.

The Steps:

-Cut all the required fiberglass tape.
-Prime the plywood.
-Prepare putty: mix epoxy resin and woodflour to the consistency of peanut butter.
-Apply putty in all corners, work in one “box” at a time.
-Apply the fiberglass tape over the wet putty and apply resin to the fiberglass.
-For a smooth finish, brush epoxy over the finished seam: no sanding will be required.


Typical stitch and glue fiberglass seam made of fiberglass tape over an epoxy putty fillet.


Epoxy putty fillet at the bow.

Some Tips:
-Spread the epoxy putty with a tongue depressor, it produces the perfect radius.
-Brush epoxy over the wet putty and apply the tape immediately.
-For a perfect job, use a fiberglass lamination roller.




A fiberglass lamination roller produces a clean and smooth fiberglass seam with no entrapped air.

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