Repair badly damaged bow; PLEASE HELP

Discussion in 'Sunfish Talk' started by Kal-El, Mar 3, 2017.

  1. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Sorry--I should have mentioned safety. Grinding/sanding fiberglass is not the healthiest activity. If you do much of it buy a decent respirator, not just a $2 dust mask (you only have two lungs). Wear googles or at least glasses. Wear old clothes and shoes. Keep your arms covered and wear gloves if you can. Wear a do-rag on your head. Don't grind/sand in a garage or basement. Don't wear your grinding/sanding clothes into the house or wash them with other clothing. When you're done for the day strip off outside and wash your hands, arms, and face in cold water first--ground fiberglass is ground glass. You want it off your skin. Cold water keeps your pores closed.

    Polyester and vinylester smell terrible (because of the styrene) and the odor is a clue that the fumes are not healthy. Many people think that epoxy is safer than polyester because it has less (almost no) odor. THIS IS NOT TRUE. In fact, epoxy is more harmful than polyester. Epoxy is chemically active much longer than polyester (days or even weeks), and epoxy is much more sensitizing than polyester. EVERYONE working regularly with epoxy will eventually become sensitized to it and develop an allergic reaction to it. At the very least wear good quality nitrile gloves (if you are not allergic to nitrile!) and use barrier cream. NEVER bare hand polyester or epoxy resins--try not to let resin touch your skin anywhere.

    Never glass in a living area or in an area with poor ventilation. Don't smoke. Don't glass in a confined area with a source of ignition. Be very careful with leftover catalyzed resin--it can/will get *very* hot in a big hurry. It should be kept in a fireproof place until it's kicked and is stone cold. It's not worth trying to clean most brushes and containers used when laminating. Use paper cups (or plastic cups that won't dissolve in resin) and chip brushes, and throw them away when done. Only dispose of gloves, brushes, mixing cups, wipes, etc in a metal container in a fireproof place, and check the container to be sure nothing is hot.

    There's probably more... but have fun anyway!
     
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  2. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    • Missouri is "scheduled" to have scattered thunderstorms this week, with temps between 45° and 71°. :oops:

    I'm in the process of throwing out a cheap and damaged PFD. 'Thinking the flotation panels inside are ethafoam. ;) Ethafoam sounds like a plan. :)

    • Be sure to start by sanding the edges of the bow until the shattered fiberglass roving is free of (white-colored) chips. As you grind back 3-4 inches, those "leading" edges might even fall away. :confused:

    While comparatively expensive, an epoxy repair is lighter and stronger than the polyester resin used in the manufacture of Sunfishes. Following another misadventure, this bow repair is one I wouldn't want to re-do!

    • Epoxy is very versatile and leaves no lingering odor after the repair. I'm using the same batch of epoxy resin (with glass) to repair a lag bolt hole in the house for hurricane shutters, restoring a bolt hole in a staircase, and the wood handles on a limb trimmer.

    • Epoxy should not be used as a final coat for wood, but be sanded and coated with marine varnish.

    • The "flux" brushes that come with West System kits are much more effective in removing bubbles than "chip" brushes, as my truck bed repair proved yesterday. (Adequate ventilation was assured by yesterday's 30+ knot winds). :eek:

    As to painting the deck, I'd simply carry the distinctive diagonal Sunfish design to cover your repair. :cool:

    Shouldn't that read epoxy? :confused:

    .
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  3. fhhuber

    fhhuber Member

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    SOME polyester resin mixes have the surfacing wax. This allows the full hard surface cure without it feeling tacky forever.

    Poly resin without surfacing wax can have further layers added a week later without sanding if its been protected from dust or other contamination.

    the Wal Mart Bondo brand auto fiberglass repair kit uses poly resin without wax in the mix It comes with a film to use as a finishing peel-off layer. You apply that film after the last layer of cloth with a slightly extra wet layup, using care to squeegee it down excluding air bubbles. No air being in contact with the resin allows the full, hard cure.

    Epoxy needs no surfacing wax or peel off to get a full surface cure.
     
  4. Kal-El

    Kal-El New Member

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    We wanted to thank everyone for the great advice so far. We have removed the damaged area and tapered back with a grinder. We also added a access port so we can reach the inside of the bow. We also purchased some pink builder's foam as suggested to form our mold. Now to purchase the fiberglass repair items. Right now, the Sunfish is wrapped in a tarp to ride out any storms that come through.
     
