Glassing the Deck: Challenges and Solutions - Petrel Play SG - E23

In this Episode, Nick and his friend Bill continue working on the Petrel Play, a stitch and glue sea kayak kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. They begin by preparing the skeg control slot, ensuring the hole is large enough for the router bit bearing. Nick and Bill then touch up the wood stain along the edges where it was sanded off during the rounding process.

Next, they apply protective tape around the top edge of the hull, creating a drip edge to contain epoxy messes during the fiberglass application. Nick mixes a batch of epoxy, and they carefully lay the fiberglass cloth over the deck, working around the cockpit and other contoured areas. Tensions in the cloth cause wrinkles and bridging, which they resolve by strategically cutting and patching the glass.

After resolving the bridging issues, Nick applies a filler coat of epoxy to begin filling the weave of the fiberglass cloth. He also installs and clamps the deck combing, taking care to avoid disturbing the laid fiberglass. In the outro, Nick trims the excess glass along the tape lines and applies another filler coat, explaining the process in detail.


  • 0:00 - Introduction to Petrel Play Kayak Build 
  • 0:50 - Preparing the Skeg Control Slot 
  • 2:36 - Touching up Wood Stain 
  • 4:20 - Applying Protective Tape for Glassing 
  • 5:58 - Mixing Epoxy and Fiberglass Application 
  • 15:05 - Challenges with Fiberglass Cloth Tension 
  • 19:23 - Resolving Fiberglass Wrinkles and Bridging 
  • 25:27 - Applying Filler Coat and Trimming 
  • 32:19 - Installing Deck Combing and Clamping 
  • 38:39 - Outro and Additional Filling/Trimming

Hey, welcome back to The Guillemot Kayaks Workshop. In this episode, Bill and I are continuing to work on the Petrel Play SG, a stitch and glue sea kayak kit made by Chesapeake Light Craft. The Petrel Play is my design, but Chesapeake Light Craft supplied us with the kit. In the last episode, we left off after doing a bunch of prep work. We're in the same day with this episode, but we're continuing on, and we're going to do the staining, touch-up, fiberglassing, and install the combing, so let's get right to it.

So we have the skeg control slot over here. If you remember when I installed it, I drilled a hole in here. One thing I forgot to mention was make sure the hole is large enough that the bearing on the router bit will fit through that, otherwise, you have to enlarge the hole like I did off-camera. You could cut this hole by hand with the pull saw like we did for the skeg box, and you know, before you mount it in there, and then come in with a rasper or file or something to clean that up. I have power tools, so I'm going to use some power tools here. Routers are really loud.

[Router Noise]

Protection should have vacuumed after that. Yeah, yeah, no, that's a good point. All right, so we've got that hole made. We can clean up this edge a little bit. I notice I have some pencil marks here from marking where that skeg box is supposed to be. I'll erase those. Where the tube comes in, it made the router jump out a little bit here, not in a bad way. Pretty straightforward.

So the next thing we're going to do is touch up this stain again. My high-tech paintbrush is just a little Q-tip, and remember that, for example, down here, it's scuffed up and looks gray because we've sanded the fiberglass and epoxy. There's still plenty of stain there; it's below the fiberglass and epoxy, so we don't need to try and make this light area where we've scuffed it up look dark by staining it. The only place we need to apply the stain is right where the stain has been taken off in our rounding over process. So I'll make sure we get the same stain here, medium brown mahogany sounds good, keep it nice and wet, and just right down on that unstained bit, and we'll take and rub off the excess there. So we're going to do all of these edges here. So we'll go all up and down with that and likewise up in these narrow ones.

And that looks a little bit lighter, but chances are once we get the fiberglass and epoxy on there, that will darken up and be a good match. All right, so we got to do the whole thing. Okay, so what do you do with the divots where we? Well, that's an aesthetic choice. What do you want to do with them? I would leave them bright. I like them bright. Cool, leave them bright, don't put stain on. So I notice you wipe it off regularly and quickly. Yeah, because it dries so fast, there's no point in wiping it off half an hour later. Oh, if you want to wipe off the excess, you got to do it while it's still wet, and that's going to be within 15 seconds or so, and then basically, it's going to come off the epoxy where it doesn't soak in much quicker than it comes off the, you know, bare wood. So I'm trying to wipe it off that. Yeah, so you don't get a dark stripe on the epoxy.

