How to Build a Kevlar Canoe - Solo

“Layup time"

Now we can lay out the Kevlar®.  Roll it out over the keel line until it drapes nicely. Now trim the Kevlar® about an inch from the gunwale line. I used a clamp on the opposite side to assure it wouldn’t move while cutting. The scissors I got from Noah’s Marine (Gold Seal 125B - worked great - much better than any other scissors I've tried! Now, do the same with the 6 oz ’glass, and again for the “football”. The football is essentially a skid plate. I placed a small dot on the full width s-glass and football every 4’ or so for alignment when I do the lay-up. I cut one side of the football, then folded the ‘glass on the dots and duplicated the cut. Tomorrow, the lay-up.



Preparation is the key to a good lay-up. I spent about an hour setting up:

  1. Press down the double-backed tape for good measure and tighten up the shrink wrap. It did relax a bit during the night.

  2. A clean table for the ‘glass (and properly folded ‘glass so you know which way is the bow).

  3. Paint rollers & covers. I used Roller-Foam 6” rounded end ultra-fine rollers (Home Depot).

  4. Lay out the resin/hardener in a convenient spot, with appropriate measuring device. I used a Wal-Mart 2¼ quart plastic paint measuring “can”, marked off in ½ pint increments. I also have pumps, but for this amount of epoxy, I just used the measuring can (just be precise). Make sure you know the ratio! With the RAKA 127/350 resin/hardener, it’s 2:1.

  5. Miscellaneous – stir stick(s), latex gloves, fan, timer, waste container, rags and scissors.

  6. A good helper (this one definitely is!). After 36 years, we work together fairly well (as long as I pay attention).

Now fold back the Kevlar about half way so the bow is on top of the stern and mix up 1½ quarts resin - stir for 2 minutes. Carefully pour the resin down the centerline and roll it out to evenly cover the shrink wrap. Lay the Kevlar down on the wetted shrink wrap and smooth/even it out. Mix up another batch of resin and wet out the same piece of Kevlar. I trimmed the excess from the bow and gunwale center to make sure it couldn’t pull away. Repeat the process for the other half of the Kevlar. Pick up your carefully folded full width s-glass (new gloves) and lay it out, starting at one end and unfolding to the other. Here’s where the mark on the centerline comes in handy. With your hands, smooth out all wrinkles and bubbles until it lays down nice and even. Mix up another batch of resin and pour it down the centerline, rolling it out so the ‘glass is completely saturated and nearly invisible. I switched pots every time to avoid the catalyst heating action of the old hardener. I also discarded rollers after each layer (total of six rollers used). If it starts heating up, dump it – don’t try to use it or you’ll have a mess! The faster you get it out of the pot, the more working time you’ll have. Don't mix up a batch and then lay out the fabric - it will heat up faster in the pot. Lay out the fabric first. Now repeat the same actions for the football. Once again, line up the marks. This one is quite a bit easier than the other two. Avoid pulling on the edges, or you’ll end up with an unmanageable ball of string. One way of fixing this problem is to stitch the cut edges. Trim the excess from the bow and stern so the ‘glass lays down properly. Tomorrow, we'll see whether it's cured enough to get off the form.



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