Tiny bubbles in fiberglass

  • I'm nearing completion on my Oxford Wherry 16:

    Despite Colin and Julie's top-notch instructions, I managed to screw up the interior fiberglassing of the hull. I found myself playing a game of whack-a-mole with air bubbles at the chines (a game which I ultimately lost). I spent some time sanding down through the fiberglass to remove the biggest offenders, but I don't know what to do about these little guys (see photos below). Should I

    1. sand through air bubbles and re-fiberglass with small strips,
    2. sand through air bubbles and re-epoxy (no fiberglass), or
    3. leave it alone?

    Thank you for your advice.

  • Wow, apart from the bubbles, your boat is looking gorgeous! From a structural standpoint, I think it would be find to leave them as is.  If you find it aesthetically annoying, I'd go for option 2.  A few areas, not longer than an inch or two, without glass won't cause any siginficant strenth loss, as it will still be supported by the adjacent areas.  Maybe you can use something like a dremel to surgically remove the bubbles and then fill the holes with epoxy.  You could experiment in a less prominent area.

    Don't feel bad - overall laying the interior glass is one of the toughest jobs to do perfectly, and there's no good alternative.  Just laying glass strips takes even more work to fair and make perfect , and is not nearly as stong.  It would be lovely if we could just go without glass in the interior.

    Anyway, good luck with that, and let me know how it goes.  I just finished glassing the interior of our new design - a wheelbarrow pram.  No matter how many times I do it, it still looks pretty rough.  It's only with a whole lot of sanding, and a few additional epoxy coats that I start feeling better about it.

  • @Colin Angus Thank you! I think I'll leave them as is, then. Building this boat was largely meant to be a learning experience so that I could hop into the larger boat projects (e.g. Rowcruiser) with a better understanding of the build process. I've made so many mistakes on this build, but the knowledge I've gained from fixing them will be invaluable in the future.

    Wheelbarrow pram sounds pretty sweet—would that be sliding-seat?

  • Yeah, once it's all done, I'm sure no one will notice a few bubbles.  You're so right about each boat being a learning experience!  After 15 years I feel I'm still improving.  The good news is, the very first boats I created, despite all the mistakes and rough edges, are still strong and floating.  Most of the time, it's only the builder that notices the mistakes.  

    Unfortunately, no sliding seat with the wheelbarrow pram - it's just too short (just under 8').  It will primarily be used as a portable tender.  I'll be launching the prototype next week.

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