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Thread: Argie 15 construction journal

  1. #1
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    Default Argie 15 construction journal

    Note: Please feel free to comment, critique, or otherwise chime in at any time!

    I've noticed a lot of people create threads that track the progress of their builds. Those construction journals are very helpful to others. I hope you can glean some useful info from this journal for my first build, an Argie 15. I'm an all-thumbs novice, but I'm eager to share this boatbuilding odyssey with others.


    (Above) The outcome I'm working towards. I love all the bright finishing inboard.


    (Above, left) Some craftsmen have really turned out magnificent looking copies of the Argie 15.
    (Above, right) The smaller sister of the Argie 15, the Argie 10.


    Design selection. I need a bigger boat! Not because I'm under siege by a 25-foot great white that wants to snack on Amity Island's vacationers. Unlike the crew of the Orca, my need for a bigger boat arose due to joyous additions to my family. We need a larger daysailer to replace my small plastic Walker Bay 10 dinghy. I am also limited to a medium-sized sedan and a small trailer so the hull weight needs to be no more than 200 lb. The sharpie style boat and the lovely Storer Goat Island Skiff appealed to me -- great aesthetics and ease of construction. However, I eventually boiled my selection down to a multi-chine design from Dudley Dix, Lillistone First Mate, and the Selway-Fisher Highlander 14. Woodenboat Magazine praises the Argie 15's design in terms of performance, ease of construction, and versatility. The plans for the Highlander 14 ($115) were more expensive than the Argie 15 ($55). I liked the fact that there are so many highly-detailed photos of people's Argie projects online because this info would help guide my build, and proved the design was both ubiquitous and reasonably easy for beginners to accomplish.

    Plywood. Okoume (BS 1088) costs close to $90 per panel -- too expensive, Aquatek (BS 6566) is $42 -- too many little voids, possibly. Hydrotek (Meranti BS 1088) was "just right" to use a Goldilocks term. I ordered eight sheets ($55 per sheet, including S&H from Calif.). I knew this stuff splinters more than Okoume, but I had a plan to mitigate the splintering and it wasn't a problem: work with gloves, score cutting lines with a utility knife, and use suitable saw blades.

    Epoxy trumps polyester. Unless you are Disco Stu, a Simpson's character who is enamored with the '70s disco and polyester era, boatbuilding with polyester is probably not your "scene", Man! Neither should vinyl ester be your scene. Those products seem to be used to make nice fiberglass hulls and not for fiberglass-to-wood applications. Although Dix's original plans (1988) enable you to construct the boat successfully using inexpensive polyester resin, epoxy has since established itself as a safer, stronger, more durable option. I'm not even sure if an Average Joe could have readily found epoxy in South Africa in 1988. Polyester is lot more toxic than epoxy so I couldn't use it in my townhouse complex anyway. Woodenboat Magazine says Dix now advocates epoxy and the FAQ section of the Dix Design Yacht Web site reflects that stance.

    Early epoxy failures. The first epoxy type I bought was Maxbond 1:1 off eBay. It is inexpensive and a few people on this and other forums vouched for the stuff so I decided to give it a try, but I was sorely disappointed. It seemed no matter what I did, the stuff wouldn't bond the tape to plywood strongly. I was able to peel the tape off with moderate force even after two weeks of curing. I lost a month trying different methods and ultimately having to remove the failed materials. The 1:1 epoxy was very thick at even slightly cold temperatures so mixing was a chore. In warmer temperatures, I think Maxbond would be fine for some coating or other non-structural applications (mixing up a cheap fairing compound, for example), but in winter temperatures and structural applications it was a flub for me.

    Lessons in epoxy. I suspected the failures stemmed from the epoxy or the tape. I decided to eliminate both potential sources of the problem: (1) abandon using tapes and cut my own from cloth (those blasted selvages were a pain anyway), and (2) go with a more reputable epoxy system like West. Additional testing on scrap plywood by using West 105/205, fiberglass tape, and cloth proved the tape was not the culprit. Then I suspected glue starvation was the chief problem. While the plywood was sucking the epoxy into it and possibly compromising the bond, starvation was not the main problem. Following advice from Dix, West Systems, and a number of knowledgeable people on the forum, I learned and applied techniques that mitigated against glue starvation and I started producing stronger joints. I was still not there yet though. Additional testing showed that in lower temperatures 1:1 epoxy was taking forever to cure. The fast West hardener really helped, but patience was still required. I needed to just wait a lot longer than I thought before conducting joint tests. Most of the project was done with 3 gal of U.S. Composites 635/medium epoxy and about a quart of West 105/205 went into the interior tapes and fillets. I found this epoxy very acceptable other than a slight odor and slightly more tendency to form amine blush. (The latter is easily washed and scoured off.)

