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Old 06-10-2012, 21:34   #31
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

Great job!

I want to do an aggressive project this spring, add a sugar scoop to the stern of my 32. Have not fiber glassed anything for almost 30 years, but it was easy enough way back then. One thing I did not do then was try to color match. I may not this time either, may choose to leave a contrast so I can see how I changed the sailboat.
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Old 07-10-2012, 11:13   #32
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

I saw a pro build a scoop transom onto an older boat. It was faired to nearly midship and added 6 feet to the OAL. It included steps and lockers. You could not tell the boat was ever any different.

By all means, wear a respirator or work outside or with garage door open and always wear gloves and sleeves. As I noted above, if you use US composites 635 thin resin you can clean off anything from you skin with soap & water instead of solvents. I use Home Depot disposable brushess for mixing and applying. Nerver bother cleaning the tool. Another fringe bennefit to US 635 Thin is there is no amine blush so you can simply keep working without scrubbing or sanding.
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Old 07-10-2012, 13:06   #33
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

I had a mounting bolt fall out on the self steering vane and tear up the transom on the way to Hawaii. Returned to Sausalito to repair the boat. Had to do part of the layup from inside the lazarette. A bit of advanced boat yoga just to get into the lazarette and extremely tight space to work in. Tore the gloves fairly early on stray bits of fiberglass but soldiered. I didn't want to repeat the contortions that were required to get in there. Layed up three layers of biax cloth and epoxy. Ended up drenched in epoxy. Soaked one arm of my shirt, drips of epoxy in a bunch of places, my hands were covered, and even got it in my hair. Practically took an acetone bath after I climbed out to clean off all the epoxy. Never had a problem with sensitivity to anything before and all seemed to be fine.

Got the parts to finish the vane reinstalled and was off across the Pacific again In two weeks. The 2nd day out noticed a few small patches of skin peeling off of my hands. It rapidly progressed to all the skin peeling off all the way to my wrists on both hands and my arm where my shirt had been soaked in epoxy. I was left with soft pink pinkies. That turned out to be a major problem as I no longer had any callouses and any nick or slight slip of a line in my hands drew blood. I've never used gloves sailing but saw a good deal on a pair at a boat yard sale just before I left and picked them up. They were a hand saver till I could build up new callouses.

Moral to the story, epoxy isn't something to be treated lightly. I've been soaked in diesel fuel, machine cutting fluid, polyester resin, all sorts of solvents, asbestos, mercury. arsenic, sometimes for hours without a sign of a problem. A 1/2 hour or so exposure to Epoxy was another story. Fortunately have had no sensitizatiom to epoxy so am still able to work with it. Don't do it anymore without taking all the precautions, however.

FWIW, Use two, three or more layers of gloves when working with epoxy. Even if you don't tear a glove, it's nice to be able to peel off a munged up glove and have a fresh one instantly there when you need it. This may seem a like a really obvious precaution but something I didn't figure out for 66 years or so until someone told me to do it.
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Old 07-10-2012, 14:32   #34
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
I had a mounting bolt fall out on the self steering vane and tear up the transom on the way to Hawaii. Returned to Sausalito to repair the boat. Had to do part of the layup from inside the lazarette. A bit of advanced boat yoga just to get into the lazarette and extremely tight space to work in. Tore the gloves fairly early on stray bits of fiberglass but soldiered. I didn't want to repeat the contortions that were required to get in there. Layed up three layers of biax cloth and epoxy. Ended up drenched in epoxy. Soaked one arm of my shirt, drips of epoxy in a bunch of places, my hands were covered, and even got it in my hair. Practically took an acetone bath after I climbed out to clean off all the epoxy. Never had a problem with sensitivity to anything before and all seemed to be fine.

Got the parts to finish the vane reinstalled and was off across the Pacific again In two weeks. The 2nd day out noticed a few small patches of skin peeling off of my hands. It rapidly progressed to all the skin peeling off all the way to my wrists on both hands and my arm where my shirt had been soaked in epoxy. I was left with soft pink pinkies. That turned out to be a major problem as I no longer had any callouses and any nick or slight slip of a line in my hands drew blood. I've never used gloves sailing but saw a good deal on a pair at a boat yard sale just before I left and picked them up. They were a hand saver till I could build up new callouses.

Moral to the story, epoxy isn't something to be treated lightly. I've been soaked in diesel fuel, machine cutting fluid, polyester resin, all sorts of solvents, asbestos, mercury. arsenic, sometimes for hours without a sign of a problem. A 1/2 hour or so exposure to Epoxy was another story. Fortunately have had no sensitizatiom to epoxy so am still able to work with it. Don't do it anymore without taking all the precautions, however.

