What's new

Repair badly damaged bow; PLEASE HELP

Kal-El

New Member
My wife and I purchased a 1973 Sunfish last summer. It was in great shape and we cartopped it for the long ride home. We got it home with no issues and, after a few minor repairs and a new sail, we headed off to the lake. We are newbie sailors and spent the day practicing. After finishing, we cartopped the Sunfish again and headed back to the campground where we were staying. On the trip back, the strap holding the front of the boat popped off and the boat slide off the van, hit the pavement, and slide across the road. Fortunately, there was no one coming so we were able to get the Sunfish off the road quickly. The only damage to the boat was the bow. It sheared off the tip of the bow.
Well, now it is time to start the repair process and we are looking for advice and YouTube videos on how to repair the bow. Does anyone have any advice? Step by step instructions? Anything? I promised my wife I would fix the Sunfish for her. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
 

Attachments

fhhuber

Member
Going to be a bit of a pain...

You need to find another sunfish to measure and make patterns from cardboard to get the correct shape.
Heat bend PVC to fit under the lip of the hull and ensure it fit well to an undamaged hull. You'll be clamping that on your hull later.

I would just saw off the damaged part. fill with a block of styrofoam as a form for the new glass work.
Shape the foam to allow for the thickness of the fiberglass.
Carve out the location for the bow handle backer block and set it in the foam with epoxy. Then when you lay up the new deck the block will be waterproofed and more solid than original.
Bevel back into the old fiberglass about 6 inches from where you cut off the nose so you can have plenty of joint surface.
Clamp that PVC in place and cover it with plastic wrap (Glad and Saran Wrap release from fiberglass pretty well, ut its easier to sand some plastic wrap out than trying to peel the PVC if it attaches to the hull)

Lay the new fiberglass on the hull, pulling around the PVC
Then lay up the new deck

Slice off the excess cloth hanging over the PVC, remove that and then start sanding and preparing for paint of gel coat.

Professional job cost would be more than a good used hull...

Actually I'd just try to find a good used hull because that's a lot of work, used hulls are cheap and we haven't even considered what other issues that hull might have.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Actually I'd just try to find a good used hull because that's a lot of work, used hulls are cheap and we haven't even considered what other issues that hull might have.
Probably the quickest way—plus you'd get the piece of trim (and deck) that you're missing. Agreed, that repairs using epoxy are stronger than the original fiberglass part. :)

I'd try an ad on Craigslist, mentioning, "condition not important". Hulls seem to show up with regularity. If it's defective where yours is not, you could try a "nose transplant".

Here's three pages (from one discussion) of what we covered recently on "missing-bow" repairs :cool: :
Shark bite in bow...help! | Page 3 | SailingForums.com
 

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
My first choice would be to find a decent hull for $100 or so and scrap yours. You could also do a quick, dirty and ugly repair by doing what Huber said, just scrap the foam form for the bow and put fiberglass over the hole (using the six inch grindback he mentions.). It won't be pretty but it would be watertight and not affect performance.
 

Whitecap

Active Member
I restored an old, broken, 1968 sunfish back to health. Before I did, members here told me that it would be cheaper to just buy a "newer, used one" that did not require as much expense and time of repair work. (They were entirely correct). I needed a project to do, so I completed the project myself - it was a great adventure for me.

-BUT-

Your repair looks significant (obviously) - and it will take a great deal of time and experience to complete it correctly. Dont forget the expenses: sawhorses, resin, hardner, gloves, respirater, disc sander, orbital sander, sand paper, acetone, fiberglass, filler, silica, primer, paint, etc. These are some of the the things that will be needed to complete this job - that most of the do-it-yourselfers on this forum already have. If you dont have these things already, you need to think about them - because bought all at once, they are expensive!