    Dimensional lumber. I will use Douglas fir for the frames, daggerboard, rudder, and keel runners. I will probably get some pretty mahogany for the rub rails and other aesthetically important parts of the boat.

    Hardware. After a lot of guidance by helpful people on this site, I selected rebar tie wire for the stitching. Copper is very expensive. I own most of the essential tools: jigsaw, orbital sander, drill, screwdrivers, pliers, Japanese saw, miter saw, utility knife, squeegees, etc. I had a table saw to rip lumber, but had a lumber merchant do it for me -- table saws scare me too much. A low-angle block plane is a real pleasure to use.

    Lofting. The plans are drawn in metric (precise, mm) measurements. Use those because the "equivalent" Imperial measurements, which are shown in parentheses on the plan, are not convenient to use. You have to shop around a bit to find the correct measuring tools. I used a 16-foot long 3/4 in. x 1/4 in. white pine batten. (Warren Messer suggests something a little thicker). Get 1 1/2 in. finishing nails and use spring clips to hold the batten in place as you curve the batten around the nails. Someone suggested using heavily weighted tins as substitutes for lofting ducks -- sounds good, but I already had the spring clamps. Some other tools I used: a drywall T, a carpenters square, a steel ruler, and straight edge. All marking was done in pencil, which is a good idea because I made a few mistakes. Check and recheck your measurements, I learned. Dudley Dix sent me some good ideas for drawing perfectly parallel stations, and others suggested the "compass" and "3-4-5" methods for accomplishing this task. The only somewhat tricky parts to mark, were the lower side panels -- you have to mark a diagonal line across two panels and then mark the stations perpendicular to the diagonal line itself. I wish the plans just gave the same points as X-Y coordinates instead. The bow end of the lower side panels also had a "knuckle" (similar to Devlin's suggested transition point) and some tricky points.

    (Below) Spring clamps holding the batten in place


    (Below) Panels layout for the Argie 15


    Cutting
    . I used a jigsaw with a fine 20 TPI scroll cutting blade. I turned the orbital cutting action off and the saw speed to a very slow setting. At first I tried to cut exactly just outside the line and then sanded by hand to get to the line. Completing a couple of panels by using that method took too long. I was getting some splintering on cuts against the grain (cutting widthwise) on the plywood panels, but I scored the marked lines with a utility knife and the cuts were acceptable. What really helped me double my speed, was cutting a little less carefully about 1/16 to 1/8 in. outside the line, and then removing the excess material by using a very sharp block plane and orbital sander with 100 grit abrasive paper. Using the plane was fun and precise. Don't use the plane against the grain though -- it encourages splintering, just sand it down amnd don't forget to score the cutting line with a utility knife. Most cuts on the Argie 15 are lengthwise where you can use a planer to finish the panels easily. (See also post no. 5 to learn how I joined the panels).

    A fine (20 TPI) scroll saw blade and a jigsaw cut plywood well (below)


    Disclaimer: I am an amateur sharing my personal experience and limited know-how, and you should not construe this journal as a construction manual or as plans to construct the Argie 15. Nor do I imply any responsibility for your use of this information. Dudley Dix Yacht Design (DDYD) owns all rights to the design. You should not attempt to construct the design without first purchasing plans from DDYD. Please direct inquiries in this regard to dudley@dixdesign.com.
    Last edited by capefox; 11-21-2014 at 10:42 AM.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    I am looking forward to your build. I really like the looks of the Argie 15. I saw a video on Youtube of someone launching and sailing that boat, and ever since then I've wanted to watch one go together. Now I get my chance. Dudley has some neat designs, particularly the Paper Jet.

    Good luck.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Look forward to seeing the build,an interesting design.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal






    (Above) Some of the panels, risers, seats, and bulkheads.

    (Below) Epic fail, dude! Example of one of my early fiberglass butt joints. Note the blemishes, ridges from improperly putting 2 mil polyethylene sheet over the joint. To avoid similar ridges, use Mylar sheets.



    (Below.) One of the crucial cuts you will make on the lower hull panels. The "knuckles," transition points where the bow end of the lower hull panels contacts the very tip of the bottom panel. Dix warns you not to accidentally sand this down during matching, planing, and sanding the panels. The knuckles are not very pronounced -- perhaps only 1/4 in. at most.




    Panels done, matched nicely. About twenty hours into this I have all the panels cut out and all matching components are identical. I clamped paired panels together with about six clamps and then used my orbital sander and 100 grit disk to sand their edges even. I was so pleased to see how exact the end products were . I will now turn to joining the keel and side panels. The Hydrotek really is a pretty color.