  5. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Wax (usually a suspension of paraffin in xylene) is often added to polyester resin to produce a hard surface cure. The off-the-shelf polyester resins commonly found at auto parts stores, etc. almost always contain surfacing wax (and must be sanded after cure if gelcoat or more poyester resin is applied).

    Wax is not commonly added to epoxy resins as the chemistry that produces the cure is completely different from polyester (but there are many, many, many different epoxy formulations for specific uses). Essentially all epoxies will nicely cure to a hard surface without added wax. An epoxy surface will sometimes develop amine blush as it cures, especially if the humidity is very high when the epoxy is applied. The surface will look cloudy, milky, or greasy and can feel sticky. This surface film can/should be removed with soapy water and a scrub pad (and the surface may need to be lightly scuff sanded) before more epoxy is applied.

    For the boat repair under discussion epoxy resin is complete overkill. There is no need here for any super-sticky, super-hard, super-moisture resistant, or super-clear resin system. Epoxy is not automatically the best choice for every laminating job. Most of the chopped strand mat commonly available uses binders that happily dissolve in polyester and vinylester resins, but NOT in epoxy. If laminating with mat use polyester or vinylester. If you plan to finish with gelcoat be aware that all commonly available gelcoats are polyester resin based. Gelcoat bonds securely to a polyester surface with a chemical bond; gelcoat bonds to an epoxy surface (if it bonds) with a weaker mechanical bond.
     
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  6. Roller

    Roller Member

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    "pink builder's foam" is almost certainly styrene based. It will be easy to shape and sand, but it will dissolve in polyester or vinylester resin. Test the foam with acetone. If it dissolves, it is styrene-based. You *could* coat the foam after final shaping to protect it if using polyester (brush on melted wax, cover with cling film) but this would be a major PITA, likely to be unsuccessful, and there would be no bond between the resin and the foam.

    If you use styrene-based foam to recreate the bow form you are probably committed to using epoxy resin. If you use epoxy you may not be able to use chopped strand mat or gelcoat (see my post above). If you choose not to use mat you will need many more layers of fabric to build the thickness you will need (significantly more time and materials cost) and the result will be no better. The result may even be worse--it is not trivial for someone newish to fiberglass work to apply reinforcemet fabric to a surface like the one you will have. As posted above, Epoxy is not automatically the best choice (it is wonderful and the *only* choice in some circumstances).

    It's your boat!
     
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2017
  7. Roller

    Roller Member

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    To beat this topic even further into the ground (if that is possible) you might consider the lamination schedule you require for this repair. You probably want your new bow lamination to be about 1/4" thick (this is actually a little thicker than the deck of some Sunfish. This thickness would be strong and rigid, and thick enough to allow some fairing before final finishing). Rule of thumb sez that 1 layer of 2 oz/yd2 mat yields a finished lamination about 1/16" thick (hand layup). 2 oz is OK to work with; it wets out fast and assumes curves well. To get a 1/4" thick lamination with 2 oz would require four layers of mat, not a bad job to do. Using 10 oz/yd2 fiberglass plain weave cloth would require about 14 layers (if well rolled & squeegeed, i.e. not too resin rich) to achieve a finished layup 1/4" thick. 5 oz/yd2 Kevlar (don't go there for this job!) or 6 oz/yd2 carbon fiber twill (forget I mentioned it!) would require about 20 layers to make a finished layup 1/4" thick. You could use mat + cloth for the experience of working with both.

    I think the best choice for this repair is thickness at minimal cost in time and materials.
     
  8. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Fullscreen capture 372017 32643 AM.bmp.jpg
    The $30 West System repair kit (pictured above) won't have enough resin to complete this job, but you can complete the first coats while learning the basics of fiberglass repair. :) Use the supplied "flux" brush with a stabbing motion to remove bubbles and the white areas not fully impregnated with resin. A sweeping motion with an old credit card also helps to press the resin fully into the cloth.

    The West Systemkit does have "enhancers" to extend the usefulness of epoxy resin—and the usefulness of the kit. One enhancer is for repairing gelcoat, although your particular repair can skip that step.