Yeah, all right, other the spots. Okay, here's that way, too, they just come out that way. All right, yeah, right, like I said, they might look a little light to begin with, but chances are they'll darken up and look perfect once you get the epoxy on it later in. So back here on the stern, most of this stuff we got a really nice crisp line along that shine up here where we're coming and rolling over onto the hull. We have a pretty nice straight line there instead of trying to blend this down to that edge. We'll just leave that as is and call it a feature. All right, so we're almost ready to glass here. What I want to do is contain my messes, so I want to basically keep epoxy from just draining down the side of the boat here.

To do that, I'm going to take a strip of blue tape, and this is approximately 2 inches wide. I want this strip of blue tape about 2 inches below the top edge of the boat, so about the tape width, and we're gonna try and lay this down nice smooth continuous thing about two inches down. And this is where practice on applying tape comes in handy seems like everybody should know how to apply tape, but it's not as easy as it looks. All right, so I have that blue tape about two inches down. Now I'm going to take and fold the bottom edge of this tape under so I'm creating a drip edge there. This won't stick to the boat, so I'm taking this edge, I'm lifting the bottom edge and just folding it over a quarter inch or so, do that along the whole length, and so I want this edge to be out away from the hull. That way, if any drips come, they fall off of this and don't run all the way across the hull, continue all the way down, creating that drip edge all the way to the end, make sure the top edge is rubbed down stuck well.

Now I'm going to take green tape. You don't have to use different color tapes, but I have different color tapes, so I'm going to use them, and I'm going to make this overlap the top of the blue tape a half inch or so, centimeter, something like that, follow this down. We'd like to have at least an inch of glass overlapping onto the hull, so keep this no closer than like an inch or so, and that we will rub down so it's well stuck in place. So we're going to take and wrap the glass down onto the hull here and wet it out onto the green tape, so we'll see the green tape through the glass. And then we'll let that set up, and this will be after Bill's gone home. I'll come back and trim with a utility knife just above the green tape and trim off the excess glass. If I have a light touch, I can cut through that glass without cutting into the old epoxy and glass, and then peel off the excess. Then I will do a fill coat, which is starting to fill in the weave, and I will wet out to the blue tape. And when that fill coat is started to set up a little bit, I'll peel the blue tape off so there's a nice clean edge there too. And by having these two tapes, I start to bury the edge of that fiberglass in a fill coat, so when I go to sand it, it's a little bit smoother to begin with. So want to try that on the other side? Sure, yeah, if you're right-handed, you're probably going to want to go from left to right using your right hand to distribute the tape and your left hand to stick it down.

[Taping Sounds]

While Bill's doing that, I'm just going to put some Ros and paper inside the boat under the hatches, just in case we drip epoxy off the hatches and off the cockpit, just to keep the messes on in check.

[Taping Sounds]

Oh yeah, that could get flattened down if you don't get that whole thing. Yeah, just because it's not sticking now doesn't mean it'll stay not sticking, right? You run a squeegee over it once or something; it'll stick right down. Didn't think of that, and so this goes just over the edge of that, just above? Yeah, so it, it's overlapping the blue tape, right, just a little bit. But we're more concerned about having at least an inch here; it can be more than an inch, right, but not less, not less. Okay, I think we were ready to glass.

We took a little break just to get some water and some sustenance in this because once you sort of get to the fiberglass and epoxy, kind of got to continue until you're done, so preparing yourself mentally and physically, good idea. All right, so I've got my scissors; I've got a roll of glass over here. So in the last time we did the hull, we plied it at a bit of a diagonal, and we ended up with this little bit of extra off one corner, which now we will use that to get a little bit of overlap here, make sure you've got enough width to get all the way down to the green tape again. This cloth is going on a little bit diagonally, and that will assist in laying it down over some of those sharper angles, laying it down as smoothly as we can, and we'll trim off the excess here down as far as the blue tape. You don't need to have it go beyond that much. Do you need those extra heavy shears to cut this, or no? Regular scissors will cut fiberglass; they need to be sharp. You, they need to be well-adjusted, so good quality, but not necessarily, right? You know, your regular Fiskers or whatever scissors will probably do fine. You probably don't want to use your spouse's fine fabric scissors because fiberglass will really dull them.