So, now is the time to make a decision - do it yourself after calculating the intensive project and possible significant expense, or save time (and maybe money) by looking on craiglist for a used one. In the Dallas area now, used, viable sunfish are selling between 300-700 bucks. It may be worth it to buy a used one, strip off the parts from the broken one, and make a beautiful new boat using the best parts from each boat. Then send the old hull to the landfill.

think it through,
Good luck,
Whitecap
 

Kal-El

New Member
I appreciate everyone's advice about just replacing the hull but we live in Missouri and there is not a lot of Sunfishes on Craigslist here. We traveled to Mississippi to just pick this one up. We understand the cost involved and have some of the supplies already. I've invested too much in the boat already just to send it to the dump. I am trying to make some form of a mold today and then cutting away the debris. Does anyone have advice on what to make the mold with? I don't have access to another Sunfish to model it from so I will be making one from scratch. This won't be my first rodeo with restoring something. I purchased a 1973 Apache pop up camper two years ago and totally rehabbed it. It had a lot of ABS work needed to it. I have just never worked with fiberglass before. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Demon

Member
Not pretty but fiberglass is easy to repair. Watch a view videos. Make sure you grind back to good glass, clean as acetone and use epoxy. The shape is pretty easy to bring back. The aluminum trim will take a bit to find.
 

Kal-El

New Member
Wanted to post pics from the daytime. Damage is still not good but I don't think it looks as bad as the first pictures taken. Fortunately, we do have the piece of trim. It just was not on the boat when first pictures taken.
 

Attachments

Alan S. Glos

Active Member
Once you get the fiberglass work done, I can sell you a used Sunfish curved aluminum trim piece for $30 + shipping; yours is damaged beyond repair. Also, while the under deck is exposed, be sure to reattach the bow handle with some epoxy resin in the holes or even use stainless steel pan head machine screws with washers and lock nuts. There is probably a scrap wood back-up board under the deck that the original screw screwed into and these boards are prone to rot and the screws pull out under load. Or if the hull is newer, there may be aluminum plate with threaded screw holes to accept the machine screws that you removed.

E-mail me at: aglos@colgate.edu if you want the trim piece.

Alan Glos
Cazenovia, NY
 

Whitecap

Active Member
I appreciate everyone's advice about just replacing the hull but we live in Missouri and there is not a lot of Sunfishes on Craigslist here. We traveled to Mississippi to just pick this one up. We understand the cost involved and have some of the supplies already. I've invested too much in the boat already just to send it to the dump. I am trying to make some form of a mold today and then cutting away the debris. Does anyone have advice on what to make the mold with? I don't have access to another Sunfish to model it from so I will be making one from scratch. This won't be my first rodeo with restoring something. I purchased a 1973 Apache pop up camper two years ago and totally rehabbed it. It had a lot of ABS work needed to it. I have just never worked with fiberglass before. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Here you go.
Quick Craig's List search shows a fair conditioned Sunfish for $50 bucks.

Sunfish sailboat

Sunfish sailboat - $50 (903 Cherry Lane, Kirksville, Missouri)

Easy stuff bro..

I hope Kirksville is close enough to you that this deal is worth your while.

Good luck,
Whitecap
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
Yep, get another hull, even if you plan to fix the first one you need a good hull
to make a mold. You could just wing it but you would have one funky looking repair.
Personally, I'd only do it if you are looking for a project an don't care about the cost.

Advice for the future. All my trailers have a medium heavy chain with shackle attached
to the winch post. Going down the road this is shackle-bolted to the bow-eye or bow-handle of
the boat. Never trust a ratchet-winch to keep you boat on the trailer as the ratchet will
unlock itself. If you get a v-block bow stopper this will help keep the bow from sliding sideways.
On my smaller boats I also use a ratchet strap over the middle of the boat. Maybe a little overkill
but I've not lost one yet.
 

fhhuber

Member
As i said.. the mold that is easiest/cheapest and actually adds flotation and strength is to insert a foam block., then shape it to lay the new fiberglassing over.

I have made MANY model aircraft cowls and other parts (high strength and minimal weight are really big here) by carving foam, fiberglassing over it then dissolving the foam out with acetone. In the case of a boat (or pontoons for the aircraft) you just leave the foam in place.

You can get pink builder's foam, layer it using Gorilla foaming polyurethane glue and use the Gorrilla glue to glue the foam into the nose of the hull.
If you are not happy with the shape after carving/sanding, just use a saw to put a flat on and add a new layer of foam (held in place with toothpicks as the glue cures) to carve again.

The PVC I mentioned is to match up the lip around the hull as easily as possible.