    Another "mold" idea: Ask Alan Glos if he has a Sunfish "donor hull". If he has one, have him cut "enough" nose off with a reciprocating saw, and ship it to you. Grind the rearmost 2" of rails off—every bit of the deck's gelcoat—grind through the length of the keel (or deck) and fold the replacement nose to fit inside the damaged area. The replacement nose (and your hull) were originally made with a thickness less than a ¼-inch, and would form the ultimate shape to approximate the missing piece.
    :cool:

    I've "rescued" Kevlar and used it to patch rust perforations in cars. Except for the difficulty in cutting it, Kevlar "works" like fiberglass cloth. Why not use it if you have it? :confused:

    Forum note: I've edited this post (several times) made 22+ minutes ago. 'Not sure when editing access "times-out", but there is some latitude in editing abilities.
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2017
  9. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Kevlar is fine to use if you're laying it up in a female mold or if you can bury it in a lamination. The problem happens if you need to fair a Kevlar lamination by sanding into it. Kevlar fuzzes so badly when sanded that you often end up laminating more glass over it to smooth it out. It's hard to cut Kevlar fabric without special scissors, and it's hard to "cut" Kevlar fibers in a lamination with sandpaper.
     
  10. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Your first pictures had pieces of wrinkled duct tape which could be mistaken for the Sunfish's damaged aluminum trim. (Your damaged aluminum trim would be near-impossible to repair for most of us).

    I just came across a profile of the bow, which could help in visualizing the new fiberglass nose you're forming:


    Photos 3112017 53315 AM.bmp.jpg

    Editing time-out: It appears you get about 30 minutes to edit your posts.

     
  11. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Yikes... :confused: 'Very glad to have this information—thanks! :) The project's full repair hasn't been started yet, so I now know to only use it "deep" in the laminations. I could have had lamentations over the laminations. ;)
     
  12. Whitecap

    Whitecap Member

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    Fantastic!

    It appears we have an educated man in our midst!
     
  13. JamHam

    JamHam New Member

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    Hello Everbody! First, thank-you everyone for all your encouragement, experiences, tutorials, and advice. As the weather has warmed up here in the Lou and Paul and I have found the time, we have started our sunfish nose repair. Please, please go easy on us as neither of us have ever worked with fiberglass before, but we think we haven't done so bad for a couple of newbies. We do have a couple of questions . . . there are a few dimples in our fiberglass work. Do we fix these and if so, how? Also, we assume we continue to sand using finer and finer grade sandpaper to create a smooth surface?? Lastly, what is the best way to paint this? Do we plan to paint the whole deck and entire hull, or can we match up paint?? If we decide to match paint, what is the best way to do this AND what kind of paint does everyone recommend. OK . . . ready set go . . . . (remember, please be nice!!!)
    IMG_1186.JPG IMG_1187.JPG IMG_1188.JPG IMG_1190.JPG IMG_1191.JPG
     
  14. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    "Dimples" would cover a lot of territory. :confused:

    If they're not deep, you could use automotive "glazing compound". (May be available in white).

    If they're deep, take a wire brush to remove loose powdery residues and fill with resin.

    As for paint, it depends on the condition of the rest of the bottom. Spray paint (in a can) has very little "filling power". Spraying has to be done in an absolute calm, or the spray will dry in the air, roughening downwind hull surfaces. As for color, "Appliance White" is too white. :(

    What technique did you use to fill all that (missing) space?

    .
     
  15. Kal-El

    Kal-El New Member

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    How do we go about matching up the paint? Anyone with experience on here have any advice on how to go about painting the repaired parts? What type of paint? Everyone's advice on how to fix this problem really really came in handy. Now we need to finish the job. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
     
  16. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Your nose repair looks fine!

    I have never personally painted a fiberglass boat hull (only built/repaired composite boats), but have seen lots of it done. Boat paints inspire *endless* opinion & debate. People here will have lots of recommendations.
    Note that a partial paint job will never match the appearance of the rest of the hull/deck exactly. Even if the color is 100% right, differences in gloss, surface finish, etc will immediately show up the repair (but it's a boat, not the Sistine Chapel).

    Fiberglass boat hulls are commonly DIY painted with:

    • enamels
    You might be very happy with a qt of big-box "exterior enamel paint", especially if you only intend to paint the repaired area. If you have a chip of the original hull gelcoat they (or a paint store) can "computer match" the paint you buy to the chip (this more-or-less works). Take the can home, pour 3/4 of the hull color into another container, take the rest back and ask them nicely to color match the remaining paint to the deck chip and you're good to go. Probably the cheapest way to cover the repair.