FWIW, Use two, three or more layers of gloves when working with epoxy. Even if you don't tear a glove, it's nice to be able to peel off a munged up glove and have a fresh one instantly there when you need it. This may seem a like a really obvious precaution but something I didn't figure out for 66 years or so until someone told me to do it.

Never ever clean epoxy resin off of your skin using a strong solvent like acetone. All you are doing is thinning it down so it can more efficiently penetrate your skin, just like penetrating epoxy. You probably made it many times worse by doing this. Very hot soapy water followed by vinegar only. Using tone will remove years from your lifespan. I have used thousands of gallons of epoxy and am still not sensitized. But I am perfectly happy to use poly resin where appropriate, which is a lot of places. I only use epoxy where it's actually needed, and my health is just one reason...
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:20   #35
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

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Eeeeww! The hardener is where all the really nasty chems are, that's cancer in a can!

Which brings me to my point; when glassing with epoxy remember that although it doesn't smell anywhere near as bad as poly resin, it is much more toxic. Use a decent respirator, you dont want to get sensitized or worse get cancer, seen way too many cases...
Another reason for me not to mess with FG...
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:28   #36
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

I am REALLY happy to report that after reading all of this, plus a few other online documents regarding epoxy and safety, Himself is now wearing gloves and using the respirator.

He has begun refinishing the watertank and has stepped up the safety measures accordingly!
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:38   #37
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

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I am REALLY happy to report that after reading all of this, plus a few other online documents regarding epoxy and safety, Himself is now wearing gloves and using the respirator.

He has begun refinishing the watertank and has stepped up the safety measures accordingly!

Excellent, that pleases me as well. Don't forget to ventilate the boat well until after the epoxy has come to a full cure too. I believe you liveaboard the boat you are working on?
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Old 08-10-2012, 09:48   #38
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

Currently all the ports and hatches are pulled and we are land based. SO we have excellent ventilation ; -) Living on her would be impossible at this point!

She is stripped to bare bones. This has been a total overhaul, leaving only the sole and the cabinetry and bulkheads. Everything else has been resurfaced or replaced. And we have done it all ourselves.

This morning I have been finalizing the electrical plans. That's the next big task!

And as a treat the new stereo should arrive by UPS this afternoon... and the speakers are already in... yee haw, tunes to sail by!
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Old 08-10-2012, 15:59   #39
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

Great job, Sara, and I too enjoy your writing style. I've been wanting forever to add a bow water tank like I had on my last boat, but every time I get to the part that says "glass the wooden supports to the hull", my eyes glaze over. Perhaps fear of fiberglass is more common than I thought.

Mike
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Old 25-10-2012, 15:07   #40
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

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He has begun refinishing the watertank and has stepped up the safety measures accordingly!
Sara, are you coating the inside of the tanks? If so, what are you using? Does it render the tank OK for potable water? I have peeling epoxy on the inside of my tanks, so trouble lurks ...

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Old 28-10-2012, 09:57   #41
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

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Great job, Sara, and I too enjoy your writing style. I've been wanting forever to add a bow water tank like I had on my last boat, but every time I get to the part that says "glass the wooden supports to the hull", my eyes glaze over. Perhaps fear of fiberglass is more common than I thought.

Mike
Thanks for the kind words ; -)

There should be special glasses for glazed eyes to help us see, beyond the glaze, what is really THERE!

The tabbing that was damaged on the starboard side of the v berth had either been caused by a cross section that had failed tabbing or the berth platform failure had lead to the cross section failure. Always hard to tell which is the chicken and which is the egg, let alone which came first...

The more we worked around the tank, and the tabbing issues we knew about, the more places we found that needed additional repair. Tabbing is now officially reduced to " Baby, mix me up a single squirt and I need 14 inches of the 3" tape please" echoing out of the locker Himself has his head stuck into.

I have fiberglassed into place numerous small wooden blocks into the lockers and bilge for attaching bilge pumps and float switches and cables to.

We even discussed for a while making, from fiberglass, an instrument box to mount the instrument panels into, and glassing it onto the exterior bulkhead. We gave that project up when we discovered a much neater easier method that will involve a swing arm under the cockpit seat that will swing up into the companion way, but it was not fear 'o fiberglassing that held us back ; -)

Go for it. As Dave said below "Don't worry...There's nothing you can't fix with ten thousand RPM"...

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Originally Posted by Boulter View Post
Sara, are you coating the inside of the tanks? If so, what are you using? Does it render the tank OK for potable water? I have peeling epoxy on the inside of my tanks, so trouble lurks ...