Someone who has done a fair amount of fiberglass work could make the end result hard to detect that the hull was ever damaged. As a first attempt at a relatively major project I doubt it will be invisible, but it is not hard to make it good enough to not show from 10 ft away. (just a lot of work)

You can use the Bondo fiberglass repair kit from Wal-Mart This stuff requires a peel-off film to be applied to final cure the fiberglass. It remains sticky forever if you don't exclude air from the surface.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
A replacement hull has about $200-worth of hardware :eek: and a lot of "pre-preg" panels :cool:. (Should you choose to cut some out and save them). In many locales, "The Dump" isn't a free place to get rid of an unwanted Sunfish. You have to pay. :oops:

Wanted to post pics from the daytime. Damage is still not good but I don't think it looks as bad as the first pictures taken. Fortunately, we do have the piece of trim. It just was not on the boat when first pictures taken.
Not so bad, but keep in mind that fiberglass damage can extend several inches from the obvious damage. :(

With some outdoor temperatures still "unfriendly" up there, I'd be tempted to cut off the bow behind the bow handle, carry it indoors, and work on the repair in comfort. :cool: (West System epoxy is nearly odorless).

Then add a few layers of fiberglass tape (my preference for a tidy repair), and build up the damaged bow section from the inside.

Bolt
on the bow handle with aluminum or stainless-steel reinforcement inside. (My choice would be oval-head S/S machine screws—epoxy the nuts securely in place for a painless bow handle replacement—some years from now).

Buy the replacement trim from Alan Glos. He's prompt, reasonably priced, and the trim arrives without shipping damage.

Sand to taper all those new cuts to paper-thin, locate some sail battens, cut them to 5-inch lengths, then secure them with epoxy to reposition the bow section accurately. Align the new nose, then fill with layers and layers of tape and epoxy. Using tape, you can roll it around and around and around, rolling (or pressing) out the bubbles as you go—and not have to sand between layers—as you must when using epoxy that has hardened. Use slow-set hardener for extended work-times and ease of positioning the new nose.

Otherwise, if you have an inspection port, you could pull heavy screening* forward to form a base for your new artwork. ;)
*Or a fine grade of galvanized "hardware cloth"—as below:


I have two grades of S/S screening, and find that neither is flexible enough for this particular use. :(
 

Roller

Member
I'm with fhhuber & Light & Variable here. I would never scrap this boat if the nose is the only significant damage to the hull. A grinder and some polyester/vinylester/epoxy + mat and/or cloth and you're good to go. You're not rebuilding the Space Shuttle. Working with fiberglass is not rocket science.
 

Webfoot1

Active Member
This problem comes up often enough that it would be nice if someone
could make a mold off their boat. The mold could be passed around to
forum members for the cost of shipping.
 

Roger K

New Member
Possibly cut the seem between the deck and the hull back a couple of feet or cut an inspection hole in the top of the deck so you can get behind the damaged area to work....
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
This problem comes up often enough that it would be nice if someone
could make a mold off their boat. The mold could be passed around to
forum members for the cost of shipping.
Making the mold would be the easy part. :oops: (Unless you leave-off the deck).

Of what materials would you make it of—and how to proceed when "casting" a new bow? :confused:

.
 

Roller

Member
fhhuber's is the best suggestion. With a hacksaw blade or skilsaw you cut away all the badly broken/mashed laminate from the bow. With a grinder, or sanding disk on a drill, or hand sanding block with coarse paper you grind/sand away the gelcoat and some of the laminate for 3-4" back from the cut off, trying to somewhat taper the thickness of the deck and hull from the good area toward the cut.

You go to an appliance store, big box, or furniture store and beg to walk through their service area or look through their dumpster. You're looking for the white, coarsely surfaced, somewhat flexible foam that's commonly used inside cartons when shipping biggish heavyish stuff. This is ethafoam--closed cell foam made from polyethylene. It often comes in 2" thicknesses. The foam should be free.

You glue pieces of ethafoam together, and glue them into the hole in the bow. You can easily cut the foam to shape with a hacksaw blade. It doesn't matter how many pieces you use. You can glue the foam to itself and into the boat with 3M spray adhesive or Gorilla glue, but my favorite is a hot melt glue gun (be a little careful--too much hot melt in one spot will melt into the foam).

