cutlap and freelap

Hi all, I searched some in the archives, but I can’t figure it out. What excactly is freelap and what is cutlap? And when is it applied? Maybe anyone knows a link that explains it? sorry if it’s a stupid question, I’m only a beginner… Martijn

But I will make a feeble attempt… When laminating a board you trim your cloth so that when you wet it out and squeege it to the foam you have an overlap that wraps around the rail and extends to the opposite surface (whether it be the deck or bottom). Depending on what type (not necessarily the brand, but type) of cloth you are using or whether or not you are using opaque/tinted resins and or cloth inlays, will dictate a free lap or a cut lap. When you first trim your cloth it is difficult to cut it out evenly let alone do so where you don’t have any frayed edges. A free lap just means that when when laminating you are just squeeging right to the underside of your board and you will not come back to trim it. Silane cloth (which is a type of cloth, not a brand, like Hexcell or JPS) has been bleached more so that when the resin kicks, the cloth stays relatively clear. Whereas Volan has not been refined as much so that when the resin kicks the cloth retains that green tint from your resin mixture. But you can do a cut lap with either type. For instance if you were doing a board with Volan cloth and you are starting to glass the bottom of the board first. If you were to roll out your cloth, trim it so that your lap extends to the deck of the board, and just free lap it (meaning you are not going to come back and trim it). When the resin kicks you will see the cloth and your uneven lap. To do a cut lap, before laminating, place tape on the deck along the rail. Imagine the tap line following the curve of the rail but about 3" in toward the stringer (there are several ways to do this, they are in the archive). Flip the board over and trim out your cloth so that it wraps over the rail and onto the tape. Laminate the board and wrap your lap onto the tape. When the resin is starting to kick/starting to gel it will get to a point where you can trim it without pulling strands (if you wait too long, well that just sucks). Flip the board over and with a razor trim along the outside of your tape line (closest to the rail), cutting through the cloth but not totally gouging the foam. Then just pull up your tape. You now have a clean even lap line (depending how well you did your tape prep). Doing a cutlap on the deck is more difficult because when you do your lap onto the bottom you don’t want to cut into bottom lamination, but you have to cut far enough to trim out the deck lap. Long story short if you are doing clear boards (not a lot of paint, no tinting or opaque resin) just get some Silane (which is far more common these days than volan) cloth and freelap it. If you are doing something with a blank that has been painted or you are doing something with opaque/tinted resins you should probably consider doing a cut lap. With silane cloth even though it kicks clear if it is over a color or tint it can change the shade of the underlying color. I hope this helps a little and or did not confuse you. If you are just beginning, keep it simple and free lap a few clear boards.

cutlap is when you mask off the outline of where you want the lamination to end when you laminate a side. once laqminated and the resin gels suitably, you trim the excess cloth off at your masked edge. the main reasons people cutlap: they are using colored resin and / or using volan cloth, because volan is not transparent when saturated with resin. freelap is when there is no masking or trimming of the cloth. neither is free, incidentally

yo mike d., didn’t know you were on, and answering this so thoroughly! our friend got the hardcover and the cliff notes today. is that swaylock’s service or what?? regards, ramon

The key to good communication is: simplicity Ramon - 1 mike d. - 0 Have a good one Ramon!

The key to good communication is: simplicity>>> Ramon - 1 mike d. - 0>>> Have a good one Ramon! Timing is everything!! If I’d seen this post a couple of days ago!! I glassed the bottom of my board with 6 oz and glassed the top with a 6 oz and a 8 oz Volan. I figured that you would be able to see the Volan lap line so I cut it as neatly as possible to the top of the 50/50 rail line. As you can guess I managed to lose a few strands along the way, so I’m guessing when I dare flip her over to have a look, it may not be so pretty. Ooops, and I was doing so well. So I’m now sat here thinking " so thats how you do it’!!! Oh well. What was Jim Phillips telling me a few weeks ago - ‘it is possible to turn a pigs ear into a silk purse’ lets hope so!!! I keep the faith. Laters guys Peaman

You can just about always cover your mistakes. If you have a whacked out lap line, you could mask off the lap line with tape after you hotcoat and sand and… 1) airbrush over the area with opaque acrylic 2) bust out the paint pen (like a speed ball or other type of paint marker) 3) try your luck with an opaque resin pin line or design Then seal it with clear acrylic or an equivalent. 4) or just leave it and enjoy the ride You always have options.

You can just about always cover your mistakes. If you have a whacked out > lap line, you could mask off the lap line with tape after you hotcoat and > sand and…>>> 1) airbrush over the area with opaque acrylic 2) bust out the paint pen > (like a speed ball or other type of paint marker) 3) try your luck with an > opaque resin pin line or design>>> Then seal it with clear acrylic or an equivalent.>>> 4) or just leave it and enjoy the ride>>> You always have options. Thanks Mike, you’re spot on, there is always an option. Do you know, whether it turns out to be a complete ‘dogs dinner’ (which of course it won’t) it will be the finest surfboard ever made, because I made it with my own fair hand. I think you all know where I’m coming from. Maybe this is a good time to learn the old Cooperfish acid splash technique…? Thanks Peaman

Thanks guys!, this solves some clouds. Makes some messages a lot more readable [smile] Just another question: you first laminate the bottom, then you laminate the deck. Do you fold the laps over to the bottom (laminating the deck) or somewhere halfway the rails. If you fold them to the bottom, how do you get rid of the seem (since it’s the last layer?) Thanks again. Can’t wait to shape/laminate my first skimboard (start small, better material/learning ratio [smile] ) If it works, I’ll try my first surfboard this autumn/winter.

i understand the cut lap line deal…but if you are doing a resin tinted board on bottom and deck, must you tape and cut after laying the deck down?

