Mastering Bias-Cut Glass - Petrel Play SG - E25

Nick kicks things off by welcoming the viewer back to the workshop, where he and Bill are working on the Stitch and Glue Petrel Play kayak kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. They're focusing on fiberglassing the deck and keel strip, continuing from the previous episode where they prepped the surfaces.

Nick explains the importance of cutting glass strips on a bias, demonstrating how it allows the material to conform better around curves and corners. He carefully cuts and folds several 4-inch wide bias strips, ready for application. Bill gets hands-on experience too, learning the delicate handling required.

With a fresh batch of epoxy mixed, Nick walks Bill through wetting out the combing area and strategically laying the bias strips, wrapping them around the lip and under the deck. They problem-solve any tricky sections, like the knee braces, ensuring full coverage while minimizing excess material.

Shifting focus to the keel area, Nick applies the same bias strip technique to reinforce the stern and bow sections prone to beach dragging. He meticulously works the glass around the skeg box, explaining the reasoning behind adding this extra "armor" layer.

As they wrap up, Nick reflects on the progress made and outlines the next steps: heavy sanding, fill coats, and varnishing. He emphasizes the value of hands-on experience for viewers interested in tackling such a project themselves.


  • 0:00 - Introduction to Stitch and Glue Petrel Play SG 
  • 1:02 - Preparing Fiberglass Strips 
  • 5:04 - Cutting and Handling Bias Cut Strips 
  • 6:37 - Applying Fiberglass to the Combing 
  • 10:05 - Wrapping Fiberglass Cloth around the Combing 
  • 26:04 - Applying Fiberglass around the Skeg Box 
  • 31:00 - Future Plans for the Build 
  • 34:09 - Understanding the Video Series

Hey, welcome back to The Guillemot Kayaks Workshop! I'm Nick Schade, and Bill and I are working on the Stitch and Glue Petrel Play or the Petrel Play SG, which is a kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. It's my design. Chesapeake Light Craft supplied us with the kit, and we are in the process of doing some of the detailed fiberglassing on the deck and the keel strip.

So, the last episode, I cut off rather abruptly just to break it up into episodic segments. Previously, we sanded the inside perimeter of the combing, we trimmed off the skeg box, we got the keel line all ready for a little bit more glassing, and now, we are going to dive directly into the fiberglassing by cutting some bias-cut strips of fiberglass cloth.

So let's get to it! So, I think we're ready to prep some glass. So what I'm going to do is cut some strips of like 4 inches wide, which is, call it 8 cm, something like that. This isn't critical what the dimension is, but what we want is to be able to go from the top of the combing, which is a couple of centimeters wide and an inch wide, down the riser, which is another couple of centimeters, an inch or so, and then under the deck about an inch or so. So I said 4 inches, it sounds like we need 3 inches, but if we have a little bit extra, that's good. We want to cut strips long enough to go all the way around the boat, around the cockpit, once one continuous strip. Well, it's not going to be a continuous strip because the glass is not long enough or wide enough. So, if you had a piece long enough, could you make it conform that way? Yeah, you could. And so we're going to take our roll of glass, which is 50 inches wide, and be cutting on a 45 across that. Yeah, so it ends up being like 6 feet long, you know, it gets pretty close all the way around. You can take a bunch of short pieces, build them up, overlap them an inch, couple centimeters. Okay.

All right, oh, we've got a little bit of stain here, so I think the first thing we should do is just touch up that little spot of stain. Okay, so I've got the rest of the roll of glass here that came with the kit, and I'm going to roll it out sort of at a 45° angle to my workbench here, then cut a strip. You'll see the lines if I, you look down this way, you see some lines that are running at a 45° angle, sort of these set of striped lines there. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, see that? So I'm just following those, that those are the intersections of the weave plain weave cloth just creating the appearance of a line there, 3 to 4 inches wide.

