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Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
This is my latest Sunfish. Oregongirl inspired me to clean it up before tucking it in for the winter. I’ve always been partial to the blue deck. This one polished up nicely with some elbow grease. Wet dry (1500), with warm, soapy water, then rubbing compound, then 3M wax and restorer. I divided the boat in 3rds and did it over 3 days. If I had a buffer it would really sparkle. The classic half-moon scratch across the rear deck from the tiller was greatly improved (tiller adjustment will be made) and the splashguard will be painted. I removed a ton of ugly sealant around it. I left the smallest strip, but in looking at pics I probably should remove it all.
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Of my five remaining Sunfish, the blue deck is my favorite. The former owner had painted the deck from its former yellow (and maroon :confused: ).

Blue is easy on the eyes, and the reduction of UV--after sunlight's added bright reflection off the water--is welcome.

Sunfish splashguards keep a moderate amount of wave action out of the cockpit, but could never understand the need to caulk the seam betwixt deck and splashguard. :oops:

What...?

Get water on my clothes? :eek:
 
It is very satisfying to polish it up for the first time. Any thought on how you're going to repair the nose of the bow? Mine damaged in the same way, including the lip on the underside. I'm thinking marine tex epoxy, but is there a better way of going about it?
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
It is very satisfying to polish it up for the first time. Any thought on how you're going to repair the nose of the bow? Mine damaged in the same way, including the lip on the underside. I'm thinking marine tex epoxy, but is there a better way of going about it?
I removed all the sealant and the bow looks perfect under it! There must have been a leak, maybe at the seam under the aluminum trim, but I haven’t leak tested it yet. If so, I’ll pop off that front section of trim and seal the seam with epoxy.
Post a pic of your bow damage and we can see what the best repair method will be for your Mini (and you don’t have trim or a seam to worry about, I love that about the Mini!)
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I know some say not to wax the deck or you’ll slide off, but that just adds to the fun! I’ll wear my sticky shorts, just in case.
 
I removed all the sealant and the bow looks perfect under it! There must have been a leak, maybe at the seam under the aluminum trim, but I haven’t leak tested it yet. If so, I’ll pop off that front section of trim and seal the seam with epoxy.
Post a pic of your bow damage and we can see what the best repair method will be for your Mini (and you don’t have trim or a seam to worry about, I love that about the Mini!)
Thanks. I'd appreciate any advice you can give. The handle is solid as I can pick the boat with it and there is no play.
 

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Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
That bow looks like hell, but it can be fixed, no worries... you can do it without removing the handle as well, just start sanding & filing & possibly grinding until all that trash is gone, you wanna take the whole area down to glass so you can rebuild it, aye? In order to achieve the best possible bond, you want all that cr@p cleared away... that's half the battle right there, the rest will be fairly easy. You'll be working with several resin pots (in sequence, over time) as you rebuild the worst damage to the bow. Get the prep work done, maybe post some pics of the bow once that trash is gone... including that cr@p around the bow handle, that needs to go, though you don't have to take it clear down to glass in that specific area. Good news is that this repair is actually quite easy, you just have to rebuild that bow and shape the compound curve or rollover joint as you go. :confused:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Thanks. I'd appreciate any advice you can give. The handle is solid as I can pick the boat with it and there is no play.
There seems to be a filled hole next to the bow handle. The bow handle may have been moved, and possibly not secured to the wood backing plate. :confused:

I'd suggest measuring the distance--side to side--to see if the bow handle is centered.

Regarding the bottom, there appear to be multiple overlapping repairs. You'll need to grind down to some original fiberglass, and build up layers to re-form back to original. If the underside of the bow handle becomes visible, now is the time to secure a backing plate. (Wood, aluminum or polyester cutting board ).