    Initial epoxy problems, failed test joint. This is the first time I've used epoxy in any project. I quickly skimmed the instructions that came with my Maxbond epoxy. I stored the epoxy in the laundry, which was about 68 F. I then quickly moved it into the garage, where the boatbuilding project is stored. The garage was heated to 65 F (it was 38 F outside) and I had two space heaters blasting away. I mixed up a small, 2 oz batch, waited a minute and then painted some on a test piece (two 6 x 10 in. scrap pieces of ply). I rolled 2 in. fiberglass tape over the work-piece and then painted some more over the top. I rolled it all flat and then covered it all with 2 mil plastic and rolled some more. The epoxy seemed molasses thick and the resin and thickener was a bit reluctant, making a plopping sound as the somewhat stiff liquid came out of the pumps. Although the garage was heated to 65, the wall plug tripped and the garage cooled to 40 F after only a few hours. In hindsight, it's obvious the materials, resin, and hardener were too cold! I also foolishly moved the work-piece after eight to ten hours. After curing for a day, I tugged somewhat hard on the protruding piece of tape and it just pulled free from the piece, leaving a thin textured cloudy layer of epoxy. That failure scared me to death. What if all my Payson joints failed? In hindsight, I realize warmer curing temperatures and more time are required to create a strong glassed joint.

    Turning the heat up, ugly joints. I tackled the heating issue by doing some research, including helpful advice from people on the forum: (a) preheating the epoxy mix by immersing the container with the mix in hot water, (b) preheating the piece with a heat gun, and (c) tenting the piece and blowing hot air in from space heater until it cures. My actual Payson joints on the boat looked strong but ugly. I used a little too much epoxy and pressed 2 mil polyethylene film on the joint to try and get a smooth finish. The plastic wasn't smooth enough and left wrinkles on the joints, which I will have to finish with the sander. I was going to sand the selvages at the edges of the tape down anyway, but now I'll just need to spend some more time. My wife didn't seem to think the joints were as ugly as I did. Although finishing is many hours away, I can already tell the Hydrotek will be very pretty when finished bright inboard. Continually picturing the finished vessel helps me forge ahead through tedious steps.

    Customer support. The architect, Dudley Dix, has been very helpful and prompt with e-mail responses.
    Last edited by capefox; 11-21-2014 at 10:47 AM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Joining the bottom panel and four side panels

    Some ideas from pros and Joes:

    Payson's thoughts

    Use a glass-reinforced butt joint. Basically two panels butted together with fiberglass cloth or tape laminated on both sides of the joint. If not done carefully, you can end up with ugly tape lines or a weak joint. The nested version of the Payson joint isn't too difficult, but you have to be careful not to sand out too much material as I did. The diagram show below exaggerates the amount of material you actually need to remove. (Source: Dynamite Payson's Instant Boats Web site, www.instantboats.com.)

    Do both sides at once? The designer of Argie 15 advocates doing glassed butt joints one side at a time. Payson and Dave Carnell favor both at one time (see http://books.google.com/books?id=mLA...0joint&f=false).

    I have a lot of PeelPly fabric around. This is what my more recent two-inch fiberglass tape and epoxy Payson joints looked like (below). Though it is neat, it wasn't strong enough to prevent my peeling the tape off in early tests (cure time with 1:1 epoxy about 3 - 5 days). Glue starvation seemed like the probable cause. However in the end, I realized the epoxy needed a lot longer to cure up to attain full strength and the type of peeling tests I was conducting were not realistic for real world use. I've since switched to West's 5:1 epoxy and RAKA epoxy, and used Mylar instead of peel ply. I will now patiently wait 7 days at 70 F to cure joints in future layups.



    Chisel a rebate?

    I believe recessed or rebated glass-reinforced joints are more durable than the Payson joints because the reinforcing tape is not on the surface where wear and tear takes place. They are also more attractive as the tape is flush with the panel surface.

    To use a chisel to create the rebates you need
    1. Draw a line 25 mm or one inch from the edges of the panels you want to join.
    2. Score the line with a utility knife but ensure the line is not deeper than the first ply itself.
    3. Pry up a corner of the first ply with the chisel. Don't use a hammer. Gently pry it with the blade until you have lifted a portion about 10 mm by 10 mm from the plywood.
    4. With a firm, controlled scraping action, gradually plane out the first ply layer. The material is very thin so be careful not to use digging strokes. Shallow scraping strokes will suffice. The dark glue line between the first and second plies is your goal. Don't plane through the glue line layer. Use the blade of the chisel to trim off and keep the rebate neat at the line you scored, but be careful you don't accidentally chisel through the glue line when you square it off.
    5. Relieve the inside edge of the rebate so that you don't create a stress point in the joint.






    Dave Carnell says...