Boulter
Our tank was built in place by Jensen, and part of the structural bulkhead system under the v berth, so we didn't want to yank it. It is designed so that the top unscrews and comes completely, off giving total access to the interior. The fiberglass on the inside was pitted and yucky. We did a ton of reading and asking questions about fiberglass and potable water.

At the end of the day our decision was to use west system 2 part resin/hardener and resurface the tank and lid. No one would give us an official "It's fine to uses this product for drinking water" but numerous sources said that the west system is about as clean a product as you can get.

There are commercial fiberglass makers who market as being "food safe" but their products are not available for small non commercial jobs.

You can buy fiberglass tanks made for the express purpose of storing potable water.

The original tank was plain old fiberglass, the same as was used to build the rest of the boat.

After a while it began to look as if the issues were liability (no one would say "yeah it's ok" officially, but privately they would say things like "people do it all the time with no problems") and marketing (as in it was not really clear from product info that there was actually anything special about the food grade fiberglass, except the price).

So caveat emptor, we decided it was fine to use regular product, you may think it's to risky. If one of us dies from fiberglass exposure I promise we will post it as a warning ; -)
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Old 28-10-2012, 11:06   #42
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

WEST is FDA approved to eat off of. But coating a tank interior goes much faster with Interlux Interline 850. Works like 2000, you can stack up coats with a very long chemical bonding window, zero blush, won't hang and drip like neat WEST. It's great stuff for potable water tanks. 850 is designed specifically for water tanks.


http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...t.do?pid=17254

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com...line%20850.pdf
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:28   #43
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

The first fiberglass job I ever did was to mix up the bedding compound for a keel swap on a race boat. I remember being really nervous that some goo I was mixing up was supposed to be a major structual element, and was paranoid about getting it right. As I did more and more repairs with epoxy, it wasn't my skills that improved first, but my realization that its nothing more than glue, really really good glue (ok technically it does a lot more too, but it's still a great glue). And with modern pump cans about as easy to work with.

My advice for first time users is get the West Systems (it's rediculously overpriced btw) simply for the pumps, and the fact that they do a great job of customer support, and providing information. Then find some projects that need doing, or don't need doing, but would be fun to play with. None of these should be major things, or critical in any way, just fun stuff to justify mixing up a pot.

My recomendations...

1) sealing then gluing down a screw block for a bilge pump
2) adding pine strips to a piling to keep off the creosote
3) adding some steel shot to the bottom of a table lamp so it is more stable...

Just keep looking for more and more excuses to get out the cans and get to work, and you will be amazed at the number of things that a couple of pumps of epoxy can do. When you get to the point that you are having so much fun playing with it your significant other starts making fun of you head to the boat to do what got all this started.

The goal is to get comfortable using it on projects that worse comes to worse can just be discarded before getting into the things that need to go right the first time.


Two other caveats:

1) NEVER EVER try to thin epoxy. It acomplishes nothing, and destroys the bond strength. Even as little as 3% thinner can be enough to keep the epoxy from setting

2) always wear gloves, and always use a breathing filter. Epoxy is pretty benign compared to a lot of chemicals (acetone for instance) but it can be a skin irritant, and if you get sensitized will have to put it down for good, typically just when playing with it gets fun.
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Old 28-10-2012, 12:31   #44
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

I use a good table and plastic a lot generaly prepare the area cracked by grindind it out and clean use thinner to clean the surface, fill the crack with epoxy smooth of with putty knife dipped in thinners so it does not stick, then light sand before applying the tape, I roll the the tape out on the plastic on table soak it then roll it up again and start to place it on the affected area and just rub out bubbles with gloves, fair and paint.
I use the same for corners designated table spoon dipped in thinners to get a nice curve to corners, use the same spoon for all corners keeps it uniform.
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Old 28-10-2012, 19:39   #45
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Re: The Fear of Fiberglassing

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Our tank was built in place ... It is designed so that the top unscrews and comes completely, off giving total access to the interior.

At the end of the day our decision was to use west system 2 part resin/hardener and resurface the tank and lid. No one would give us an official "It's fine to uses this product for drinking water" but numerous sources said that the west system is about as clean a product as you can get.

There are commercial fiberglass makers who market as being "food safe" but their products are not available for small non commercial jobs.
I have exactly the same situation here.

Minaret has highlighted a product. I have found 2 or 3 like this, but they all specify large minimum tank sizes (500, 1000 gallons) and minimum quantities of 5 gallons, about 4 gallons more than I can see needing. I expect I will do pretty much just as you did. Might hack in a new ~ 10 gallon tank just for drinking/cooking and leave the original tanks for dish washing and bathing.

Thanks for confirming my investigations.

Boulter
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