Now the reason we're cutting this on a diagonal is because we need to wrap it all the way around that combing, both around the circumference of it and from the top of the lip down the riser underneath. So we need some cloth that's going to distort very easily, and I've probably shown you this before, but here we've got the piece of cloth that is the width of my hand. If I were to lift this up too forcefully, now I have a piece of cloth that's lift with the two fingers, this won't work because I need to get all the way around the top of the lip, the side, and underneath, right? You can stretch this back out again, get all funky. Yeah, it, it's just not quite ever the same when you're dealing with this stuff. Don't yank on it, then you get a belt, right, you know, it's kind of cool in its own way.
So I'm going to toss that one aside, roll out a little bit more here, make another cut following those diagonal lines I see in the fabric, and now when I go to handle this, first I'm going to cut the diagonal ends off, pull it in gently, cut both ends off, now I'm going to take this and fold it into a nice little pile and pick it up gently, and I'll put that aside someplace safe. Right, even this, this cloth hanging off the end, since we're cutting this at a diagonal, you want to be a little bit careful about how you handle that, otherwise the line starts to get disturbed. The idea is not to pull on it too much, so I don't even hold on to the cloth at all. I try, because you can, you know, if you like put your thumb on one end of that and then jammed your scissors in, you've all of a sudden pulled it and made it narrower. Right? So again, cut the ends off of that and fold it up in a nice even pile. Yeah, I noticed you're being very delicate with the cloth, and I, I didn't really understand why you did that.

You see how it wants to jiggle off to the side? So having a good wide workbench where you can lay everything down can really be helpful with this, right? Otherwise, you know, that piece of cardboard we were using earlier, uh-huh, flip it over, use a clean side of that, a piece of plywood, your dining room floor, whatever works for you, right? One more, you think? Yeah, yeah, let's go for one more.

All right, so we got four of them. So we're back over at the combing, what we're going to end up doing is laying this on here, wrapping it around onto the top of the lip, on the side of the deck down here. We'll need to make some clips to get past the knee braces here and work our way all the way around. So the parts where the knee braces are, we'll just let the cloth go onto the knee brace, and we'll clip it so the rest before the knee brace can wrap underneath the deck. And we want to get this the full width of the lip and underneath the deck. We've already got a layer of glass on the top and bottom of the combing, so it's not super critical we get more there. That's what we're trying for, it's a lot easier if everything's sort of fully covering it rather than having a rough edge hanging out. So we're now just going to mix up some epoxy, put some gloves on, and go to town on that.

All right, so I've mixed up sort of a regular batch of epoxy. Bill noticed that I rarely make more than like 3/4 of an inch or an inch at a time in these big buckets. I just sort of found for me that's about as much as I can handle when I'm doing something fussy before, you know, things start to kick off. So again, I want to get stuff out fairly quickly, but in this case, I'm doing something different than we've always done before. I'm going to get epoxy onto the surface where I want the glass to be. With this bias-cut cloth, it distorts easily, and I need to be able to sort of get it in place and, you know, move down the length of it without being able to hold it everywhere all at once. So basically, the wetting-out coat of epoxy is just to make the cloth stay where I put it. I may be better off not going all the way around all at once, but I can always apply some more. We'll see how far we get at at a time here.

Now I've got this cloth that we've carefully folded, and I'm going to carefully take it out, stick it up against the vertical surface there, sort of centering it on there. And again, I'm not tugging on it, I'm just letting it naturally fall into place. I'd like enough length up above to go all the way across the top of the combing and enough length left over below to get down underneath the deck. So now, since it's wet with epoxy, it's staying pretty much where I put it. Now I'm going to dab at it and start to get it to fold over. So I'm not stroking at it because that will pull on that ability to distort and start to move it around. I'm just trying to get it situated in place, and I'm not going to try and wrap it around the outer edge of the combing and back underneath. I have done that in other situations if you've seen that before, you can do it, I just think it's overkill.
So we have the end of the knee brace right about here, I'm going to take and make a cut right into there, another one back at this end, and there's the cheek plate back here where we want this to wrap underneath and this to go onto the cheek plate. One more little snip right here. So now I'm going to try and wipe this onto the underside of the deck, use a fairly wet sloppy brush here. We don't want to make a mess, but we want to make sure that that has enough epoxy to saturate the cloth on the cheek plates here. We want to fully saturate that, make sure it's tucked all the way into that corner. It should be able to handle this inside corner with a little bit of gentle persuasion, and again, get it wrapped up up underneath there. And if you get your eye down underneath, see what's going on as best as you can. So that's one piece.

