Monday, August 30, 2010

Carbon Rowing Deck off the form!

At last I got to pull the deck off the form. Couldn't believe it!...I think it weighs less than a pound! It's not quite perfect....but with a little work it will be just fine... Ya hoooo!

Here it is mocked up with the seat, slides and vent covers in place.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Laying carbon at long last

To lay the first layer of carbon the initial coat of epoxy needs to get to the perfect consistency.... sticky enough to leave a finger print, but dry enough to let go of the cloth if you pick it up gently. Given the summer temperatures we've had I thought it would take about 2 hours to get there after brushing it on. The weather has cooled this week though, and it took about 8 hours! Consequently I was laying carbon by halogen lamp and car headlights.

I have to stop right here and give a huge 'Thank you' to my husband who was my patient helper during this critical stage, and who has been unconditionally supportive throughout the whole project. The epoxy was taking SO long to harden up that I'd almost given up for the day.....but when I checked it at 9:30PM and it was perfect, Rick's response was, "If you're up to it now, I'll help!" We were out there untill 11:00PM. This photo was taken when we did the 2nd layer the next morning. Thanks, Rick!!

I am using 5.8oz twill weave carbon. Having never handled that type of cloth before I wasn't sure how easily it would bend around the contours of the form, but the weave is very loose and in the end it went on beautifully.

We unrolled it in four sections, working from the stern end to the bow. One successful trick was laying a sheet of clear vinyl on top of the tacky epoxy as a 'resting spot' for the glass roll, until we were ready to lift the vinyl out of the way and move onto the next section. I knew from building the form that vinyl and epoxy don't stick to each other, at least, not very easily. To explain this, I took a photo as we set up to do the 2nd layer this morning.

Here is the first layer, trimmed up around the form. Now I can't wait to pop it off the form to see the finished face!

Final smoothing of the form

Smoothing the form was a LOT of work. I could have been at it for months, but at some point had to call it good enough. I was using polyester resin (smoothing putty) for automotive work. After cutting out the two vent holes with a jigsaw the form was ready for applying PVA mold release agent. I laid on six layers using a HVLP air gun. The next step was to brush on a single thin coat of epoxy and let it get to the right consistency of finish to lay on the carbon fiber.