The first job is to cut out the fibreglass cloth strips.
I had bought some 280g “Twill Weave” Cloth, and because of the weave style (over 2/under 2) I found it impossible to cut the small width strips without the flippin stuff falling apart.
So I sent off for a plain weave cloth. I could only get 200g weight, but I decided to use this for the strips and the 280g twill weave for the first large pieces. I’ve no idea whether the weight is very significant since you are laying up anyway, but Vans mention in their video a 8-9 oz cloth, which is about 225 – 255g. This is why I’d gone for the twill weave, since it was closest to that weight.
TopTip is don’t get a twill weave!
Cutting out the cloth with Coral’s cutting disc on a cutting matt was very easy.
In the picture you’ll spot two sets of Ply A & D … at this stage I still wasn’t sure which cloth to use, so I’d cut out one set in the 280g twill, and another in the 200g plain weave.
I went for the 280g twill for Ply A & D in the end, since the edges were held together by the clingfilm when applying.
I had a faff with the hardener choice!
I’d chosen to use the West System 206 slow hardener, but on my first attempt it took so long to start setting I thought I’d made a mistake mixing, and ended up taking it all off!
Then followed clean up, rescuff, degrease etc.
Anyway, using the Fast 205 hardener on my second attempt worked just fine (it was 16ºC (61ºF) in my workshop.
To cap it all, by the end of the afternoon the Slow 206 mix had indeed set … it had just taken a lot longer than I’d anticipated!
The clingfilm technique worked very well … not much mess to hide from Coral either : )
Using the West System 301 pumps, 3 plunger presses of 105/205 was plenty to get this first stage done.
I mixed in some black pigment for this initial layup.
After taking off the lower layer of clingfilm, the Ply is positioned, being careful not to overlap the aft tape line …
… and then the top layer is removed.
I found it easy to prod and poke with a brush to accurately position the ply.
Here are Plys A & D in place …
… waiting for the epoxy to start setting.
For the second time!
I found the fast hardener still gave me plenty of time to complete this stage without needing to rush.
Once the epoxy was tacky, it’s time to lay on Ply B & C.
From now on I was using the 200g plain weave cloth.
Since there is very little wiggle possible after laying on the pieces, I found it best to mark where to place them in advance.
I just marked the masking tape.
In this picture I have just gently pressed the cloth down when I was happy with its position.
Before placing PLY C the first thin strip is placed in position.
After wetting out PLY B & C I put little triangles of cloth at the ends, as advised in the Vans Canopy Video.
This will help fill the step between the canopy frame and the plexiglass in this area.
The manual leaves it up to you how to lay on the strips to achieve the required profile.
I ended up laying several smaller lengths in various places to get the profile about right all across the span.
I mixed one 105/205 pump stroke at a time. This seemed comfortable to keep on top of the wetting out, and avoiding too much epoxy mix exotherming.
Anyway, eventually it was finished.
Definitely allow the 4 hrs as per the manual advice!
The last job is to lay on Peel Ply after a final coat of epoxy.
I did my best to keep the epoxy from soaking up onto the aft tape.
Tomorrow, after removing the Peel Ply, we’ll find out!