    Two layers of glass as shown in the picture below. Unless you are handy with a palm/trim router, I don't see how you could get such a precise cut. At this point, I'm so temped to get a little trim router for $36 at a discount tool co.



    Some interesting jointing ideas from Delta Boats

    See http://delta-boats.com/jointmaking.html. They suggest cutting a 50 mm wide, 2 mm deep rebate into the plywood on the outer side and filling it with glass and thickened epoxy (bog). Then glassing the internal side. Interesting! What about the stress points one would create at the ends of the rebates? Shouldn't one round or relieve them? Why create one rebated side and a visible tape on the other -- why not a 1mm rebate on both sides and recessed tape on both sides?

    Last edited by capefox; 01-05-2013 at 12:06 AM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    I used 5 mil mylar instead of wax paper, joints like glass. Mylar is not cheap but neither is epoxy. Also mixed cabosil with epoxy 1 part cabosil 2 parts epoxy for exterior. Then covered with mylar and no drips or sags looks like glass. This saved me so much work not sanding off expensive epoxy.

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    Drilling and stitching the now-joined keel and side panels

    The design calls for stitching the keel, lower-side, and upper-side panels together next. I plan to mark a pencil line 1/4 in. (6mm) in from the edge of each panel and drill holes spaced about 4 inches on average. You can use a couple of methods here according to several books and users on the forum:

    (Below) One builder's picture of these cut-out panels.




    (Below)Mine are similar but are now joined with glassed butt (Payson) joints that are undergoing some final curing in a small heating tent. A ceramic tile is deflecting the hot air into the tent, where it is a balmy 75 degrees Fahrenheit. When I wasn't using the space heat (lower right), I covered the piece with an electric blanket that kept the piece warmed to 70 - 80 F. The temperature in the garage is around 45 F and the temperature outdoors is 30 F. Allow about 10 - 14 days curing time before you move the panels and start stitching the hull. Why rush it and take a chance the joints will fail?




    Stitching methods considered

    In the movie "The Three Amigos", El Guapo chides Jefe's misuse of the word "plethora." Well, there actually are a plethora of ways to remove stitches during the assembly process. I mulled these over as I prepared to stitch the panels together. A summary of my mulling follows purely for the benefit of newbies such as I.

    Plastic is fantastic!
    Use 1/8 in. plastic zip ties to stitch, fillet/glass the interior, wait until cured, trim off the plastic stitches when you glass/finish the outside of the hull, leaving the tiny cutoffs in the hull. Plastic is pretty inert so it won't cause trouble according to advocates of this method. Cheap, weak, or too few ties can snap. You have to drill bigger holes in the hull. Sounds pretty convenient.

    Tack-welding
    Use 16 gauge rebar tie wire or 18 gauge galvanized steel wire, "tack weld" with fillet between the ties, wait to cure, remove the stitches, and then finish filleting/glassing. I would use a chopped glass/epoxy fillet for maximum strength for spot welds. Don't forget to remove amine blush or mitigate against potential amine blush from the spot-welded fillets, because when you finish adding the rest of the fillets and glassing you want the spot welding to adhere well to the fillet over it.

    Greasers rule!
    Use steel wire coated sparingly with a mold-release wax or floor wax paste to stitches in the panels, fillet/glass, wait until cured, and then use careful force to pull the stitches after the epoxy has cured. Some people suggest using cake decorating supplies to apply the filleting material like icing a cake. If a stitch does not release easily, use a soldering iron or plastic welding iron to heat the wire just enough to pull it out.

    Shocking! Mr. Bond
    Some builders, including Devlin, suggest a similar method to "Greasers Rule!", but no mold-release wax, and a car battery and some other hardware to heat the steel wire. Yes, some sparking is possible! I don't like electricity. I got shocked by a lawn mower as a kid. Forget this one!


    (Source: Dudley Dix Yacht Designs. All rights of use reserved. Please purchase plans.)

    What the plans say

    The plans instruct one to use copper wire, fillet/glass the interior, just trim the wire off (see the image above) -- leaving the remnants inside the joint, and then glass the exterior. I respectfully disagree with this approach after reading about it and discussing this issue with the forum. The design shows real genius and the designer is a very thorough and knowledgeable person, so I'm not sure why he advocates such an apparently less-than-ideal technique. The plans to refer to an older method of using polyester resin so perhaps the wire remnants are not an issue there. The plans were drawn up in 1988 so perhaps it reflects an old method of doing things.
    Last edited by capefox; 01-24-2013 at 01:35 PM.

