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Messages - Brian.Dixon

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Holy moly!  That's a lot of fairing work!  You'll be proud of it when it's done though ... your work on this boat is outstanding!


I was buying paper from one of my woodworking suppliers, ran out and ran to Lowes. Their bulk brand held up better than the German brand I was using, I go through lots of paper so when I find a locally available brand that is cost effective I'm pretty happy! The brand (Diablo) they sell at Home Depot sucks!

I haven't looked into Lowes for awhile ... Didn't know they had good sandpaper (thx)


Good to know that the Bosch paper is so much better.  One of the defining differences between a random orbital made by Fein versus others is the short height of the hook-n-loop fasteners.  It keeps the paper smooth, flat, and not much 'jiggle' on the hook-n-loop material ... the paper is much more effective when it's smooth, flat, AND moving as it should.  It sounds like the Bosch paper helps in most of these same ways and is very effective.  Got it on MY list for my next paper purchase.... :)  Thanks!

You took just the PERFECT amount of epoxy off on that glass.  Anyone can see how much that'll help the fill coat (that follows) fill the glass.  It'll take much less epoxy (fewer coats) and will be much smoother ... you're doing excellent work!


Nice shrimp!  Makes me hungry!

Keep up the good work on that boat... really looks great!


I'm surprised at the remark on microballoons and silica ... And, I think you meant microspheres.  The white fairing mix is glass microspheres and the purple is phenolic microballoons... confusing terms.  In any case, I find the opposite to be true.  Microspheres (white, glass) needs less silica to make it non-sagging (thixotropic) and feathers out more nicely ...when goopy or when cured and sanded.  I prefer it.  Microballoons (purple, phenolic), doesn't seem to want to become non-sagging without adding more silica than I prefer, which makes it harder to sand.  It doesn't appear to produce as smooth a finish or as fine an edge as the glass microspheres.  That's my impression anyway, and admittedly, it's a subjective kind of thing and someone else may believe the opposite to be true.

In general, I will do my earliest fairing with microballoons, or anything that will be glassed over with additional glass is faired with microballoons.  Once the boat is sheathed and faired once with microballoon, then I will fair with the white glass microspheres ... intending it to be a final fairing.  If I've "got religion" on the finish, I have used the WEST System plastic mini-fibers for fairing in pin-sized scratches prior to primer and paint.  I think System III sells plastic minifibers now too.... but since they can shrink in heating/cooling cycles and can 'print' underlying layers, it's best to use it for just the finest scratches ... and it feathers out beautifully.

Your close-up fiberglass pic is perfect for showing the pattern of bumps that results on glass right after it's first cure.  You should take another pic of the glass after a light sanding with 100-grit to show how it just takes the tops off (without getting into the glass) and produces a surface that is much easier to fill with a fill-coat of epoxy.

How'd the shrimping go?


Glad you are going with the overlap.  That's my preference.

I know that some find it easier to fill the weave in glass with some fairing compound mixed into the epoxy, but I generally don't ... but I also don't use heavier than about 10-oz as a last layer of glass, so the weave doesn't need a lot of filling.  What I do is to first sand the cured glass lightly with a random orbital and around 100-grit paper - but lightly, just enough to smooth the epoxy a tad without getting into the glass.   If you DO touch a bit of glass here and there, don't worry about it, just try not to.  I find that with a light sanding like that, that the weave will fill much easier with straight epoxy rolled on.  That said, I do know that some swear by using some fairing compound - I just haven't found it necessary myself yet. 

And yes, it's OK to fill the weave before you add the side glass, and I do recommend it to some degree ... noting that you don't need to work so hard on it that the weave is finished completely.  After adding the side glass, you'll need to do similar work anyway.  Just fill enough of the weave for the next layer of glass to lay on it smoothly and call it good.  Do your 'finish work' later.


Re side panel to bottom panel glass and butt joint - You can use a butt joint, which is to say, the side panel glass just lays edge to edge with the bottom panel glass that overlaps up the sides.  I generally never use butt joints with glass, since you often have to fill and sand a thin gap between the edges anyway.  It's a little more sanding to overlap an inch or two, but easy to reach anyway.  You can decide....

You're doing fantastic work, BTW.  The boat is really going together beautifully!  Way nicer than what I do ... LOL...


Hey guys, good to be back and see everything up and running on the new site.  Will post some new pictures of the progress over the next few days.

That would be great!  I was wondering how you were getting along .... :)


when you say launch do you mean almost ready to flip...because thats getting closer atleast..

Hey ... I love the updates!  "who will launch soon" sounds pretty subjective to me ... Show us your boat!


Announcements / Plans UPDATED - 4/12/2017
« on: April 14, 2017, 12:43:45 PM »

FYI - I just updated all of the plans documents, manuals and drawings.  Not much changed:

- Fixed all contact info and copyright statements (all was out of date)
- Collected up a few items from the errata - all minor, but now in the docs

I will update here to notify people that plans were updated whenever I upload new copies.  Might be adding a center console walkaround addition soon (as time permits).


General Discussion about the Great Alaskan / Re: Marine Grade Plywood
« on: March 29, 2017, 06:00:40 AM » might help.  And in Anchorage: Hardware Specialties (  Not sure if the Gear Shed in Homer has it...

Good luck!  Finding marine plywood often means having it shipped... but at least you do have Edensaw in Washington, and Hardware Specialties in Anchorage.  :)


Hey .. thanks for the rave reviews!  It means a lot!   ;D


Perfect explanation!  Since they are subject to abuse biax and 10oz should make it bullet proof!

Thank you!

The Great Alaskan, as designed, is over-strong... on purpose, so imperfect builds or cheap plywood would still work fine :)



I am thinking ahead again, when the sheer decks are added, do I glass the top of the sheer deck and wrap the glass onto the sides?

Exactly!  Boats tend to flex in a 'hogging' and 'oil-canning' way.  As they climb up a swell, the bow wants to flex upward - which forces the sides outward.  When on top of a swell (like a teeter-totter), the opposite happens.  The sheer structure in this boat is designed to resist these flexions - it is effectively a horizontal beam.  If you glass the sheer decks and wrap it over onto the sides of the boat, the tensile strength added by the glass is a great back-up to the sheer structure.  A common place for boats to crack (and leak into the boat's upholstery etc) is along the sheer and this is why.  Other stress concentration areas are along the bow stem and the transom corners.  These places flex like a hinge as the boat flexes, and that's why I use a heavy stem and the glass-reinforced epoxy putty for the transom corners... I've seen cracks in boats in all of these areas, but not in a Great Alaskan!


Yup ... Tapatalk is failing for now.  I've been working on the web site instead, and on updating the plans manuals and drawings ...they're all out of date with old addresses and copyrights, and Windows got rid of a font that I used, so now I have to edit every drawing and tune font sizes and text locations.  I'll work on the forum issues after I finish the plans package update.  No errata is coming that I know of ... I checked issues pointed out by some and found that the updates had already made it into the last release.

Your fairing work looks really good, nice textbook example of how to do it right.  I like to fair between all layers, e.g. fair the wood ...then glass ...then fair ...then 2nd layer of glass ...then fair.  If you don't do it that way, then sometimes defects can add up and make life more difficult later.  It's better to take down high spots and fill the lows at every opportunity as you go.  You'll appreciate it later...


PS: Great pix!

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