Just another question: you first laminate the bottom, then you laminate > the deck. Do you fold the laps over to the bottom (laminating the deck) or > somewhere halfway the rails. If you fold them to the bottom, how do you > get rid of the seem (since it’s the last layer?) Yes, laminate the bottom first. When you have your skim board laying there, bottom up, lay out your cloth over the bottom. When you trim the outer edge of the cloth, trim the cloth so that edge is about 2.5" past the edge of the skim board (this part that is hanging over, is called the lap). As far as I know, there is no set rule as to how far your lap extends on the deck. You just want good rail coverage and some extension on the the opposite surface (an inch to 2 inches). You are not folding anything. When you wet out the cloth and squeege the resin into the cloth(pour a long strip in the middle and work it from the center to the nose and then to the tail, the center strip of resin keeps the cloth from pulling or moving around), pull resin so the lap gets wet (hold your bucket so that when you pull the resin off the edge of the board, you are pulling back into the bucket, it is better is to have resin left over than not enough). Then you start in the middle on one of your rails and pull your lap over the rail and on to your deck surface, making sure your lap is smoothed out flat on the deck surface (and yes it will stick to it, no worries). Do the other side and your in business. Once it sets, flip it over and do the deck. You want your laps to sit as flat as possible to the opposing side. Any high spots you don’t get will trap air in there when you laminate the other side.This is why you have probably seen alot of posts on basting laps, or taking an angle grinder to the laps. Depending on the shape of your board, you will have to do some relief cuts. These are cuts you make in the cloth after you trim around the edge but before lamination. As the weave follows the curve of your outline if you take your finger and kind of simulate how you will be laying your lap over you will see areas where the cloth will kind of bunch up. That is where you make a relief cut (which looks like an upside down V). On a shortboard with a square tail, you would make a relief cut at the tip of the nose and two at the tail, where the flat side of the tail meets your rail (over simplified example, but hopefully you get the point). Good luck.

Resin and especially catalyst are very nasty, and should not be taken lightly.

i understand the cut lap line deal…but if you are doing a resin tinted > board on bottom and deck, must you tape and cut after laying the deck > down? Just something for consideration. When you are dealing with colored cloth, whether it be opaque or tinted, just be aware that when these layers overlap you are changing the shade of the overlapping area. This may or may not mean that you will see your lap edges. I don’t do a lot with tinted or opaque layups because quit frankly, they freak me out (out of my league) and I like the look of a clear board. I am sure if you ask a specific question (meaning colors and cloth involved) some of the more experienced guys like Mr. Gene Cooperfish or Mr. Clay Bennett or Mr. Jim Phillips or Mr. Herb Spitzer could help you out.

Thanks Mike, you made all very clear! and yes I allready use gloves and a respirator [smile] Last night I gave my windsurfboard a new layer of DD paint, can’t do that without that kind of protection AND live a long life [smile] Thanks again! Martijn

for my good understanding (see picture) What will a cross section look like (don’t mind the shape of the rail)? situation 1, 2 or 3? I think it’ll be something between situation 1 or 2, it gives strong rails an leaves the bottom clear. Am I on the right plane here? I know that some builders of windsurfboards let the wet deck cloth hang down in the tail area. This way you can create razor shap rails, but that’s for windsurfing. My question is where do the layers overlap?

Martijn - I do it like pic 3. When you add hot coat (sanding resin) it will fill some of the “step” where the overlap ends, but you will have to sand it to get a flush surface. Addressing the edge of the first layer with mini-disc, dremel, surform, sandpaper, roller tool or whatever (they’ve all been discussed)will give a smoother second layer with less risk of sand through when you get to that step.

That is also how I do it. good luck

me too. The overlap makes the rail much harder and stronger. Last time I free lap my skimboard and found it’s weaker than those I did overlap in my surfboard. Regards, Crabie

When you do the first layer (on the bottom) and your lap goes over onto the deck, what is the best way to sand that lap down so you do not get bubbles or a big bulge when you put glass on the deck? Sanding the second layer lap is easier for me because in the first layer I always scratch up the foam or paint on the board. What can I do to prevent sanding into the foam when sanding the 1st layer lap? Do you need to sand in cutlap on the first layer?

You can read more about that in the archives under lap basting. Basically it is where you come back and lay down some lam resin along the edge of the lap line. It can definately help out when cleaning up the lap line. As far as what you use to clean it up with, you can use a file, a dremel, or anything you feel comfortable working with. For a lot of my laps I like to use a razor held with the sharp edge down. You just kind of scrub it back and forth. It works well for me, but again you have to be careful around the foam. Some use various types of sanders,but you have to be careful. The resin will get gummy and if you have crappy paper it will leave behind particles. With anything you just have to be careful not to hit the foam. With a cut lap it is easier to come back and clean up. Some, like Noodle, like to push down the edge of the cut lap into the foam a bit to reduce the depth of the seam. Good luck.