There are actually several books that cover what you are looking for. The
Gougeon Brothers book(s), Sam Devlin's stitch-n-tape book, among others.
Scantlings (the wood thicknesses) are covered in other books, Dave Gerr's
books and others cover that. Good luck on finding any standardized
information on wood/glass laminates. You can find mechanical info on
laminates, and on wood, and on glass, but not on wood/glass/epoxy
Yes, epoxy "soaks into the wood", but only a few cell's worth. It's a
coating, not something that absorbs through the wood. The obsolete term
'epoxy saturation' was confusing and is now more commonly called "epoxy
encapsulation." Epoxy goes on with a roller and brush, and cures to a clear
finish much like varnish, but thicker. One coat of epoxy is worth about 3
coats of varnish, and it requires coats of UV-protective varnish on top of
it to prevent breakdown due to UV exposure. Yes, it makes a very pretty and
low-maintenance bright finished boat. I've done boats in mahogany and epoxy
and they've been beautiful. The biggest bugaboo will be the construction
method. It's not always possible in traditional construction to completely
encapsulate and epoxy glue the boat together, so expect to use a combination
of epoxy encapsulation, prefitting and pre-coating, and caulk (when you
can't feasibly glue for example...timing is an issue since epoxy 'kicks' too
soon for long jobs.) Also, epoxy joints aren't as conducive to bright
finished boats, e.g. stitch-n-tape joints with epoxy filleted into them.
Tough to hide that fillet, and even if wood colored, doesn't have that
'classic look.' Depending on the boat, you may hide the joint with paint,
trim, or other boat structure and bright finish anyway. Many people have.
Glass and epoxy...mixed question. Epoxy as a coating waterproofs and
protects the wood from moisture (and rot.) Thickened epoxy as as a
space-filling structurally sound glue. Epoxy used as a resin matrix in
glass and other materials acts as a strong and stable binder to create
fiber-reinforced plastic (FRP). Glass is for two primary functions, a)
abrasion resistance (sheathing), and b) structure (seams, joints, hull
PS: 'Bright finish' on a boat can be a combination of paint and varnish. If
you pick a simpler construction method such as stitch-n-tape (a.k.a.
stitch-n-glue, composite, etc, then you may consider painting some and
varnishing the highlights etc. Otherwise, traditional framed construction
(plank on frame in various flavors, ply on frame, etc) is the easiest to
bright finish if ALL of the boat must be bright finished...but the trade-off
is greatly increased time and work when building. Cold-moulding and strip
construction lend themselves to bright finishing and are epoxy-based
construction methods that you may consider also (cold-moulding is an
intermediate-advanced method though...strip is easy.)
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> Is there a single book that covers in some detail the basic (read: for
> Dummies) principles of wooden (sail)boat building (at least ply and
> lapstrake). As well as epoxy(ing?) and laminating? I'd particularly like
> to see some data regarding the use of different woods for different parts
> the boats, suggested thicknessnes of both the wood (with and without the
> lamination) and the lamination. I have too many questions to fairly post
> here though I sincerely appreciate the help you all always provide.
> I'd like to know (from the book) for example, if you expoxy, which I
> understand soaks into the wood, does the wood maintain it's wood like
> appearance and could you finish it bright? Or would you then have to
> the wood with paint and or fiberglassing. And about fiberglassing, if you
> have a reasonably strong wood, do you have to fiberglass anyway? Wouldn't
> that just be to add strength? Or is that what epoxy does? Oh, I'm so
> confused. What if I want to finish a boat bright - what would be the best
> means to do that?
> Again, I'm not expecting you all to answer all these questions - just a
> point in the right direction would be great.