Once the hole in the bow is filled with foam you shape it to the missing profile with your grinder or disk sander, or with a knife, Surform, and coarse sandpaper. The ethafoam will fuzz some when you sand it, but you can get a surprisingly smooth surface. If you don't like your progress, cut back the foam, glue in another piece, and start again.

Now the beauty part. Polyester (or vinylester) will not dissolve ethafoam, so you can go to Walmart or the local auto parts store and buy a quart of polyester resin (no need to mail order expensive epoxy). It would be best if you started the layup using CSM (chopped strand fiberglass mat). Mat builds thickness quickly and is easy to shape to complex curves. Turn the boat so that you're laminating on a horizontal surface(work on the hull with the boat upside down, then turn the boat over to do the bow, etc). Make the laminate over the foam rather thick (more layers), thinning it as you lay up over the sanded areas of the hull and deck. You don't have to be super neat. If there are ragged edges of mat left after the resin kicks just grind them off and laminate over them.

The polyester with have wax added so that the surface fully cures. Not a problem. If it's only an hour or two between laminations just keep working. If it's days you can wash what you've done with acetone, scuff sand the surface, and lay up more glass.

The bow is complex in shape and so your lamination will be quite rigid. It would be a good idea to let into the foam some kind of backer block for the bow handle etc. before you begin glassing.

Keep working with the mat (and maybe a layer or two of cloth) until you're happy with the result or tired of the process. If you sand into the glass reinforcement at the end you should give the area another coat of resin--raw glass reinforcement should never be exposed to water or weather. I would not mess with gelcoat. Sand the reconstructed bow when you're done to a finish you're happy with and paint it with a reasonable quality exterior enamel (obviously not latex!).

It's taken me longer to write this than it will take you to get started on the repair. This is not that difficult or expensive... you can do it and the boat will be fine. Post a beauty pic when you're done.
 
Last edited:

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I agree with roller. Many make this project out to be waaaay more than it is. The existing lines of the boat will tell you how the shape needs to continue. If it's off a 1/2 inch...big deal. The people with experience just know the short cuts and how do make it look GOOD in the end, rather than looking like it was finished with a tooth brush. Matching gelcoat colors is an art and typically the hardest part of gel repairs. Therefore, think of potentially painting the bow in a unique, creative and pleasing way... (think like a car "bra"... but having a similar design if it was on the bow of the boat). That would be the easiest. Otherwise do as best you can and just use the boat. YouTube is your friend, but don't get all "legalistic" about the methods and how it HAS to be done. Poly resin is fine as many people will tell you to get the MUCH more expensive West System epoxy. Believe me, I've repaired holes in the sides of boats you could walk thru. Just a bigger job.
 

fhhuber

Member
There is no fiberglass damaged so badly it can't be repaired... its just easier to cut off the crushed stuff than to piece it back together most of the time.

I had a 12 inch long fiberglass cowl crushed down to 1 inch long. I pulled it out and repaired it with no new cloth. Sanded and painted... and it looked better than original.
 

Roller

Member
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!
 

L&VW

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

This is ethafoam--closed cell foam made from polyethylene. It often comes in 2" thicknesses. The foam should be free. You glue pieces of ethafoam together, and glue them into the hole in the bow.
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:

The polyester will have wax added so that the surface fully cures.
Shouldn't that read epoxy? :confused:

.
 
Last edited:

fhhuber

Member
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.
 

Kal-El

New Member
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.
 

Roller

Member
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.
 

Roller

Member
"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:

Roller

Member
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.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Fullscreen capture 372017 32643 AM.bmp.jpg
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.
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.

"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)...To get a 1/4" thick lamination with 2 oz would require four layers of mat, not a bad job to do.
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:

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.
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:

Roller

Member
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.
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
Wanted to post pics from the daytime. Damage is still not good but I don't think it looks as bad as the first pictures taken. Fortunately, we do have the piece of trim. It just was not on the boat when first pictures taken.
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.

 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
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.
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. ;)
 

JamHam

New Member
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.JPGIMG_1187.JPGIMG_1188.JPGIMG_1190.JPGIMG_1191.JPG
 

L&VW

Well-Known Member
"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?

.
 

Kal-El

New Member
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.
 

Roller

Member
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!
 
Top