So we're going to use a roller tray and a roller again, a little bit of brush action, a little bit of squeegee action, and we will start around the cockpit. There's quite a bit of contour going on here in the cockpit area, and we want to get the glass to lay down on that, come up over the lip here and down. So we want to saturate the cloth all the way down to the green tape. Okay, we don't need to saturate beyond the green tape, just to the green tape, just to the green tape. And so onto the green tape, so you see the green tape showing brightly through instead of seeing the green tape through the white. We want to see a nice green line. Okay, so again, I'm not making a huge batch. I've got 3/4 of an inch down here, and I was thinking about why do I use such a big jug when I'm not filling it up that well? Yeah, part of it is I can just let go of the stirring stick, yeah, and it doesn't fall on the floor. Likewise, with a brush, I can put a brush in there, and also, I can be a little bit laxed basically with this and not having it spill all over the place. Those are just like yogurt containers. Yeah, this is just a yogurt container; it is literally a yogurt container. Even when I buy containers, I buy, you know, fairly large containers, and I never mix them up more than like a quarter of the way up because, like I was saying the other day with the roller and the tray, I don't know where to put it, yeah, when I'm working.

I think the roller and tray works well, but with this, I can, you know, distribute some epoxy here, put the brush in my container, pick up a squeegee, squeegee it, yeah, hold the, you know, put the squeegee in my hand, grab the brush, spread some more around, right? That's your preferred method? That, that's what I have settled on. Yeah, I'm not sure it's the easiest overall. The using the brush to distribute the epoxy, it's a little bit sloppy; it doesn't get it everywhere. The roller is probably a little bit more; it provides a more uniform application than the brush does. It, it's probably the roller is probably a little bit more controlled. Yeah, it was easier for me, yeah, right, and you know, that's what matters.

I was just trying to think, why do I do it the way I do? Yeah, it's cuz you don't have three hands, right? I don't have three hands, and I haven't always analyzed exactly why I do it the way I do it, but that's one of the reasons you know. There's probably other reasons; that's the one I'm settling on for now. So I, I do want to have a brush handy, so I'm just going to drop that in there. Actually, I have a roller tray; I want to put most of the epoxy in here, but I'll want that brush for later on, and now we're going to start in the cockpit area. So we don't want to be putting epoxy down into the hole; we want to get it around the hole, stuff sort of stuck down all the way around, and then see how far that gets us with the squeegee. So you can squeegee a bit if you feel so inclined, and again, it, it takes a little while for the epoxy to soak in. I've said this before, and I think Bill's internalized it a bit, but we're just using the roller to get the epoxy not trying to get the whole thing wet out with the roller, give the epoxy a little bit of time, see where the dry spots are later and add more as necessary.

And then I'm going to start going down the side. I have this skeg slot over here; I don't want to overfill that with epoxy, and I want to get it down onto the green tape. If you just have small spots that need a little dab of epoxy, the brush is a fine way to get it where you need it. So we do want to get wet out all the way to the edge of this plywood here. Okay, so any, any spots along that edge that appear a little dry, go ahead and add a little bit more. All right, so I've got a little bit of epoxy left here after doing that, so I don't want it sitting in there. I'm just going to start to distribute this around. You need any more over that, that side, Bill, probably? Yeah, right over here.

So back here, I just went, you-us of one roll over it with the roller, and now if I hit that with the squeegee, doesn't wet it out completely, but you see it gets most of it, dab of a brush here, dab of a brush there, dab. So one thing that's a little bit tricky about this combing area is we will get some bridging up in here. We have a hollow section, kind of like the inside of the boat. Oh yeah, so we just want to be aware of that, like the inside of the boat. We don't need to make it all perfect right now, but we want to make sure in the end that we don't end up with a bridge there. Okay, I'm going to mix up some more epoxy.

[Epoxy Mixing Sounds]

We have another roll, right? In that dry spot. All right, there we go. Let's get down onto the tape there a little bit, just to give a good one, good roll down there.

Yeah, should I keep spreading it, or if you've still got more epoxy in there? Yeah, let's get it out of, out of there onto the boat, onto the boat. You know, we've got this contour to deal with, yeah, so let's try and get, see, it, you know, this is going to be tricky. So deep, but see what happens. My inclination is, I want to take my hand and pull the cloth that I have to stop myself from doing, yeah. There's times when that approach, that's appropriate, but now is not that time, right? We want to switch sides on occasion, so this, we've got a lot of bridging issues going back and forth. All right, so this's, there's a lot of bridging going on over there. How do you think we should deal with that? I say cut this, yeah, let's get a little clipping in there. Might not solve all the problems, or release some of the tension. All right, that's improvement already. Where do you want to go from there? This, this, we, you push on this side; it pops up on this side, push, pop. So that's tension across this way. I'm going to end up cutting a little bit farther onto this, oh, just to release that, yeah. Now we have a little gap in the glass there, just you make a patch, yeah, clever. All right, so let's see if we can get that settled down in there. All right, all right, that looks great. Yeah, so this vertical wrinkles go out perpendicular, so I'd take this, try and pull this whole bit down this way and maybe down here and have it fall off this edge. Okay, that look like it did something? It does, yeah, all right, that looks great.

