Glassing a wood paddleboard
If you have never worked with epoxy laminating your paddleboard probably seems a bit intimidating. Most of the information you read or see on Youtube is how professionals glass foam surfboards. Most of this information is correct but this section is written specifically for homebuilders glassing wooden paddleboards with epoxy. When you break down the steps involved, glassing a wood board is actually quite simple and enjoyable. Glassing a paddle board is much easier than glassing a canoe or kayak.
The first step in glassing is to determine how much fiberglass is required. This is called the “glass schedule” and it dictates the final strength and weight of your board. Wooden boards can use a much lighter glassing schedule than is used on foam boards. I use 4-ounce E-glass that comes in 42” wide rolls and is cut to the correct length and width once it is rolled on the board. Do not try and use 30″ cloth that is the standard cloth size for surfboards, as you need enough cloth to wrap the rails. You require a length of glass twice the length of your board plus 2 feet. This will give you 6” of extra length at the nose and tail on both the top and bottom layer.
Fiberglass is measured by weight per square yard for the glass only. It might seem like a minor difference jumping from the 4 ounce glass that is recommended to 6 ounce glass for a stronger board but remember this is the weight of the glass only and not the weight of the epoxy required to fill it. The finished weight of the board will be substantially heavier with a heavier glassing schedule since the weight of the epoxy resin is a large percentage of the overall weight of the finished board. If you are a really big guy, and worried the board’s strength, consider doing a “deck patch” just under the standing area with an extra layer of 4-ounce cloth. The finished board will be stronger where needed and lighter overall than wrapping the whole board in 6-ounce cloth. I have never done a deck patch but since I use wooden reinforcement ribs under the standing area but it is standard on foam boards. If you decide on doing a deck patch laminate both 4-ounce layers at once by laying the deck patch down first and then your full-length layer overtop.
The order you complete the glassing schedule can be completed in a couple of different ways. On the board pictured in this tutorial I have chosen to complete the lamination coat and the hot coat on the top before repeating both coats on the bottom. This order was chosen based on my time schedule and partially on the fact that I like to fill the weave before creating more dust. Like most homebuilders I am forced to glass in the same dusty area that I build the boards in. The way of ordering the tasks is to finish the laminate coat on both the top and bottom before doing the hot coat. If you use this schedule make sure you scuff the lamination coat with a Scotch-Brite pad before hot coating.