    Some enamels are more boat-oriented than others. Lots of DIYs like Rust-Oleum's Topside Paint (~$20/qt). Not as durable as gelcoat. Comes in a few common colors (not yellow). This is basically a good quality acrylic enamel in a petroleum distillate base formulated for "marine" use. Some people claim success in tinting Topside, but this is purely DIY. Because it's acrylic enamel, you could conceivably tint with any other mineral spirit-based acrylic enamel.

    • polyurethanes
    Can be one-part or two-part, brushed or sprayed. Two-part sprayed polyurethane is tricky, QUITE toxic, $$$$, and not DIY territory.
    EZ-Poxy's one-part polyurethane Topside Paint (~$35-40/qt) is well regarded & is cheaper than yachtier brands of polyurethane. Available in a variety of colors out-of-the-can and is commonly brushed. Cures shiny and hard. Do the whole boat?

    DIY people usually roll and tip boat paint jobs (apply the paint with a small foam roller, immediately level the surface with a foam or fine-tipped paintbrush). Your area is so small (unless you plan to paint the whole boat) that you could just carefully brush and be happy with the result.

    • local body shop
    Some people have schmoozed the local body shop and cadged a small amount of auto body paint, tinted (within reason) to color match. This can be enamel (probably one-part) or urethane (probably two-part). You wouldn't need much to cover the repair, just 6-8oz in something brushable. If you did the prep and masking work they might even shoot the whole boat on a slow day.

    • Some people doing composite repairs have used rattle can epoxy appliance paint over the repair with good results. This is very quick & cheap, and the paint is actually quite durable. Rust-Oleum appliance paint is easy to find, but only in 4-5 appliancey colors--no way to tint. Mask to catch the overspray and paint away!
     
  17. beldar boathead

    beldar boathead Well-Known Member

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    You'll never get an exact match, and there is no reason to repaint the whole deck. Here is my recommendation. Either rustoleum or krylon spray paint should work. I'd try rustoleum. Buy one can white and one a yellow as close to your deck color as possible. Find another Sunfish, measure where the racing stripes are, use masking tape to mask the yellow and spray on white stripes. Then use your yellow spray to spray the deck forward of the stripes. While the yellow won't be an exact match, the stripes will cause the two yellows to not butt against each other, making the fact they are different colors much less obvious.

    Btw your repair looks great!
     
  18. JamHam

    JamHam New Member

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    First, we installed an access hole. We had intended on doing this before our accident, but we decided that this was an absolutely fitting time to do so. We cut back the damage a bit and then borrowed a grinder from my brother. After we grinded the damaged area back as instructed, we decided to go with the purple foam and gorilla glue method. As far as the deck shape/model, we used a flexible cutting board. Someone on another forum suggested this. Before we cut it though, we waiting for the aluminum trim to arrive so that we could accurately match up the shape of the nose tip. We used a hot knife to cut away and shape the foam into the shape we wanted it to be. My theory was . . . work a little at a time. You can always shave more off if needed, but it will be more of a pain to have to add foam to redo. After shaping with the hot knife, we did some very light sanding to really smooth out any rough looking areas. We glued on the cutting board deck piece. THEN, the rain and thunderstorms moved in . . . probably for a week! Ugh! Finally, after the rain moved on, we started with the fiberglass process. This was certainly a learning experience because we had never worked with fiberglass before. All in all, we are pretty happy with the result. We feel accomplished. I guess the real test will be how it looks after the paint job and finally taking our sunfish out on the water. We are so appreciative of everyone's encouragement and instruction. We couldn't have done this without everyone's help. Right now, we are trying to decide whether we should just sand and paint the whole deck or just try to paint the nose. This is a 73, so a new paint job would certainly spruce up the boat, but we are still trying to decide. We will certainly post more pictures after we are done.
     
  19. Roller

    Roller Member

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    Thanks for the update (& the pics). Looks like an excellent repair--glad you decided to bring this boat back to life.
     
  20. Light and Variable Winds

    Light and Variable Winds Well-Known Member

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    Just for grins, I photographed another Sunfish hull "nose"—the hull being used only for parking lot decoration in Dunedin, Florida. :(

    Now that I've moved the photo to my computer, I see the nose is different. :confused: Was the nose different in later (rolled-edge-gunwale) models, or did I mistakenly photograph some other Clonefish? :oops:

    Fullscreen capture 4292017 70919 PM.bmp.jpg
     

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