So now we'll take the next piece, we want to overlap an inch or so. Can either start here and go that way, or start here and go that way, but we're going to get all the way around, and then when we start overlapping again, we'll just trim this short again, overlap it an inch or so. All right. All right, you going to give it a try? Why not? And remember, not to tug on it. No tugging. And I, I lay it on the vertical, on the vertical first, on the vertical first, that's sort of defining how long it needs to be. It's hard not to tug on it.

Yeah, yeah, you don't need to do the tapping unless you, you really enjoy it. It was kind of fun, yeah, I guess. And now we're going to sort of carefully fold it down, so dab at a little bit to get it to fold over the, there you go. Do keep in mind we don't want to make a mess on the deck below this, so try to, yeah, not overdo it. I overdid it, but we can come back and with a rag and clean. Okay, so I didn't come get it over far enough here. Well, that's fine, it is, you know, we'd like it to overlap beyond the edge slightly, but if we don't do it, we've got glass on there already, it's not super critical. Okay, but just you know, you're getting a feel for how far it goes and how much it wraps around. You see it, it'll do stuff you don't expect it to do. Yeah, I, I was surprised when you went around the corner up there and it, it laid down. Yeah, if we use regular like the seam tape, the inside seam tape where it's woven lengthwise, if you had laid it on the vertical part, that's how long the tape is. Let's say it's the circumference of this is 60 inches, uh-huh, and now you try to lay the top of it over, and let's say this was a circle, pi r squared, or what's the circumference of the circle? 2 pi r, right?

So 2 pi r, so if you add an inch to the radius, that adds six inches to the length. Yeah. And how, how you, it that means those yarns have to stretch 6 inches to get around the boat. I'm not sure I'm doing the math right, by cutting it, I'm not going to correct you, by cutting it on a diagonal, we're just counting on those yarns shifting this way as opposed to stretching, right? Yeah, yeah, yeah, that makes sense. Do something there? No, don't worry about this there, this bit hanging over, just let that, when it hardens, we'll trim that off, just like we have before. But yeah, there's a place back here where you might need a little clip. I can probably reach that better.

So I'm just, I got a few drips here, should I clean those up? Yeah, those boxes, yeah, also there's those boxes of blue rags up there, blue towels. All right, and now so now you want to fold that, you know, so I find sort of doing something like this to sort of fold it back under, that's not necessarily enough to saturate it, but it'll get it tucked back there and gets it moving. Yeah, there you go. Oops, yeah. So when we did, when I installed the cheek plates here, I didn't glass the, this side of that fillet. So now we have glass the side of that fillet. I put two layers of glass in behind here, but I didn't put any layer of glass over this way, or maybe I put one. Yeah, I put one, but I, I didn't put a lot there, and so this is reinforcing that whole joint between the cheek plate, the deck, and the combing. Okay, yeah, it's probably hanging down over here a little bit.

That looks good, so we're going to overlap by an inch, yep, and we're going to go on the inside, and we get on, so yeah, I, I stick it in place, and then you know, estimate where I'm going to end up and trim it off. All right?

Too much, that's all right, it's all right, it's more than you need, but again, we're trying to get it down onto the knee brace.

There, all right, I think we're pretty much good. It, yeah, no, it looks good. Yeah, so now we have just this little bit up there. Okay, so we've got a couple little spots here. We've got this place where there was a bubble, and we sanded down, and we did come back and touch that up with staining off camera. Then we've got these little bits that when we glassed the deck initially, we didn't actually get glass down into there, not super critical, but we can lay a piece of glass down on each of those. This bias-cut stuff actually works pretty well for that sort of stuff. We're going to get that tucked down in there as best we can. We got some epoxy, sure? So this, this won't take much epoxy at all, just to get that wetted down. And I'm not going to necessarily try and fold it all the way around, we're just trying to cover the that little semicircle that we've made there with this piece. I didn't get that sanded all the way down flat, there's sort of a ridge around it. So what I'd like to do is make a piece of glass that sort of fits that hole. Oh yeah, just kind of pat it out with that.

