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Stitch and Glue 101 - Outside Glass & Keel

Outside Fiberglass:

All outside seams will be covered with fiberglass tape.

Before applying the tape, we fill the small gap between the two parts of the side and bottom panels with epoxy putty. This gap is the seam under the butt blocks.

Proceed the same way than for the inside seam except that we do not need a putty fillet. Instead, we round all corner with a quick pass of a grinder or sander to a radius of 1/2?.

Prepare your fiberglass tape lengths, prime the plywood and apply the tape in epoxy resin. Note the slit in the tape at the bow: this will produce a smooth corner without air bubbles.

Use two plastic putty knives to stretch the tape around the edge and squeeze out the excess resin.

For a smooth finish, apply a plastic sheet over the wet epoxy. Plain polyethylene is perfect. Use a rubber roller to press the plastic over the resin, This will make the edge of the tape almost invisible and greatly reduce the need for sanding. The plastic does not stick to epoxy and is easy to remove after the resin cure.
Our builders have nicknamed that technique ?poor man's peel ply?.

This completes the fiberglass work on the hull. Our next step will be the installation of the keel.


The correct name for this part is not keel but skeg but we will use the name keel.

Some builders prefer to install the keel after fairing the hull. On a small boat like the FL12, the keel is not in the way of faring and we will install it now.

The dimensions of the keel are given on the plans but you do not really need them.
In the pictures, we used a 1x3 board that was laying around the shop but you can also make the keel from a piece of plywood or even a 2x4.
We will first shape the keel to fit the bottom curvature. Again, great accuracy is not required. We do not need a tight fit. Quite the opposite, a gap between parts is required for the epoxy glue to bond.

Let's clamp the board to the transom with a clamp and a batten.

With the keel clamped to the transom, we scribe the curvature of the bottom with a pencil held approximately 1? above the hull. We use a small piece of wood as a marking gage.

Mark the rear edge of the keel, it lines up with the transom.

Cut along those lines and check: the keel now fits the bottom.
Again, do not worry about a small gap, we want a gap.

To finish, round the lower tip of the keel. Note the ?tool? used to draw the curve.

Round all edges, epoxy glue the keel to the bottom (duct tape will keep it place during the cure) and apply fiberglass tape between keel and bottom.

All this was done without taking any measurements.

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