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Old 06-09-2007, 12:00   #1
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Post Fiberglass Repair Tutorial

I just discovered a nice finger sized hole in my boat, just above the waterline so it didn't take on water until I put my weight in it. Does anyone know of good resources for fiberglass repair?
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Old 06-09-2007, 12:43   #2
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Try this link Fiberglass Repair by Don Casey

I also own Don Casey's book on Sailboat Hull and Deck repair. Good stuff.
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Old 06-09-2007, 12:49   #3
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Looks pretty good, but overkill I think for my small boat and comparitive size of the hole.
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Old 06-09-2007, 12:52   #4
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in that case just plug it with epoxy.
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Old 06-09-2007, 12:53   #5
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Old 06-09-2007, 12:54   #6
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Gougeon Brothers on boat repair. West System Epoxy.
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Old 06-09-2007, 13:16   #7
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Originally Posted by davethegr8 View Post
Looks pretty good, but overkill I think for my small boat and comparitive size of the hole.
I understand... the book has procedures for all the different repair variations while that article is specifically for larger problems.
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Old 06-09-2007, 17:11   #8
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Thanks, I'll check it out. Hopfully it won't be too much of a pain to fix.
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Old 06-09-2007, 17:44   #9
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Fixing fibreglass is not difficult nor scarey. However if you aren't experienced, it does have it's traps. In this case it might be worth paying a professional, and watching him work, so that you might be better able to attempt the repair yourself next time.

How did the hole get made?
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Old 06-09-2007, 17:53   #10
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My dad has some experience from repairing his power boats, so I don't think it'll be too hairy. I don't really want to pay the pros to fix the boat, but I'll probably find out what it'll cost just in case. (On a budget)

The hole was made because I had someone with zero sailing experience hold the tiller. I had to fix a problem with the main, and I told her to go straight, but the boat started veering off to port. Not knowing how a tiller works, she pulled it right... which meant the boat turned left, and into shore. I think it was from a nasty barnacle rock.

If it was a bigger boat, I'd be able to get a motor on it, and that would likely help fix the problem of having novices steer.
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Old 06-09-2007, 20:41   #11
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Did you yell at her real good?

Seriously, dude. Don't take this the wrong way but your reply should have started with, "I screwed up by turning over steering responsibility to someone who didn't know how to steer and failed to give proper instruction on how to steer" not "she steered wrong"

#1 rule of boating - avoid collisions - with other boats and all stationary objects. Skippers job.

OK - I have to explain. Last night was new members night at our club. I was talking to a new member and his wife. I asked her if she liked sailing, "No I don't sail." - period, gruff, terse response, end of subject.

He wandered away after a bit and I pried. Turns out, first time out - ever - he screwed up, jumped her sh*t, and turned her off sailing.

Hope the young lady on your boat knows 100% that it wasn't her fault.
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Old 06-09-2007, 21:06   #12
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don't take it to the "pros". do your homework, and FIX THAT HOLE. it's not like your transom's about to fall out.

finger hole fix:

1) get materials. epoxy and epoxy fibergalss cloth. acetone, rags, sander/grinder
hopefully you can access the hole from inside the hull
2) clean the area of the hull on the inside with acetone rags very very well including the inside of the hole.
3) scuff the area around the hole in a diameter of around 3-5" with the sander inside and outside of hole
4) clean the hole and scuffed area very very well with acetone again
5) cut 3-5" circles of cloth and have ready for when your epoxy mix is done
6) place the cloth over the scuffed area on the inside and while holding in place, use a chip brush to completely wet the cloth with epoxy. after this "kicks" you can scuff that and do another lamination. you can squeegee the cloth to relieve excess resin and get the air bubbles out. clean the area around with acetone
7) when epoxy kicks, go to the outside and stuff a little cloth material in the hole and fill with epoxy. let it kick and cool completely, then sand your repair flush with the outside of the hull
8) repeat the method from inside hull on top of this and you should be good integrity-wise. i am tired of typing and should go back to drinking my red stripe, so i won't go into the whole finishing stuff. do homework, hehehe.
go for it, and good luck
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Old 07-09-2007, 10:40   #13
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@ex-calif - she doesn't even know the boat was damaged. I found the hole a couple weeks after we went out. And I'm not blaming anything on her, I was stating the facts. Now back on the subject...

@bearphish -

I'm not even sure that I can get inside the hull. It's similar to a double hull construction, except with a lot of flotation inside.
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Old 07-09-2007, 18:29   #14
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Grind out the hole from the outside so that you have a shallow dish shape. you want the tapered length to be about 10 times the thickness of the original glass. Apply a patch to cover the ground area and then progressivly smaller patches untill the thickness of the repair is the same as the original. Grind back to fair and paint. It would be better if you can get to the inside to patch over but if you can't a 10:1 scarf should be fine. Probably safer to use epoxy as the adhesion is significantly better.
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Old 07-09-2007, 20:52   #15
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@ex-calif - she doesn't even know the boat was damaged. I found the hole a couple weeks after we went out. And I'm not blaming anything on her, I was stating the facts. Now back on the subject...
My bad - I shouldn't have said anything.

This is a dinghy hull so I am asuming it is pretty thin. From the outside the best you'll get is an ugly scab patch. You might be able to fair it in so it doesn't look too bad.

Creative thought mode

1/ Make up a stiff but flexible fibreglass disk just larger than the cutout hole. Drill a hole in the center to attach a "handle" of some kind.
2/ Working from the outside clean up the old hole and sand the inside. If the hull thinckness allows scarf the outside as has been previously suggested.
3/ Slide your disk in the hole by "folding" it. It pops back to shape after insertion.
4/ Lather it up with epoxy.
5/ Draw it up to the hole from the inside using the handle.
6/ You could drill a couple of holes in the disk within the cutout area of the hull and using a second disk on the outside draw them together in a "sandwich" with sheet metal screws - use wax paper or film between so you can remove the outer disk after curing.
7/ At this point to have a patch on the inside.
8/ Now just fill, fair and pint from the outside.

This will be a very thin patch with very little strength but it should be waterproof and it will fair nicely on the outside.

Come to think of it if you were really dextrous you could insert multiple disks strung through their centers, lather them all up and pull them all together. You could get a 3-layer repair.

The other choice is to gain access to the inside of the hull install a scab patch and fill, fair and paint the outside.

Sorry no free lunch.

Pictures might help...
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