Busy day today. To summarize, I removed the foot braces and cleaned up the epoxy mounting points, I carved the minicell foam seat, I cut the paddle shaft skarf joint and glued the two halves together, I prepped the deck and hull interiors for epoxying, I taped the exterior of the deck and hull together and I fiber-glassed one half of the inside joint. All that and a bag of chips (or maybe strawberry hemp granola – you think I am joking, but I did go shopping this morning as well!)
Below is a video of a technique I came up with for carving minicell foam:
The angle grinder is the key, but you must use it with control. You may have noticed some gouges across my seat at the beginning of the video – that is from an out of control grinder before I mastered my technique. It is probably a good idea to practice on some scrap before committing yourself as I did. Anyway, you will notice that I pivot the grinder about the handle which I have in my left hand against the foam to keep it stationary. Trying to freehand it was too hard to control. You can make nice sweeping arcs, removing small amounts of material as you go. Some patience is required, but it really doesn’t take that long. I think it took me about 20 minutes to grind the seat, plus about 5 minutes of sanding with an orbital sander with a 50 grit disc to remove any unevenness left by the grinder. You are left with a nice velvety texture which is perfect for a kayak seat. Just a cautionary note, make sure to wear eye protection. A dust mask and earplugs are also good ideas.
The kayak handle took some figuring to make my desired 60 degree feather along with the 12 inch skarf joint. A bit of trial and error got me to where I wanted. Before gluing the two halves together, I decided to roughly round the shafts. This allowed me to better determine how to align the two halves, since the cuts led to some odd angles coming together. Once it was rounded, it was much easier to figure out where it was supposed to be.
On to the ‘glassing of the deck/hull joint. I prepped the joint itself (sanded it to remove any excess fiber-glass and also roughed up about 1.5 inches on either side of the joint.) I then aligned the deck and hull and taped them together with strapping tape. I sealed the joint with packing tape to prevent epoxy leaking through. I put the kayak on edge and then cut some 3 and some 1 inch bias strips long enough for one side of the joint (I ended up with 3 of each size strip to get the length I needed.) I did one strip at a time, rolling it up and then soaking it in epoxy. I massaged the epoxy into the roll and squeezed out some of the excess and then began unrolling it centered along the joint. It was easy going for the parts I could reach by hand, but after that it was a matter of pushing the roll with a stick and trying to keep it centered on the joint. Not the easiest task. I did the 3″ strip first followed by the 1″ strip on top of it. There was a lot of cursing involved and much twisting of back and neck and epoxy on arms and in hair, but in the end, I managed a decent job. If only it were done. Tomorrow will be the other side 🙁
By the way, vinegar does a great job of removing uncured epoxy from hair and skin.