So on the ends here, we have cloth that's not folding it around, yeah. We're going to end up putting a keel strip along the stems. Okay, you know, remember there's a little place down here that had a little uncovered section when we did the hull? Yep, so you know, we could try to wrap this around, but there's really not enough stuff there to make it happen. Okay, likewise at this end, you know, we could trim this a little bit closer just to let it wrap as, as much as it can, but then we will come and put a strip of bias cut cloth from the keel all the way up, yep, wrapping around there and cover that end. Okay, yeah, do we want to dab this out? This is still a little, yeah, right, that, that was a patch I put in that I didn't get around to dabbing out, yeah. So doing an inspection of the whole thing, looking at it closely, is always wise.

What about these holes here for the, we do, yeah, the, the holes for the grab loops? We'll just trim the glass out of there and paint some epoxy in there during doing various fill coats; we don't need glass in there, right? Okay, all right. On the hole looks great, let's go ahead and put the combing lip on, oh, okay.

So we have this bit and this bit will go down here, and so I'm going to mix up a little bit of epoxy, thicken it up a bit, we'll paint the top and bottom of this piece, lay it in there and clamp it down. Oh, you clamp it, huh? Yeah, we'll clamp it down, so we, we'll need to make sure that we don't snag cloth with the clamps and, you know, get pull tension into things. Oh, yeah, yeah, okay.

So I'm just going to make a bunch of clips around here, just so the cloth can fold away, and oh, we're getting ready for this, anything you can think of from today that is worthy of note? Oh, there was so much today, it was a lot, yeah, it was a lot. So we started out, where did we start out, just cleaning up the seams, cleaning up the seams, yep. So doing a chamfer of at, beveling it, equally between the, whatever the angle is where the two pieces of wood come together, yeah. And then trying to make a nice rounded corner that the glass will fold over without tanking it all, yeah, being cognizant if you certainly if you're using a plane that the grain of the plywood is going a certain direction, and we don't want to tear it, yeah. I think that pretty much covered the, those seams.

Then we cleaned up some drips and the wires using tape, yeah, with the tape, yeah. So on the hull, we roughed up the top edge of the hull so this glass that's laying down over it had a good mechanical surface to bond to there, um, and then I think we stained that, you know? I think that we, right, went to staining, and then, mhm.

So I'm just going to put a nice bead on both, you know, nice buildup of epoxy, and I thickened the epoxy a little bit with cellulose powder. We have the epoxy holding the fiberglass down is a bit wet still, so we don't need to be quite as liberal with this on that deck to riser joint, but we still want to make sure this is going to be a waterproof and sealed and strong area, yeah. This takes a lot of force, this, it does, yeah. You know, you can end up lifting the whole boat when it's full of water from the combing, yeah, right? And we want it to be kind of strong enough to do that.

So I've just stuck that down, tried to line it up all the way around. Now I'm going to take and butter up the top edge of this, and this whole thing will be wrapped in glass in the, right, then we'll, we'll wrap it in glass in another operation, get this lined up, want to grab a couple clamps from over there? Sure. So I'll put a clamp at the front and the back, and just make sure everything's lined up. And remember about the location of the clamps; if we took this clamp and did this, it would fold that edge down. We want to set the clamp so it's on the stack apply with. There, am I going too many? No, there's no such thing as too many.

All right, so that was a lot, that was a lot today, yeah, yeah, no, but it looks great. I'd say you're getting the feel of spreading the epoxy, doing the fiberglassing, you know, you did this, and that's a lot going on in, in the homing recesses, that's a lot going on that I, I think the, the thought process I had while I was doing this was if I were doing this by myself and I had to do all those cockpicks by myself, I, I would have to move much faster, yeah, you know? Right now that I don't know the temperature in here, it's 70-something probably. If you had it down at 65, the downside would be the epoxy is thicker; it doesn't saturate the cloth as quickly, okay? The upside is you have more time, right?