Yeah, make a little narrower, so we'll just put some epoxy in there, place that little patch in there, and then we, we can put another larger piece over top of that, and it'll require some sanding to get it all smooth, but that, that should do the trick. So here we want a piece to cover over the that area where we've sanded away the glass, and then we might be able to get one bias cut piece to cover all of that if we have a piece like that long, mhm. It doesn't look like we've sanded down this side here, so if we overlap, if we end up wrapping that glass a little bit down the side, that would be good. It's okay to have it oversized, we'll, you know, just feather it in that way. Okay, oops, right, and a little bit of pre-coat there. Yeah, I'm going of slobbish. Can I show you? And you want to press this down around, let's see what we can reasonably do and still get everything covered. So you know, experiment a little bit, you know, we, we want that area, you know, where you sanded away the glass, we want that covered. We want this area in the in the little divot covered. Yeah, if wrapping it down makes a bubble again, we don't want to do that, we're trying to fix the bu-. I got what you're saying. Yeah, I think it's going to bubble. All right, so it's easier to deal with it if it just sort of comes straight off, then we can trim that. I think it'll be okay on that side, this side looks like it's struggling a little bit more. All right, and I'd like a little patch over that bit there, and that after it's all sanded out, and it'll disappear completely. Make sure it's fully saturated there so you don't see any white spots, might not take more glass or more epoxy to do it, but it needs to, make sure there's some epoxy there. I think that should cover the deck process stuff. Okay, make sure we don't put it down on any of that wet glass. Okay, I'm just going to inspect this to make sure it's not trying to fall off or anything, it looks okay.

Okay, so the skeg box is here, we need a couple strips of glass, one to go from the stern here up to a foot past the skeg box, and another piece maybe a little bit longer to do the same on the bow.

All right, so we'll cut another piece of bias-cut. Oh, so you just use that same cloth, you don't use that strippy stuff? No, no, because again, we're in, we're wrapping around. Oh, so you want that bias? If it's long, if it's right, you know, we got to wrap around this contour here, right? So it needs to be bias-cut. The tape won't do the trick. All right, this bucket of epoxy starting to feel warm, feel the bottom of that. Oh yeah, so we don't want to use this, you see it's starting to get a little bit jelly-likey, and if we put it on the cold boat, it'll seize up, and it won't wet out the glass well. Oh, we can probably still use the brushes, so I'll get epoxy out of these brushes, and I'm just going to dump this out. I've got a little drags container there, we'll use the same container.

Okay, so like the combing, since we're using bias-cut, I'm going to put a little bit of pre-coat here just to give it something to stick to. We don't want to fill the skeg box with epoxy, so be gentle wiping over the skeg box. If I were to wipe this way across this edge, so coming up over the upper edge, it's like taking the brush over the edge of the bucket, it's scrapes it off. So I'm going down over the upper edge and up over the lower edge, you know? Yeah, we tape down in there, so it shouldn't end up running all the way in, but we don't need to tempt fates. So I want to come all the way down around the onto the deck a little bit. We had a sort of gap there, so I'm going to lay this down so it'll make it around the end and then just center it on the keel and lay it down like that. I made it the whole way, and then we'll just dab this down, getting it to conform. And here on the sharp corner, I'm going down on either side, trying to feed it down evenly around there. And all these bunches up there, if I tap those down, I'm just getting those fibers to go kind of like this and bunch together, so all those bunches just disappear. And I'd like to get it to wrap as well as possible around that end, so I don't want too much excess here. I want to be able to wrap it around there, so going to cut it fairly close, see what we can do with that.

So you see as I wrap this around, there is starting to push cloth up this way, yeah, which is okay because I can get the bias cut to sort of absorb those wrinkles by distorting the, yeah, you can see it kind of pushes down the length of the boat, yeah. And you know, if we end up having to do a little bit of sanding around here, that's to be expected, mainly where we want this is right along that edge. As we get farther from the edge, it becomes less critical. So now we will finish off down here, we want to wet all the way to the edge of the cloth. Now, now that I got it glued down, I can sort of stroke away from that, it'll help distribute those yarns. Right, now the cloth ends before the edge of that skeg box, but it wouldn't hurt to have a little bit of extra armor. So coming down here to here, we've got another, oh, you just going to overlap it? I'm just going to overlap it.