"Mat" fiberglass material is ideal for building layers. Polyester resin works for this repair, as epoxy is just overkill--and expensive! :eek:
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Many older boats were built with polyester resin, as it was cheaper than epoxy back in the day, yet it still offered strength. Those boat builders were producing heaps of boats too, so cost made a difference. :rolleyes:

If you want that bow to be strong, start with matt and alternate with layers of cloth, wetting up each layer thoroughly as you go. That hole halfway down the stem can be filled using chopped glass (matt or cloth) mixed with catalyzed resin, and be sure to wet the hole first. :confused:

If you can't get tools in there, use a knife or even a sharp nail to scrape up the interior of that hole, so fresh resin will have some purchase. Clean it out with acetone after scraping, you don't want dust or loose cr@p in there if you can help it. :(

Mix the chopped glass with catalyzed resin in a small throwaway tub or cup... that'll give you the filler you need for the hole, which isn't large enough to cause structural concerns. Afterward, you can build layers atop it as you cover the surrounding area. :D

Use sewing scissors to "chop" the glass, cutting every which way until you have a small pile of chopped glass to mix with resin and form the filler. By using this method, you aren't trying to bond fresh resin to some other filler which doesn't bond well with polyester resin. Good luck, and cheers!!! :cool:
 

Clyde

Member
This is my latest Sunfish. Oregongirl inspired me to clean it up before tucking it in for the winter. I’ve always been partial to the blue deck. This one polished up nicely with some elbow grease. Wet dry (1500), with warm, soapy water, then rubbing compound, then 3M wax and restorer. I divided the boat in 3rds and did it over 3 days. If I had a buffer it would really sparkle. The classic half-moon scratch across the rear deck from the tiller was greatly improved (tiller adjustment will be made) and the splashguard will be painted. I removed a ton of ugly sealant around it. I left the smallest strip, but in looking at pics I probably should remove it all.
Nice job!
 
That bow looks like hell, but it can be fixed, no worries... you can do it without removing the handle as well, just start sanding & filing & possibly grinding until all that trash is gone, you wanna take the whole area down to glass so you can rebuild it, aye? In order to achieve the best possible bond, you want all that cr@p cleared away... that's half the battle right there, the rest will be fairly easy. You'll be working with several resin pots (in sequence, over time) as you rebuild the worst damage to the bow. Get the prep work done, maybe post some pics of the bow once that trash is gone... including that cr@p around the bow handle, that needs to go, though you don't have to take it clear down to glass in that specific area. Good news is that this repair is actually quite easy, you just have to rebuild that bow and shape the compound curve or rollover joint as you go. :confused:
Well a 40 grit flap disc sure does eat through the fiberglass/epoxy. Here are some pics. Should I continue to grind down? I take it this is going to take more than the West fiberglass repair kit. Lots of question as I'm new to fiberglassing, but obviously now committed :rolleyes: Recommendation on resin and mat, and amounts? The big question is how do I form the initial compound curve or rollover joint. :confused:. Thanks for any thoughts.
 

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L&VW

Well-Known Member
Well a 40 grit flap disc sure does eat through the fiberglass/epoxy. Here are some pics. Should I continue to grind down? I take it this is going to take more than the West fiberglass repair kit. Lots of question as I'm new to fiberglassing, but obviously now committed :rolleyes: Recommendation on resin and mat, and amounts? The big question is how do I form the initial compound curve or rollover joint. :confused:. Thanks for any thoughts.
This is where you find out just how good a sculptor you are! ;)

'Course, you can't start with too little material, so build up layers—preferably at the same time—and allow your layers to stand "proud" of the finished curves. Then, grind (or flap) surfaces to where they should be. If you err with your sculpting, just add a new layer or two.

Those voids under the rolled edge can be filled with Thixo or a paste made of resin and tiny pieces of snipped-up fiberglass cloth or mat. (Your kit may have two or more containers of West Systemthickening materials).

I use West System epoxy, because I bought a gallon back when it was "cheap". I also have rolls of two grades of glass, yards more of glass cloth, and a big chunk of mat—ALL that I bought at yard sales. :cool:

Epoxy is very strong when cured, which is important when repairing a Sunfish's bow. (Because it'll get whacked again). :confused:

.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Ah, a response... for starters, you can build upon a form which you construct out of cardboard, plastic wrap, tape, etc. What I mean is this: you take a piece of cardboard trimmed & bent to suit your purpose, wrap it in plastic (kitchen variety wrap is fine), then tape it into place to provide support for your glass-building efforts, aye? Once the form is taped into place, and perhaps after a layer or two of glass is cured up, you can use that same 'chopped glass' method to fill those irregular holes and whatnot in the bow... you understand? Be sure to wet everything up thoroughly as you do this, AFTER you've completed all prep work. Polyester resin is fine, that's probably what the original builders used anyway, and it'll bond better to its own kind. Let me go back and look at your photos again, I'm just in the middle of macking a pre-lasagna salad, LOL. From the quick glance I had at your pics (small scale while not logged in), you seem to be doing alright... :rolleyes:

Edit: Okay, I looked at the pics again, you want to begin by taping a plastic-wrapped form to the deck side of the bow, as you have some rebuilding to do and you may as well start by laying in some glass on a flat form, aye? You should also expose a little more glass in that area before commencing... don't go deep, just get rid of the old gelcoat and filler and cr@p nearby so your initial glass you lay up will bond well with the bow itself. That initial bond is crucial to long-lasting strength, you want your fresh resin and glass to adhere to exposed original glass, not cheesy old filler or gelcoat. Meh, otherwise you're doing just fine, I'm gonna check back with ya later but I'm just in the middle of cooking a bad@$$ lasagna dinner, and the salad alone was stellar, LOL. So ya have some competition where attention is concerned, but don't sweat it, you look to be progressing well and that big ol' MIA chunk o' glass in the bow of your boat will soon be rebuilt... just do it right from the start so the repair stays solid, my nautical friend. ;)

P.S. Maybe I should restate that in case ya missed it... clean up the bow a bit more, lay some glass on a form taped topside on your inverted boat, and once ya have a layer or two of cured glass in place, start filling that ugly gap with the 'chopped glass' method I mentioned earlier, just until you can rebuild the rest of the bow with additional layers of glass. Remember, no air bubbles, press the chopped glass mix into the void and shape it like a sculptor, as L&VW said... AFTER you have a cured layer or two of glass below to hold everything in place. Below meaning topside, LOL... "HUH???" Meh, you'll figure it out, I have faith in ya... once ya have those initial deck layers in place and the MIA void filled, then ya flip the boat and work the other way, ALWAYS using GRAVITY to your maximum advantage. No point in watching your expensive catalyzed resin run off or run out of your intended repair area (or target repair area, it may vary in size). Okay, I gotta grab a kitchen mitt here, just think about what I said for a moment and let it sink in, you'll figure it out and get that bow rebuilt no worries, and it'll be solid as the Rock of Gibraltar. Flip the boat and repeat as necessary till done, doing a bit of sanding, filing, etc., toward the end to achieve the desired bow shape. :cool:
 
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shorefun

Member
An option would be to make a form out of body filler from a good bow. Just cover the area with saran wrap and fill it up. Let it get hard and pull it out.

If yo do not have access to a good bow, the curve might be fine a bit back and then move the pieces forward and make a form of the two pieces together.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
Okay, that hand with the damaged bow who posted pics earlier, I should add a few tips... I was busy last night making that excellent lasagna dinner, LOL. When I talked about using the 'chopped glass' method, that is only for the deepest recesses of the crack I see in the bow. You'll reach a point when you start cutting small pieces of matt or cloth and layering them to help fill the void, i.e. that MIA chunk. I suppose it could be likened to "3-D printing"---only YOU will be doing the "printing" by stacking layer after trimmed layer of glass to fill that void. Of course, you will already have a base upon which to build: the first layers of matt or cloth allowed to cure atop the plastic-wrapped form. You will also be finished with the chopped glass method by this time, having filled that crack that kind of winds aft. Once you've "3-D printed" enough of that void or MIA chunk, you will resume with broader layers of matt or cloth to cover both the "reprinted" chunk and the surrounding faired-out areas of the bow. You still with me here? Sometimes I make the mistake of assuming that a hand has done glasswork before, I have to remind myself that this may not actually be the case. :confused:

Oh, yeah, on a separate note, that cracked rail you also mentioned, you can clean out any loose chunks of debris or rotten glass, then fill the crack(s) with catalyzed resin and clamp the rail in a few places. Well, at least two places, I don't know exactly how long the damaged area is... but that is a separate issue from the "3-D reprinting" of the MIA chunk in your bow, aye? If the damaged rail has large enough gaps in it once you've cleaned it up, use the chopped glass method to fill the gaps before clamping the rail. No need to overstuff it, since you'll be clamping it anyway. That should solve the problem, just remember to clean up the crack(s) in the damaged rail first, even if you only rough up the damaged areas a bit with an X-acto knife, sharp knife tip, awl, sharp nail, whatever... you want that fresh resin you pour into the crack(s) to adhere, and roughing up the internal "walls" of the crack(s) will help the resin bond better. Alright, hope that clarifies matters, this isn't rocket science so I know you can handle the task... prep work is half the battle, as always. :rolleyes:

We have a cold front moving through our area, it is rather chilly outside and I'm enjoying a cup of hot cocoa... this time of year is great because I can start eating and drinking all those "seasonal foods" I missed during the long hot summer. For instance, last night's lasagna straight from the oven... I try not to use the oven in the kitchen during warmer months, as I have the A/C on in my home, I normally BBQ as much as possible when it's hot outside. Now that the evenings are cooler, I can use the oven no problem, it actually feels good to have that extra heat (since I'm not running the gas furnace yet, it's on standby, LOL). Cheap b@stard that I am, I "work the windows" in spring and fall so I don't have to pay for any heating or cooling. Done right, this program works great, even though I only have single-pane windows here in Cochise County, as opposed to the double-pane windows I had in the White Mountains. But back to the food: just this past week, I've enjoyed a beef roast with brown gravy and a little horseradish sauce on the side, and last night's lasagna, both hot from the oven... well, I use the Nu-Wave Infrared Oven for roasts, it does a great job, but the lasagna has to be cooked in the traditional manner, LOL. ;)

Before I bail, here's a shot of the Stronghold under stormy skies, and a shot of two cats lounging on the view deck the other day when the weather was perfect:

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That's actually somebody else's cat next to my black cat Crackhead, I think some wank abandoned "Fathead" (as I call him), so I've been feeding him and letting him hang out indoors & in the yard. You can't tell from this picture, but the fur to either side of his face makes his head appear fatter than usual, hence the moniker, LOL. He's not such a bad cat, he was pretty scruffy when I first started feeding him but he has filled out nicely for the coming winter, which was my intention, as it can get quite cold here. Well below freezing, anyway, and those cold temps can be hard on a feral or semi-feral cat... ol' Fathead is friendly enough, I can pet him no problem, and I even let him sleep on my bed when he wants to take a nap. He's considerably older than my cats, but that's okay, I don't practice 'cat ageism' here at the ol' hacienda. Fathead gets as much food as he can eat, and he's a damned fool for milk, but that's alright too... he looks way better than he did a couple months ago, he was looking scruffy then (like some homeless cat). Meh, what's one more kitteh? No worries... :cool:

Edit: Forgot to mention that when I repaired the bow of my Laser a long time ago, I actually built it up a bit beefier than it originally was, but this extra bit of buildup was invisible under the rollover joint of the bow, when viewed afterward from the beach or dock. Don't worry about recreating the perfectly-identical rollover joint in that MIA section, focus instead upon a solid repair with no air bubbles... if you're a purist, you can always file or grind a little glass back down afterward, though I left mine in place for added strength. Again, nobody could tell the bow was a bit thicker right up forward, and I wanted it as strong as possible for my island voyages, where sharp reefs and rocks can do a number on fiberglass, pronto. I might add that you can use thin strips of glass laid up in a curve to rebuild that rollover joint... even old school "fiberglass rope" will help recreate the joint, though technically it will no longer be a "rollover joint"---just glass that you've built up to create your new bow. Once you have enough glassworking experience, you'll pick up little tricks that help you... :D
 
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Wow, thanks for all the advice. I figure a quart of TotalBoat polyester laminating resin and pack of Bondo fiberglass cloth and a pack of mat. It's getting cold in Iowa and I have an attached, but unheated 2 car garage. I'm thinking of putting up a tarp around the boat and running a space heater to hopefully get it up to temperature where things will harden in a reasonable amount of time. Any thoughts on fiberglassing during the winter or should I wait till spring.
 

Cactus Cowboy

Well-Known Member
As long as you have climate control, you'll be fine... even if that means adding an extra space heater or whatever. If humidity is a problem in your neck of the woods, you can probably buy a dehumidifier, or just wait for sunnier days when it's hopefully a bit drier... this tip holds especially true for any painting you might do after the glasswork. :rolleyes:
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
It's getting cold in Iowa and I have an attached, but unheated 2 car garage. I'm thinking of putting up a tarp around the boat and running a space heater to hopefully get it up to temperature where things will harden in a reasonable amount of time. Any thoughts on fiberglassing during the winter or should I wait till spring.
If you have an inspection port, insert a coffee- or candle-warmer inside the hull. An empty coffee mug (on either heater) will deliver radiant heat.

Winter or spring? I figure long periods between glassings will permit more efficient sanding—so do both. :)
 
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