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Old 17-05-2018, 15:06   #1
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Fiberglass Work

Went out over the weekend and had someone back into the bow of my Ericson 32. the damage doesn't appear to be too bad, and I being a jack of all trades am tempted to do the repair myself, although I have never used fiberglass before.

Would this job be doable for a first timer, or should I leave it to a pro? This is a 42 year old boat so it doesn't have to be perfect by any stretch of the imagination.

If you'd recommend I let a pro do it what do you think is a reasonable cost in the pacific northwest area?
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Old 17-05-2018, 15:31   #2
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Re: Fiberglass Work

A trick I have used when repairing TV antenna radomes (while hanging on for dear life 1/4 mile up in the sky) is, after sanding the damagd area and applying layers of mat and cloth, holding the patch on with layers of duct tape. It squeezes out the excess resin and holds the patch tight while the resin goes off.
Worked for me, and the tape doesn't stick to the patch.
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Old 17-05-2018, 15:31   #3
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Re: Fiberglass Work

FWIW, I would probably fix it myself as I think it would be fine. I would recommend West System. watch some youtube and have at it. Best.
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Old 18-05-2018, 02:50   #4
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Re: Fiberglass Work

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Originally Posted by drcscruggs View Post
FWIW, I would probably fix it myself as I think it would be fine. I would recommend West System. watch some youtube and have at it. Best.
Did a few smaller repairs and closed a thruhull the last few weeks as my first time working with glassing too. Very interesting material to work with, but also very forgiving. Have a good sander with low grit (80 and 40 for me). Mix small batches, skim through the west systems manual and lots of YouTube. Tip: skim through the west manual as you're watching so it makes more sense when they throw out "405" and "204" in the videos.

By looking at your damage, and being a complete novice, I'd say at the very worst you'll do a poor job and have to sand down what you did and start over again. Just make sure to mask we'll do you don't spill any epoxy on your undamaged area

https://www.westsystem.com/wp-content/uploads/User-Manual-2015.pdf
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Old 18-05-2018, 03:55   #5
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Re: Fiberglass Work

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, amontyg, and drcscruggs.
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Old 18-05-2018, 04:16   #6
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Re: Fiberglass Work

It's a pretty easy fix. (and I'm no fiberglass guy)

I had similar damage from slamming into a dock hard and just put a bit of epoxy on it until I pull the boat again. I couldn't really sand it so I smoothed the epoxy as best I could while lying on the dock. That was 2 years ago.

My boat is 44 years old
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Old 18-05-2018, 04:25   #7
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Re: Fiberglass Work

The hardest part about that repair will be matching the gel or paint color perfectly so that it can't be seen.
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Old 18-05-2018, 10:20   #8
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Re: Fiberglass Work

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The hardest part about that repair will be matching the gel or paint color perfectly so that it can't be seen.
Do folks with 40 plus year old boats really care that much about color matching?

His bow appears to have multiple colors of white already, plus a few scratches and scrapes, and some rust like any normal 40 plus year old sailboat that's in the water

All it needs is to have some whitish epoxy smeared over the damaged area for now
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Old 18-05-2018, 17:22   #9
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Re: Fiberglass Work

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Do folks with 40 plus year old boats really care that much about color matching?

His bow appears to have multiple colors of white already, plus a few scratches and scrapes, and some rust like any normal 40 plus year old sailboat that's in the water

All it needs is to have some whitish epoxy smeared over the damaged area for now
Probably not. On a white boat, I certainly wouldn't. If the boat was some other color, I would spend time trying to match it as close as I could get it.

That's kinda my point, it's not a hard repair unless you try to make it invisible.
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Old 18-05-2018, 19:38   #10
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Re: Fiberglass Work

Good boat to learn on...
You'll find that epoxy resins bond better to old poly boats...
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Old 19-05-2018, 07:41   #11
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Re: Fiberglass Work

Can you gelcoat epoxy?
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Old 19-05-2018, 08:10   #12
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Re: Fiberglass Work

I don't like that vertical split that is showing. But it's up to you. I would look inside for any evidence of cracking. The best repair will grind down to glass a couple inches outside that crack and layer up glass. Then when hard, grind/sand to the shape of the bow, then gel coat to match.
OTOH if you are confident that is just a gel coat crack (it does look very thick there so may be) You can just "paint" on gel coat good and thick, let harden, and sand with progressively finer sand paper, we sanding paper to fair it smooth.
You may find a small can of Marine Tex Epoxy in white matches well enough in lieu of Gel Coat mixing. You can gel coat over epoxy but it must be sanded so no shine remains on the epoxy.
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Old 19-05-2018, 10:19   #13
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Re: Fiberglass Work

+1 for Cheekako's comments about that crack !
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