More advice please...

Here’s another idea that was thrown my way…More advice please… ____________________________________________________________________________ I’m thinking about building the board with narrow red cedar strips (such as with wood canoes), so that I can get the round deck and bottom I want. I wanted to ask for your advice on the following point : To seal the board I want to laminate the board with 4 oz fiberglass. I know, it is usually recommended to use epoxy with wood but I’d rather not for too many reasons : In summer, my boards often get sun exposures and I’ve had problems with epoxy because of that (resin seems to soften faster). I intend to laminate this winter (low temp.) and my garage has no heat : UV polyester would be better. I don’t want to stop access to the garage (wife and kids …) for several days, time to let everything cure … : with UV resin, it’s all done in a day. All I need is to seal the board, I’m not looking for the added strength epoxy provides. I don’t like epoxy for skin allergy reasons … Do I really have to laminate with epoxy, then hot coat with polyester or can I just laminate the board with UV polyester ? Would it stick to the wood (mostly red cedar) ? Someone also told me he had heard the wood could be treated first with some mix of acetone and styrene (not sure about the formula), and then after that we could use polyester. Any thought about that ? Else, what if I paint a coat of epoxy resin on the wood first, then laminate with UV polyester ? Would it stick ? Or what if I just forget about the whole lamination issue and put several coats of marine varnish … Don’t they protect classic wooden boats this way ? Is this enough to really seal the board ? I would appreciate you advice Peter

Paul: I have a similar project on the go but will try not to run on. First, if the person has not started yet, they would be well advised to consider the rails. Surfboards involve a large number of compound curves. Even narrow pieces of cedar will be difficult to work with in the nose and tail unless they are steamed. Second, wooden boatbuilders gave up on poly years ago. The molecular structure of wood is long while poly is short. Surface shear is a sure thing. They use epoxy because it is longer. Even epoxy will shear but it is much better than poly. Third, if he uses varnish he will be having to sand and refinish every year or sooner. In addition, unlaminated cedar in canoes is ok for touring the local pond, but not up to small rapids. Used in a surfboard the result will be one very expensive session. Finally, if the builder wants more info I would suggest he contact Ian at Ian is a boat builder by trade and manufactures milled cove and bead cedar strips. Hope this is of some help. Patrick

Hello Paul,long time eh?We used to build fancy fish boxes for yachts and we used poly and glossed and polished them.First off you have to consider how oily the cedar is (I don’t really know about this).We would scrub our wood with acetone and a towel,next prime the wood with a coat of lam resin,if you see dry spots prime it again.After it dries go on with glass job,hotcoat,sand,gloss,and polish it.UV and heat will degrade the finish but just use your head and dont leave it on the roof of the house or something extreme like that.These boxes still look good after almost 20 years. R. Brucker

Vinylester is a good alternative to epoxy. It bonds to timber very well.But you will have to provide some heat to the area that you are laminating in.The same applies to poly and epoxy.Prime the surface with a coat or V/ester as cleanlines describes.Hotcoat and gloss with surfboard poly.Polyester resin and vinylester resin are compatible.Poly will NOT adhere to epoxy.There is an interface available in Australia that you paint on epoxy that poly will adhere to.I dont know much about it though. David.

The project is still at the drawing stage and I’ve been thinking about the rails. I’ve already build a balsa board almost the same way except that the board was not built on a wooden frame but a EPS core (see archive link below). Bending the wood was a problem and this time I’ll use steam bending for some of the cedar strips. Once I get some drawings done on the computer, I will post them. From my understanding, Western red cedar is not oily but it’s very acid (PH 2.5-3). This may cause some problems with some glues/resins (it tends to speed up the curing process) Following your advices, I think will try to experiment on sample wood the following : - scrub the wood with acetone and a towel,next prime the wood with a coat of polyester lam resin,then go on with glass job,hotcoat,sand,gloss,and polish … I also want to try : - prime the wood with a coat of epoxy, light sand, then go on with polyester lamination … Pierre

Pierre: A couple of reference books are Canoecraft and Kayakcraft by Ted Moores. They are available from Ted’s company, “Bear Mountain Canoes” and from "WoodenBoat. (both have web sites). Both books are a wealth of information, however, I would recomend the one on kayaks since it deals with planking two surfaces. Moores does not pre-seal the western red cedar he uses. He wipes it down with lacquer thinner to remove the dust and goes straight to laminating epoxy. Moores goes on to apply a second and third coat of epoxy. However, I think a person could switch to poly after he weave is buried. I think Paul has done this with some of his work. In any case, good luck with the board. Stay in touch. Patrick

lacquer thinner is basically Acetone with a few other goodies thrown in.I dont know much about the epoxy thing,I know for a fact that it will adhere better than poly.The fish boxes I mentioned were heavy as hell and had no flex.Maybe you should adress this to Greg Loer or maybe Sluggo if he is around.Good Luck. R. Brucker

R. Brucker: Thanks. The cedar fish boxes sound like they would be at home on a fine boat. I hope you got to try and fill them. Take care. Patrick