So what I tend to do is I turn the heat on before I come into the shop, and when I start the fiberglassing, I turn it off, right? So the temperature starts dropping, and that gives you more time; it makes the boat warm, the epoxy warm, right, but it's cooling off as the day goes by. And the advantage of that also is you can get out-gassing if you have rising temperatures, oh, you mentioned that before, yeah, yeah. So air trapped in the wood being pushed out as it warms up, right? If it cools off, then it's sucking that epoxy in, right? No, I think did great today; it looks great, and I think it's coming out great.

Later today, Bill will go home, but I will do a fill coat on this. I'll trim the glass here, so we'll see that. I'll do an outro now and then have a little bit of highlight reels at the end of doing the fill coat and trimming of the glass. I really appreciate you guys watching, and if you want to see more of this sort of stuff, there's all the YouTube things, turn on notifications to let you know when a new video drops, subscription just so it's in your subscription feed, then hit like, share, all that fun stuff. Patreon, I've got a Patreon site if you want to support, that's all great. So until the next episode, thanks for watching and happy paddling. Yeah, wow, and you still got more work to do.

So Bill's gone for the day; I just want to do the trimming off the glass here and then do a fill coat. So I have a utility knife here with a brand new blade, good and sharp, and I'm just going to trim just above the green tape here, and then peel the green tape off, and that should remove the excess glass that I'm trimming off and leave a nice crisp line there, start by just so trimming off the glass here. So the glass here is still soft, just get to the end of the tape here. I'm just going to lightly score just above the green tape. I want to leave the blue tape.

[Trimming Sounds]

So the glass is trimmed, leaves a nice clean edge there. It's worthwhile to inspect things to see if there's any tape left over; you can take a little scraper and remove any tape if there is any tape left behind.

So I'm going to use a standard chip brush here to apply the fill coat. So the fill coat's just standard epoxy, see, unthickened, painted on the surface to start to fill the weave of the cloth here, you see the texture here. We're trying to fill that now. So if you've watched my videos before, you may have seen this trick, but if not, here it is. These cheap tip brushes tend to lose bristles, so little bit of tape wrapped around the finger here, and we're just going to dab the brush on that tape and start to loosen up some of those. It's not going to get all of them; it'll make a bit of a difference.

The other thing you can do is take your chip brush here, a little bit of CA glue, and just put it right along the top of the ferrule, just like that, and give a little spritz. So I'm going to put on some gloves, mix up some epoxy, and start doing a fill coat.

So once again, I've got the blue tape on here, which was a half inch or so below the green tape, and so I want to put this fill coat all the way down onto that blue tape, and that's going to start to bury the edge of that cloth under there, and we'll be able to feather it out nicely.

So we got a batch of epoxy here, and my process is fairly straightforward. I want to get a relatively thick coat of epoxy on here, got a heavy brush, splatter it around the inside just to get rid of the wor strips. Now I'm going to paint it on here in horizontal strokes down the side onto the tape, then I'm going to do vertical strokes, and then finish off with horizontal strokes, and then I'm going to move down the boat. And I'm only doing half the boat at the time here; you'll go down this side, then come back up the other side to get the other side. So horizontal followed by vertical, which on the deck back here since the deck's so flat, those vertical strokes look like horizontal strokes, but we're going lengthwise versus across the boat.

Be careful coming across an edge like the chine here; if I drag my brush across that, it tends to pull out a big glob of epoxy which will run down the side, so I'm careful to try not to drag across an edge like that. You see those drips, so brush around in the recess here and then up and down strokes just to level it off and finish with some light horizontal strokes. I'm not actually going to do a full fill coat down in the level part of the bottom of the hatch here; that's going to get covered by the hatch rim, so it doesn't need it. All right, continue on on the deck proper, lengthwise strokes, cross strokes, lengthwise, lengthwise down onto the side here. So I don't end up crossing the brush over that shine down below the shear line, up, up and down strokes, and then finish off lengthwise strokes, move down the boat, mix up some more epoxy.

[Epoxy Mixing Sounds]

Okay, so that's a fill coat. Once again, an unnecessary step, but it can make a little bit of a difference. If there's any bubbles trapped in the epoxy, a little bit of blowtorch [Blowtorch Sounds] action can help level everything out, pop those bubbles. Be careful where there's loose glass hanging out; that can act kind of like a wick on a candle, and you can actually light it on fire. All right, looks great, so that's the process of putting on a fill coat, and I will peel this tape off probably tomorrow morning, best would probably be within an hour or so after applying the fill coat, after the epoxy stopped moving but it's still pretty soft. But I, I, it's 8:30 now; I'll probably go to bed before it's time to peel it off, and we'll see you in the next episode.