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Old 11-25-2003, 10:06 AM
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Location: Plainfield, WI
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Default RE: Time to get wet.

By the time I started using it on airboats, I had learned alot of tricks and techniques from covering airplanes and High Power Rockets (I've had numerous sideline hobbies in the past also).
Here are a few tips:

*Balsarite. A brushon liquid that I would not do without.

*a soft rag. I will, for instance, cover a hull side with film, using a sealing iron, and then hit it with a heat gun to warm it again while at the same time using the rag with some pressure to help seal it down. Do a small 5-6" area at a time

*Trim Solvent. A lot of the trim accents are actually not ironed on, but attached using this solvent. A little trick I also do is after all the covering is applied, I'll hit the seam with a q-tip and solvent.

*Stick to one brand of plastic covering. They ARE all compatable, but why push your luck? The two I use most are MonoKote, and UltraCoat. They have a very simular heat range for application.

* Large seams. Airplane guys always seem to want the least amount of overlap. For boat use, the larger the better. I generally use 1/2-3/4" overlaps on my seams.

*Use Pressure. What I mean by this is to slightly pull the material to the edge of the surface you are working. This helps to eliminate bubbles and wrinkles

*Practice. The more you do it the easier it becomes, and the beter the results. It's fast also. I hate having to wait for paint to dry, not to mention multiple coats, the smells. And there is hardly any prepping before applying. The most important tip is to start with a CLEAN surface. No sanding dust.

Take your time, and experiment.

One thing to keep in mind is that plastic film coverings add no strength to the wood like a good epoxy paint or urethane will. It is more suseptable to damage because it is a softer material. It won't hold up to rocks and other large abrasives any better than paint will. But for smaller, lighter weight projects, I myself find it ideal.

In areas such as motor mount bulkheads, fuel tank pods, I still use paint, usually over an epoxy glue sealed wood.

These are my opinions and observations only, I assume no liability what-so-ever!