Okay, so the part of the boat that hits the ground the most is sort of this section right in here at the stern, and similar section at the bow, this is where when you hit the beach and drag the boat up the beach, this is the part that's dragging on the sand. And so having a little bit of extra armor back there, not a bad thing. I'm going to press the cloth a little bit into the skeg box there so it wraps around those corners a bit, so hopefully every bit of wood down there has some fiberglass on top of it, or if there's a spot with, h, not much fiberglass, at least there's some epoxy down there. So when you buy a roll of keel strip tape, is it on the bias? No, I don't think so, I've never bought a roll a keel strip tape, but I don't, I think it's just a regular pre-prewoven tape. And I see people struggling with getting it around the, the turn of the, you know, the knuckle there, I've done that, yes, because it's, it's just regular woven tape. You can buy bias or braided tape, so braided means instead of going straight across, it's going at a diagonal, okay, and that will conform a lot better to stuff, okay, but it's not common. All right, so we want to do the same thing at the pointy end of the boat, so have it hang down past the end slightly, yep, and try to get it centered. Oh, I, seeing a piece of blue tape that I didn't see earlier, once the blue tape's buried under epoxy and fiberglass, it's there permanently. It looks cool, it's blue, but not what everybody wants to see.

Something like that, cut this off a little. Right, I just trimmed it off, I, I didn't, okay, that'll work. I didn't try to make any gores or anything or darts in it, okay, tried to get it to wrap around. Okay, we'll see what happens. Yeah, yes, we will. So all those wrinkles just sort of disappear, yeah, it's kind of, kind of cool. Wet down a little bit, yeah. So the dabbing it is really just kind of forcing the epoxy right into the cloth, I guess is what happens, huh? Yeah, some people will actually take and trim the bristles shorter, just so it's, oh, the brush, I get it, so it's more like a stencil brush, you know, they're rigid, and that, that can help in that. Some people swear by that. Stuff's getting a little gooey, I think. Feel the bottom of the bucket seems okay.

I've got another quite narrow piece here, I'm just going to stick this down right there at the, the end, just a little added protection. Yeah, a little more armor there. Mad River Canoe that I used to use white water, and almost look like a beaver tail, the thing they sold you to put on the end of the canoe, you know? The, you really don't need anything on the sides here, right, because the rocks are never going to hit that, the sand's never going to hit that, it's really right on the keel line here itself. The canoe has a much wider platter and here it's so sharp that it, it doesn't take much width. And once you've got it stuck down, you can start to stroke with the brush, and you'll see it does pull the cloth a little bit, and sometimes that's beneficial. There may be enough epoxy on on that area to wet out that extra keel strip, just kind of poke at it and see what happens. Well, this is good to know, next time I want to put a keel strip on my boat, I won't buy that extra, buy that other stuff. Yeah, so this is 4 ounce cloth, yeah, where the regular like the seam tape we used on the inside seam, pre-woven that was a 3-inch wide, but you can get it in one-inch wide, it's a 9 ounce cloth, much heavier. So you're adding a lot more armor with a 9 ounce cloth, but it doesn't conform as well, right? So to get similar armor with the 4 ounce cloth, two layers, right? All right, we're getting there, yeah, it's looking great.

I don't always do it, but it can be, I got a little messy. Well, just right now this has got a little bit of foggy cloudiness to it from dabbing at it, that drives a little bit more air into it, it's now rising to the surface. And if we take and grunge cup that off, so when I'm dabbing, I shouldn't be going quite, well no, you can dab at it, but that's just one of the byproducts of dabbing. So but grunge cupping will just get rid of excess resin, okay, yeah, that looks good. Now less sanding later too, right? Exactly, yeah, just saving ourselves some sanding. So the same, slit in the paper cup on the squeegee through the slit and do the whole thing.

So I'm just wiping off some of the, the bottom of the drips tend to be a little bit thicker, that'll do the trick. Hey, how about that, huh? Nice! All right, that's all I've got for today.