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    Last minute cuts on the bottom panel I missed on the plans at first

    Something wasn't obvious to me in the plans, but the architect, Dudley Dix, clarified the process. The following steps enable the aft end of the bottom panel to bend upward when the panels are stitched together:

    V-shaped cutout on the bottom panel. Mark a V from the aft corners of the panel to an apex that is (a) 14 mm in from the aft end of the panel and (b) on the lengthwise center line of the panel. Cut out the flattened triangular section you just marked out at the stern end of the bottom panel.

    Scored the required fold line on the outside of the bottom panel. Score a 3 mm deep line that extends 750 mm in from the aft end of the panel along the lengthwise center line. I clamped and weighted a steel ruler as a cutting guide, put a brand new blade In my utility knife, and made successive passes with the utility knife.

    (Below, outside of bottom panel.) Notice the flattened triangular section I cut out from the aft end and the scored line I am cutting. The yellow steel ruler is my cutting fence.



    (Below) The same panel completed by another builder. Note the V cut out of the stern end of the bottom panel, and the string marking the longitudinal centerline as he or she prepares to score the line 750 mm in from the aft end of the panel on the lower side. Nice workshop! I wish that were my work area.

    Last edited by capefox; 01-25-2013 at 12:32 PM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by capefox View Post
    The boat plans instruct you to use copper wire, fillet/glass the interior, just trim the wire off -- leaving the remnants inside the joint, and then glass the exterior. I respectfully disagree with this approach after reading about it and discussing this issue on the forum. The design shows real genius and designer is a very thorough and knowledgeable person, so I'm not sure why he advocates such an apparently less-than-ideal technique. The plans to refer to an older method of using polyester resin so perhaps the wire remnants are not an issue there.
    Using copper wire and leaving it in is just an old school method from back in the day when stitch and glue was a new method and its pioneers couldn't think of any better way to go about it. It really has nothing to do with polyester resin, which is even older school and its surprising anyone still promotes its use for this type of construction.

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    Pre-drilling the stitching holes on the bottom panel. I drilled stitching holes by using a 5/64 in. (1.95 mm) bit. To space the holes evenly, I took a 6 x 3/4 x 1/2 in. strip of Douglas fir and drove two nails through it at the following coordinates: 1/4 in. from the marking edge and 4 in. apart. I then drew arrows facing the marking edge. I drilled starting holes at a station mark on both sides. The Argie's gentle curves enabled me to use this device to mark and drill evenly spaced holes four inches apart, but I don't recommend it for very curved lines.

    To use this tool
    (1) Face the tool the correct way
    (2) Slip the nail into a drilled hole -- the nail in this hole is like the pin on a compass holding the device in place.
    (3) Ensure the other end of the tool is flush with the edge of the panel
    (4) Lightly tap the nail about 1 mm into the panel.
    (5) Remove the tool and drill through the dimpled hole the second nail created.
    (6) Repeat steps 1-5 for each hole you want to drill.

    (Below) the tools I used to pre-drill evenly spaced holes in the bottom panel -- spaced 4 in. apart and 1/4 in. in from the edges.
    The tool I used to mark the holes 4 in. apart appears in the upper area of the screen.

    Last edited by capefox; 12-17-2012 at 05:40 PM.

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    Apparent joint failures...

    OK. So I thought I was well on my way to stitching. WRONG!
    Every last one of the glassed butt joints that joined the hull panels failed when I applied a peeling force to them. The tape ripped free with a moderately hard tearing away force. I used this 1:1 bargain basement epoxy that would not strongly bond the plywood to the tape no matter what I tried. Maybe the 2" FG tape had some sort of wax on it or some substance epoxy swon't stick to? It was disappointing to realize I wasted a month and $60 on cheap-o-la materials that failed, but I will adapt and move on.
    It will take me hours to remove that mess so that I can redo these steps using a reputable epoxy and cut my own FG strips from FG cloth.
    Moments like these are very difficult but educational. Luckily we can still use my fun little sailboat and launch the Argie 15 in 2014 instead of 2013. I will also use the nested glass joints Payson describes on his Web site, which are more aesthetically pleasing and stronger in any case. This could be a good thing!

    (Below) The tape peeled off when I grabbed an overhanging end of tape and pulled moderately hard upward and backward.
    Do these figures show evidence of glue starvation? I think so. The epoxy was hard to use in the cool workshop, and its 1:1 formulation is
    a lot weaker than other systems like the West 105/205 I used.





    Last edited by capefox; 01-10-2013 at 12:13 AM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Capefox, I posted on your other thread re the joint failure. I hope you take a look and consider the illustration from Jim M. There may be a silver lining to having to start over.

