Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fiberglassing Outer Cabin Sides and Hatches

With the Lexan portlights cut out and ready to be installed, I realized I've got some catching up to to in preparing the cabin sides for the installation. Before the ports go in, I want the outer trim rings completely finished with glass sheathing, primer and paint - that way I won't have to risk damaging the ports working near them with sanders and other tools. So at this stage, I went ahead and applied the fiberglass sheathing to the outer cabin sides. I want to install the ports before the cabin tops go on, as it will be easier if I can reach inside from the top, and will eliminate needing a helper to do this.

Using my usual method of applying masking tape to define the perimeters first, the glass was epoxy saturated and then cut away on the inner sides of the tape.

Before doing this, I built up smooth fillets around the edges of the raised portlight trim rings, and sanded them to a nice transition into the surrounding cabin sides. There were no issues with getting the 6-ounce cloth to conform to the different levels with these fillets in place.

While in the fiberglassing mode, I also removed the front hatches and laminated a layer of 6-ounce on them.

While sanding the fillets on the outer cabin sides, my 5-inch random orbital sander gave up, so I had to make a quick trip to the local building supply and get a replacement. None of these sanders of this design hold up very long to the continued abuse of building a boat. But they are relatively inexpensive. I bought the same model that I purchased about this time last year. This one might see me through to the end of this project if I'm lucky, but keep in mind, I also use my tools for paying work on other people's projects as well.

I have larger sanders for the big jobs, but I find this 5-inch size indispensable for many of the tight spots on the boat. The semi-soft pad allows it to conform around fillets and smaller overall size gets it into many places that otherwise would have to be sanded by hand or my Fein Multimaster.

1 comment:

tsunamichaser said...

My Porter Cable lasted a good ten years of continuous abuse. My Dewalt broke (Housing cracked but fixed with tape) the first time I accidentally dropped it :(