It’s been too long. I’m really looking forward to pouring a glob of that blue-tinted, syrup-thick liquid onto a crisscrossing fabric and watching it all disappear as I spread the epoxy resin to the far corners of the fiberglass cloth.
I have a project; so it’s just a matter of weeks before I’ll get some satisfaction. Although it won’t be a complete wave rider, as detailed in the book, “How To Build The World’s Most Incredible Wooden Surfboard,” there will be many similarities.
So, all the tips found there for glassing will apply. Some are obvious:
1) Make sure the surface area is clean and sanded smooth. Splinters, spikes or notches of any type can “catch” the fabric and separate the weave. Such a glitch will hinder the aesthetics and weaken the project’s structural integrity.
2) Don’t rush, but don’t waste time either. Trying to move too quickly will cause mistakes. Epoxy resin allows plenty of time for you to spread it around the work area before curing (hardening) begins. In fact, if you run short on the fluid, there’s time to mix more and continue laminating, even if you’re using the fast hardener. If you’re worried about time to work, however, you can use a more slowly activated hardener and move like a sloth.
3) Tackle the task in a moderate temperature. Glassing outside in icy winter temps will hamper the job. The liquid will thicken, making it difficult to spread, and chemical curing may wait until spring. A scorching summer day will speed the curing and maybe get you a sunburn.
4) Ensure there is good ventilation of the work area. Apparently, epoxy resin is much less toxic than polyester resin. But take no chances. Make sure air flows through the work space with ease. Wear a respirator (not just a dust mask) if there is any doubt.
5) Cover all of your skin. Leave none exposed. Fiberglass resin, regardless of type, is unfriendly to human skin. At best, it’s frustrating trying to clean it off. Good luck with that. At worst, it could burn your skin or cause serious reaction and long-lasting problems. There are probably additional – as of yet unknown – adverse reactions that can occur. Don’t try to discover what they might be. Cloak your epidermis.
If you follow all necessary and recommended safety precautions for working with fiberglass cloth and resin, your mind can then be free to thoroughly enjoy the endeavor. Wetting out the cloth really is a fun activity. Pick a project and give it a pour.
You can see more tips on laminating with fiberglass and building an entire surfboard with wood in the author’s book, available at your favorite major online book retailer, Amazon.com, or Barnes & Noble.