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    The big cleanup

    I managed to remove almost all of the failed hardened epoxy and tape from the joints. I used a heat gun and a scraper, then I sanded using 100 grit. On the bottom panel, I sanded rebates (see the upper right of the illustration in post no. 5) in preparation for adding Michelak or Payson's "invisible joints" to them. I was going to use acetone for further cleaning, but some of the experts on the forum talked me out of using it on well cured epoxy -- the idea of using it near the open flame of the water heater and my neighbors did not appeal to me really. The heat gun, scraper, and sanding made the job very easy anyway.



    Last edited by capefox; 12-28-2012 at 07:31 PM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Sorry to see you hit a snag. Looks like you were making good progress there.

    Adhesion problems aside, I'm wondering if bi-axial tape might be a better choice for these joints, so that all the fiber strands run across the joint instead of only half?

    -rick

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by capefox View Post
    The big cleanup

    I managed to remove almost all of the failed hardened epoxy and tape from the joints. I use a heat gun and a scraper, then I sanded using 100 grit, I sanded rebates for Michelak or Payson's "invisible joints", I am tomorrow I should use acetone to remove the remnants.
    the heat gun and scraper made the job very easy.
    I wouldn't bother with acetone. Its horridly toxic and at this point likely won't make any difference. But I understand you may prefer to anyway for your own peace of mind.
    Last edited by JimD; 12-20-2012 at 12:01 PM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by RickG View Post
    Sorry to see you hit a snag. Looks like you were making good progress there.

    Adhesion problems aside, I'm wondering if bi-axial tape might be a better choice for these joints, so that all the fiber strands run across the joint instead of only half?

    -rick
    Everything points to the epoxy or the "sizing" (finish) on the tape. I will retry test joints with RAKA and West
    System. Biaxial tape? is that much different from the fg mat that Payson advises?

    Footnote: Glue starvation of the joints emerged as the chief culprit in later testing -- call it possible "user error." Later test joints with West epoxy cleared the tape as the suspect. I will retest the Maxbond epoxy with improved techniques to see what part, if any, it played in the joint test failures.
    Last edited by capefox; 12-28-2012 at 07:35 PM.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    I urge you to save your money and not buy expensive small batches of different types of epoxy. Unless someone is giving you the samples for free its completely unnecessary. Just buy the raka in the largest quantity you can imagine requiring to finish the boat. I have used many gallons of raka and it is wonderful epoxy and I prefer it to West which I have also used. Please forgive me if I am over functioning...If you already have cloth I would just cut strips of cloth for these joints. They are not long and cloth is the cheapest way to go and fully up to the job required.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by capefox View Post
    Everything points to the epoxy or the "sizing" (finish) on the tape.
    Sorry, but more points to glue starvation.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by capefox View Post
    Biaxial tape? is that much different from the fg mat that Payson advises?
    Only different in that the glass strands are oriented diagonally, so all of the fibers cross the joint, rather than half of them running parallel to it and not adding anything. As JimD points out though, the material you're using is ok for the task at hand.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Jim, should the epoxy between the tape and wood be very thin and the wetting out on top of the tape be very liberal? I feel like I did that and it still failed. It seems like anything I did failed with this epoxy .

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by capefox View Post
    Jim, should the epoxy between the tape and wood be very thin and the wetting out on top of the tape be very liberal? I feel like I did that and it still failed. It seems like anything I did failed with this epoxy .
    There's no need to thin the epoxy at all and in fact messing with the recipe by adding thinners might just make matters worse. Warm shop temps will help, mostly to warm up the wood. But aside from that just apply epoxy to the bare wood, as much as it will absorb, and then lay on the cloth and wet it out . Depending how much you've hollowed the ply to make room for the cloth and what weight of the cloth, you should have room for two or even three layers of cloth. If you can cut the cloth so that the strands orient diagonally (biaxially) so much the better but I wouldn't worry about that and its not worth wasting expensive cloth over. After its cured enough to hold have a look to see if any cloth weave needs filling. It probably will. One trick for the final fill coat is to add a little fumed silica or wood flour to the epoxy mix.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    If like to pose an idea --in post 5 Payson shows a pretty aggressive rebate on the joint. I've done that on the keel panel - not glassed yet. Waiting for my new epoxy to arrive. On the others why can't I just hollow it out so very slightly to recess a single later of tape each side of the panel. IM talking about an extremely slight rebate of about 1/48 in. Would that be work - the curves on the argie are modest.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    1/48" doesn't sound quite deep enough. What weight cloth are you using? Even the lightest weight cloth will take about 1/32" with the weave fully filled. Imho you'd be better to err on the side of caution and remove a little to much wood than too little. Is this 1/4" ply?

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Hi all, as a complete novice, I can hardly give advice, but I have learned a TON by watching the attached videos on Cheasapeaks website. They scarf the panels, and use copper for the stitch and glue, but by the looks of it, I am sure that this would work for your build.

    http://www.clcboats.com/shoptips/bui...nd-glue-kayak/

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Considering Scarphing?

