Monday, March 29, 2010

The "BLACK FLY" Dinghy 3: Heat 'n Bond Tape and Kevlar Roving

The next stage is to apply this magic glue/tape from the craft store, and then attach the Kevlar roving. Frankly, Charlie, I'm feeling really skeptical about this whole 'rinky-dink' process. I just may skip it and buy some Ballistic Nylon and proceed from there. But a little voice in my head keeps telling me to go ahead and try it anyway ... I've got the materials, so what's to lose?

The tape goes on easily enough, but it's hard to keep the skeptic in me asking if this stuff is all I want between being nice and dry, or a first-hand experience of severe hypothermia.

The hardest part is picking off the paper backing, which is easier to do if you tear the tape rather than cutting it. Overlapping the joints appears to be OK, as the stuff is so thin.

A strip of tape is also put along the centerline of the bottom, and around the centerboard slot.

Next comes the Kevlar: A
suggestion in the build manual is to run the roving right around the boat, from gunwale to gunwale. I tried this, but due to the bulbous shape of the hull the roving pattern would not remain consistent, as it would on a long narrow hull such as a kayak or canoe.

Back to plan "A", as I suspect plan "B" was never tested in the real world. The plans call for starting at the gunwale, at a rib, and spanning down to the plywood bottom, moving over two ribs. This produces a pleasing symmetrical pattern, with the Kevlar strands crossing over approximately at the stringers. The ends are left long so they can be tightened after the skin goes on.

The next morning I checked the whole works over, and was impressed how tight the Kevlar was, and how well the Heat 'n Bond tape held .... we'll see!

Next installment: Part Four, The Dacron Skin.

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