Laminating the oars went well, just like it said in the instruction booklet. Gloves and mask to hand plus all the clamps, screws and the wood with all its sides marked to avoid last minute confusion. There was only one moment of tension—to ensure that children were out of the way I’d chosen lunchtime to break out the smelly goop, I’d buttered up the wood with unthickened epoxy, then (as per the instructions) I had to mix in some silica thickener (a fine white dust) for a final coat before clamping the pieces together. Here I realized that I’d forgotten an implement for spooning out the silica, I toyed with the idea of dashing into the house and grabbing a spoon off the table, but knowing that the family were just tucking into pudding felt that it wouldn’t go down to well. With nothing better to hand I stuck my mitt in the pot and pulled out rather too much dust, which catching a passing gust, blew off in a great cloud onto the neighbour’s washing. Luckily they were also sitting down to lunch and my misdemeanour went unobserved.
It was a good feeling, standing back to admire my first epoxy job. It’s true that it runs quite a lot, even the thickened stuff. I don’t know how all those resinous drips are going to affect the grass, epoxy is probably not the best thing to put on your lawn, but it will sort itself out for the spring. I’ll remember never to epoxy in the same place twice, that way I should be able to give the garden a good, even covering.