    Living the Dream, the panels on the Argie appeared too long for scarphing and the plans are built around using glassed butt joints for the hull panels. That is a sound approach that is easier for beginners according to the designer. I decided to go this route as I was intimidated by the scarphing procedure and feared ruining the expensive panels if I messed them up. The designer also suggested using invisible glassed butt joints (see post no. 5).

    Dix explains you can use a 1:8 scarph joint. If you go this route, be sure to mark the tips of the upper side panels and the aft end of the other hull panels no more than 6 mm from the left edges of the panels. There isn't much free material -- as little as 0.5 in. You will have to do the side seat panels and forward middle seat riser differently. Some builders have used them by getting special panels that are longer than 8 x 4 ft. or by scaling the design down to around 95 percent.

    In hindsight, I think it would be worth the time to do scarph joints. There's nothing wrong with the glassed butt joints for this design, but the scarphs are neater and probably stronger. My consideration of using invisible glassed butt joints was prompted by having to remove the first round of failed epoxy.

    (Below) Pictures of another builder using scarph joints instead of glass-reinforced butt joints (Payson joints) on the Argie 15's panels. These images prove it can be done and it may well be worth your time if you are a zen scarphing master.





    Last edited by capefox; 12-28-2012 at 11:07 PM.

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Go West young man!

    I got a 1.2 quart West System epoxy kit this afternoon. A local Marine supply store offered it for a mint, but I asked them to match an online vendor and "presto" they agreed. I selected the 1:5 ratio 205 fast hardener because it's very cold here and it's supposed to cure up much stronger and harder than that failed 1:1 stuff.

    RAKA your socks off

    I have a sample of RAKA fast hardener and resin on the way, but I have some free time now and don't want to get any further behind schedule. I will order bigger quantities of either depending on my results. I've heard RAKA is just as good, and is certainly more economical.

    I have a number of test laminations cooking as we speak - stand by for pics and results.

    West literature provides clues

    The West literature had the following insights about my first round of joint failures:

    PROBLEM: Bond failure.

    POSSIBLE CAUSES & SOLUTIONS:

    Resin starved joint
    : epoxy has wicked into porous surfaces leaving a void at the joint.Wet out bonding surfaces and apply thickened epoxy. Re-wet very porous surfaces and end grain. See Two-Step Bonding in the User Manual.
    Last edited by capefox; 12-28-2012 at 07:43 PM.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    You should have much better luck with the West System. Unless there is something majorly wrong, (like heavily contaminated glass tape or something) it should be difficult to make a joint that will fail on the glueline. I've used several gallons of the stuff and I've had two failures: one was when I tried to glue to some oiled wood (and even then it took 6 months), the other I just didn't leave it to cure long enough in the cold. I work in similar temperatures to you and I find that with the fast hardener a tent of vapor barrier or a dropsheet over the glue area and a 60w lightbulb will have it cured good and solid in under 24 hours (gluing up 10pm at night it's totally fine to work on the next afternoon).

    One good test I usually do is just put a glob of leftover epoxy on a scrap and stick another scrap into it. Gives me something to test to make sure the epoxy mix worked properly and costs nothing but a couple seconds of time. Make sure you put it near the rest of the epoxy so it's curing in the same temperature.

    Tips:
    Make sure you mix it very well. Add resin first then hardener and stir well, making sure you get right into the corners of the dish.

    Make sure you mix it to the exact ratio - the West pumps worked well for me for years but now I mix on a scale to double check.

    If you're using any fillers/thickeners, add them after the resin and hardener are fully mixed.



    The joints you've pictured above look well done - nicely saturated tape. I'd be shocked if doing the same thing fails with your new epoxy. I look forward to hearing about your tests.

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Getting closer but not there yet

    The first round of West tests shows massive improvements over the 1:1 epoxy. The West 205 sets up hard and fast even in the colder garage.

    10 hours at 70 F
    . The epoxy cured hard and fast, but I was able to peel the tape in places. It took a lot more force to tear it up compared to the failed 1:1 epoxy batch. A tiny bit of the ply came up with the tape I was able to tear up. Ten hours of curing is not a fair cure time, but already I am encouraged by how strong the West stuff cures so fast. And I realize that my application technique is lacking because it is resulting in glue starvation in places.

    48 hours later at 55 F. Further curing has created a rock solid bond. I am amazed it cured at such a low temp, but I guess 205 cures down to 45 F. Chipping away at the edges with a hammer and a screwdriver - the tape and epoxy won't budge in some places. This West stuff is amazing.

    I think we are almost there but I need to be careful about preventing glue starvation, and then we are there!
    Last edited by capefox; 12-28-2012 at 07:46 PM.