Hey, good deal, wow, that went fairly quickly today, you were saying all these processes, I'm going you're going to get all that done today? Yeah, so a lot of what we have left to do is what I sort of call finish work. So it's sanding, fill coats, sanding, varnishing, sanding, varnishing, sanding, okay? The, we do have some sort of systems to work on, there's a little bit of skeg stuff, stuff to do, you know? The next thing I'd like to get you involved with is some of that sanding, fill coat stuff, okay, because I've done, done it all, made, made it so you avoided all of that. And so just give you a little bit of a rundown of that. No, I'd like to see how, so I think probably what we'll end up doing is giving the whole thing a major sanding, okay? And you do that by hand or you use that machine? Well, I think for the purpose of this video series, I will show hand sanding, okay? I may show power sanding too, I've got lots of videos of my me power sanding, but you know how quickly you went through the edge here, even hand sanding, yeah, yeah, with a power sander, twice as fast is is quite quick. 

So I'd, I'd like to have a chance for you to experience that so we can discuss those issues. And if you, you should screw up, f, we can show how to deal with that. It's kind of what we did just now, it's kind of a, g, strip wherever we need it, yeah? I think the next episode will be giving the whole boat a heavy sanding. Oh, okay. And then put a fill coat on it, cool. You know, we'll sand the whole thing, fill coat, deck or hull, and then I'll do the other side, and then another sanding and varnishing, and we'll get get you involved in some of the varnishing. There'll be multiple coats, I don't need you to help with every coat, right, just to get something on, right, get you doing it and get people like you seeing somebody like you do it as opposed to me just making it look easy, right? I know with the files you just go three strokes and you're done, and I'm like, yeah, and it's just muscle memory, you've done it a thousand times, yeah. And knowing what you can get away with and what, right? And I'm thinking, oh, I'm going to break it, I'm going to break it, yeah. And you know, part of it is I know how durable these boats are and what they, they can handle a lot, yeah, and wood's a lot tougher than you think it is, so you can lean into stuff a lot more than maybe you're, people are aware of. Again, I don't know how many days we've put into this, but it's less than 10, I think. Yeah, I don't really know, I don't really remember either, but you know, then they haven't been full, full days, we've had some long days, we've had had a couple eight hour days, but not more than that, right? This will probably be episode 16 or 17, I would think. 

People are going to be much more inclined to do this, to, to have just read a book and to do this, for me, I think it would have been difficult just because I, I don't have fiberglassing experience, just a no experience with any of this. And to be able to to see someone do it makes a world of difference. Yeah, yeah, I hope so, that, that's my goal, yeah, you know, these aren't my most popular videos, this in-depth stuff. People tend to like the sort of overview of the whole project. I suspect most of those people aren't ever going to build a boat, this series intended for people who are going to build a boat or are in the process of building a boat right now, we're building the Petrel Play, right? This obviously is going to have all the minute details for the Petrel Play, but the process is the same whether you're building a little kayak, any of CLC's, they've got a bunch of larger boats, process is all the same. CLC is not the only one making stitch and glue kits, Mixes has a bunch of stitch and glue designs, there's a bunch of them out there, I think there's a bunch on Duck Works. This process is the same for all of them. I'm showing you sort of quick and dirty process here, you can get in a lot more detail, some of my videos go into a lot more detail. But I think the process is good, and if you're interested in building one of these boats, I hope this video series helps. You know, I'm going to be building one of these, and I of course I've had hands-on instruction now, so that makes it much more easy. But having that video, I think people will find that this video very helpful in in doing this whole process. Yeah, yeah, you know, one thing I have thought about as I'm editing these, it would be best for people to watch the whole series before getting started, because there's things where I said to do it this way, and here's what happens if you don't do it this way, and that's why you want to do it that way, or I sort of glossed over this and this is what happened, yeah. And so seeing those, okay, when it comes to that, so it would be good to be able to watch the whole thing before the whole process, or at least several episodes in advance. But this isn't kind of my most popular series, I'm sure, but again, it's for people who are really interested in building a boat like this, any stitch and glue boat. Anytime you're fiberglassing, I hope there's useful information for you here. But if you're interested in this, turn on notifications so you know when they come out, hit subscribe so they show up in your feed, share them with your friends so they can see them all, that fun stuff. So until the next episode, thanks for watching and happy paddling!