Monday, August 22, 2016

Applying Polyester Silk

I bought this 100% polyester silk fabric for $3.00 a running meter at a fabric store in Abbotsford run by a really nice South Asian family..  The cloth is about 58" wide.  It is very light but quite strong.  When glued down with Titebond 3 it makes a super smooth surface.

Here is how I'm applying it and am having great success.  I'm about half done as of today.

I have made a glue mixture of Titebond 3 cut with water by 1/3rd.  In other words a cut a gallon jug with a half gallon jug of water.  I put it in a 5 gallon pail, and keep it agitated regularly because over time it will settle and separate.

I cut the cloth into 1 foot by 2 foot pieces approximately.  This is the size I have found to be most manageable in the hot weather we are having right now.  I soak a piece of cloth in the glue and wring it out fairly well.  I use nitrile gloves because the dried glue is a PITA on your skin when it dries - like peeling sunburn!  Not toxic though.

I apply the cloth to the boat.  When this cloth is wet with glue it is hard to unfold and spread out but it doesn't take long to get the knack of it.  I then use a plastic squeegy commonly used for auto body filler to spread the cloth out on the boat and get the wrinkles out.  I keep a spray bottle with water to dampen it if I need to when the sun is hot.  When the day is cooler though you don't need to do this.

I then apply the next piece of cloth with some overlap.  You have to be careful when overlapping a piece of cloth that hasn't quite dried, because you may wrinkle it.  You must then peel back the new piece, smooth out the previous one and then lay it back down.  The spray bottle helps here.

When it is all dry it makes a very smooth surface.  But there may be bubbles that you miss when putting it down.  No problem!  A clothes iron flattens them down nicely.  If not, cut around the bubble with a utility knife, excise the offending cloth, and patch over it.

Because the finish is so smooth, and the cloth is so light, the overlaps are not very noticeable.  My suspicion is that with a few coats of acrylic paint they will disappear entirely.  Oh, one more thing:  It is very easy to lay the cloth around 90 degree corners, and also compound curves.

 The glue dries completely transparent

You can see some small wrinkles lower left.  They ironed right down!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Marsha. The paint will be going on soon!

  2. Interesting. Did you give any thought to reinforcing (doubling?) the fabric anywhere due to high usage/traffic, such as on the runways on both sides of deck along the cabins? Might be overkill.

    1. I think I will use one of those roll-on elastomeric sun deck coatings. There is one brand I used at our old house that stood up quite well over bare plywood. It was two parts - first part formed a membrane, and the second part had the desired color and a no skid texture. Cabin sides and roof will be painted with acrylic house paint though.