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    Default

    Sounds like it might not be fully cured. I find it can feel hard but not be fully cured if it's too cold. Have you tried juat gluing wood to wood to rule out any problems with the tape?

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Sounds like a combination of issues-
    1. Not enough epoxy under the tape. Paint on the epoxy. When it just starts to tack up, paint on some more then apply tape.
    Push the tape in lightly with a sqeegee. Drizzle epoxy onto the tape and spead evenly over the tape, adding more as needed. Work it into the tape with a sqeegee until the weave is filled.

    2. The temperature of your wood, tape and epoxy must all be within the temp range rcommended for the epoxy. It's not just the room temp during the cure that matters.

    Doug

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Cape,
    Doug and Andy raise very good points. Epoxy will need time for a full cure; I believe 7 days in ideal temperatures, Warm temps for the epoxy and wood means epoxy is more thin in viscosity, allowing better flow into the cloth. Warms temps also help open up the pores in wood, allowing epoxy better saturation into the wood.

    You questioned whether you should apply a base coat of epoxy and let it gel. My experience revealed that when epoxy is at the gel stage it is near close to chemically hardening. Rather, I would lay on a liberal base coat, allow it to get slightly sticky, lay on the cloth with the first coat of epoxy over the cloth. Doing it this way allowed me to lay multiple layers of 6oz cloth, on my back, under the 14.5 foot long Microtrawler's hull. I'm talking about 36 inch wide by 48 inch long lengths of cloth. Once the work was complete and the weave filled, the session was over for that day. No additional movement of the cloth as it's important the epoxy is allowed to harden and cross link. My tools of choice in applying the resin to the wood or over filets? 2 inch disposable chip brushes found at the big box stores along with foam rollers, made for epoxy application featuring a 1/4 inch foam outer cover. Sometimes the big box stores like Lowes carry these, too.

    Well that's my 2 cents and my personal experience. Hope it's of some help to ya!

    Take Care,
    Mike

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Quote Originally Posted by botebum View Post
    Sounds like a combination of issues-
    1. Not enough epoxy under the tape. Paint on the epoxy. When it just starts to tack up, paint on some more then apply tape.
    Push the tape in lightly with a sqeegee. Drizzle epoxy onto the tape and spead evenly over the tape, adding more as needed. Work it into the tape with a sqeegee until the weave is filled.

    2. The temperature of your wood, tape and epoxy must all be within the temp range rcommended for the epoxy. It's not just the room temp during the cure that matters.
    Doug
    Is that the "two-step application process" the Gudgeon brothers describe online? I have a feeling you have found the answer, Doug and Jim! Finally everything people have been advising me to do is making a lot of sense. The root of evil probably is the cold weather, and I need to adjust for it at all stages...
    Last edited by capefox; 12-22-2012 at 06:06 PM.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    Not sure if that's what the brothers meant but it's possible.
    I based my suggestions on your description of the failures and your environment and my own experience.
    With the high cost of epoxy and ply, I'd suggest some inexpensive tests to eliminate/define the problems before attempting to produce anything more.
    You'll get there. Just don't want you to go broke or lose faith along the way.

    Doug

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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    I apologize for the excruciatingly fine details of my journey to get fiberglass to stick to both sides of butted panels -- the now elusive Payson joint or glass-reinforced butt joint. I could not have imagined that a theoretically simple job would stop me dead in my tracks and cause me so much frustration.

    Advice from West customer service

    The following notes summarize my conversation with West today:

    1. Prepare the meranti ply by roughing or sanding the work area with 60 grit or coarser sandpaper. And then wipe the work area with a paper towel and isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol.
    2. Paint or apply a generous layer of epoxy on the work area and wait about one to two hours for the setting process to start.
    3. Paint more epoxy over the tacky epoxy.
    4. Pat the tape into the epoxy.
    5. Apply more epoxy over the tape. Curing the joint under Mylar or acetate film is OK.

    I am not sure if it was clear to everyone on here, but delamination occurred on previous test joints when I peeled the tape away -- what does a successful peel test look like? How will I even know when I've successfully epoxied the tape or cloth strips to the plywood?

    (Below) My latest test joints being completed. At this stage (step 2) I used a small, stiff nylon brush to apply my first layer of West 105/205 mix. I prepped the plywood surface with 50-grit sanding, brushing with a stainless steel brush, wiping and drying off isopropyl (91 percent) alcohol, and warming the surface with a heat gun. I let this mix sit for an hour before moving to the next step.

    Last edited by capefox; 12-28-2012 at 07:47 PM.

  35. #35
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    Default Re: Argie 15 construction journal

    But imagine how easy the next boat is going to be. (harhar)

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