Now that the entire outside of the hull had
all the fiberglass applied, it was time to start the fairing process. Fairing is probably the most hated, but the most rewarding
step. This is where the hull really takes on a new look. Also, this is where the boat will either take on a "work boat" or
"production" boat finish. The attention to detail when fairing the hull has a direct result on the final appearance of the
boat. This is also the step where I have the least amount of talent -I suck at fairing! If anyone as experience doing car
body work or boat repairs, be sure to invite them over to show you how to do this. If they are any good, they will save you
countless hours and you'll have a factory smooth hull as a result. Unfortunately I don't know anyone with experience in this
area so all of my knowledge is from what I've read about and tried on a couple of other projects.
I began by trying to copy the fairing technique
of Joel Shine at Bateau2.com. He recently built a "Fast Skiff 12" design and documented the process and took lots of pictures.
You can read and see Joel's account on buildinng this skiff here: Fast Skiff 12 and the photo gallery here: FS12 Photos .
I removed the peel ply off the hull sides
and did some quick and dirty orbital sanding to knock down the large threads used to stitch the fiberglass cloth. These really
stand high off of the glass surface and removing them now will help with the fairing process and reduce the amount of fairing
compund I have to apply. After sanding I vacuumed the entrie hull with a shop vac.
I began the fairing by adding a "slurry"
mix of epoxy, phenolic microballoons, and silica. The slurry consistency (close to ketchup) was runny enough to fill the weave
of the cloth and allow air to escape from the small voids with the intent of reducing pinholes left after sanding. This worked
well on the horizontal hull bottom, but the slurry sagged quite a bit on the vertical sides. If I had to do this again I would
have mixed a thicker consistency to apply to the side panels. Anyway, the intention of this coat is simply to fill the cloth
weave and to apply some compund to the obvious low spots along the taped seams and other areas where there was a transition
from several layers of fiberglass down to a single layer. I applied the slurry using a 6" wide spreader out of shallow, plastic
tubs. Here's some shots after I removed the peel ply and added the fairing compund.