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How to do the first big layup

John Slade

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Note: This is just "off the top" based on my own experience. Others may argue points and techniques. Thats great. You're milage may vary. There is no right or wrong way. This is just what worked for me. You'll learn what works for you. This, and further discussion is intended to give you a starting point....


The fuse sides will be your first big layup. Make sure everything you'll need is at hand and the cloth is cut slightly oversize and ready to unfold. Use cheap gloves so you can pull them off if you need to take a "break". Don't even start if the ambiant temp is below say 65F. 72 is much better. The part must also be at these temps. If the part is at 55 and the air has just been warmed to 75, you'll have trouble with the epoxy wetting out.


Use all slow epoxy from a hot box and have a hair drier handy. Lay the first ply. Get the threads straight, then go pump 3 or 4 squirts. Paint the stuff on quickly not worrying about any gaps. Go for max coverage. Moving quickly, do about a 4 sq ft area. Now get you're hair dryer and start stippling (up and down with the brush) dipping in the pot and warming the part ahead of you as you go. The white areas will start to go dark. Once you have the whole area pretty much dark move on to the next 4 sq ft area, pumping 3 or 4 squirts when you run out of epoxy. If you're brush starts to go a bit hard, dump it and grab a new one. Same with the pot of epoxy. You need to get that stuff out of the pot and onto the part as fast as you can without just dumping it on. Work quickly.


Once the first ply is all dark squeege it lightly to remove serious globs of excess, but mostly just lay the next ply on top, pull it straight and then start in at the stipple stage. The excess from the first ply will soak through and wet out the second. Now stipple and paint to get the second ply all dark. Keep going and follow all the instructions in the plans. When you're done, and the last ply is done, lay 4ml clear plastic over the top, wet you're sqeege with epoxy and squeege through the plastic. If it starts to go white you're pressing too hard. Lift the plastic locally and add more epoxy. You should see the bubbles moving ahead of the squeege, and the color change is obvious behind it. Work from the middle outwards. Expect globs of epoxy to come out of the edges. Where the part curves and the plastic wants to crease, cut it with a blade or scissors and let it overlay itself.


Once the plastic has been squeeged do your final check of the layup looking for any white spots, clean up you're tools, wipe the brush and put it in a bottle of MEK, wipe out the epoxy cup and then go check the plans to be sure you followed all the details correctly.


Keep some epoxy to do a scratch test.

Let it cure overnight, even if it looks cured 4 hours later.

Next day you'll have the sides of you're airplane.


I hope this helps someone.

I can be reached on the "other" forum http://canardaviationforum.dmt.net

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OK, i use only slooooow hardener.


precut all glass and mark layout lines on sides.


mix 10 squirts of thin micro

dump thin micro all over and then squeege in so that none remains on surface, brush into curved areas.


keep mixing batches of 10 until it looks like you won't need 10 and then do less


carefully place first layer of glass down and straighten fibers, use short movements, move the glass with 2 hands 1/2 inch or so at a time.


With all slow hardener you have LOTS of time


mix batch of 8 or 10 pumps, dump all over glass and promptly move all around with scqeegee


brush very lightly areas that you missed and curves around longerons. Stiple the glass in at the curves and bends. When all is wet, no longer white, or a little over wet, glass wets out easier from beneath, carefully lay on and straighten out next layer.


Don't forget to have all layers ready to go before you start.


As you place this layer down it will start to wet itself out from the extra epoxy from below. Dump more epoxy where needed and quickly move it around with a squeege, brush non flat areas.


With all slow hardener you have allot of time.


When i brush the epoxy on i don't keep going until it is done, just keep going to new areas and when you get back to the area you brushed a minuites ago, it will have wet itself out already.


use medium preasure on squeegee and lift up midway for a line, if you pick up and there is a line then too much epoxy.


when i peel ply that layer will take out epoxy, but it is possible to remove too much, i make it soo the peel ply has a little sheen on it so that it is clear that it is wet, just a sheen, then follow sladers plastic peel ply instructions


enjoy the build



maker wood dust and shavings - foam and fiberglass dust and one day a cozy will pop out, enjoying the build


i can be reached at



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