How would you finish this console?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by stephentyler20, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. stephentyler20
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Byram, CT

    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    I bought some cloth. Now that I think about it, I think cloth will be better too because it should mask the imperfections on the dash better than the lightweight mat, so I can hopefully have a smoother part. I'm tempted to layer some mat in there too though, to add stiffness and waterproofness.
     
  2. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    I only have experience with gp resin, since NONE of my constructions were fancy. You are on your own, there. I usually finish with paint, not gelcoat.
     
  3. stephentyler20
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    Started the project today, after doing some more shopping! I decided to layer as follows: cloth, 2 layers of mat, then a surface layer of cloth (to hopefully make it a bit easier to fair). Then I'm going to pull the part off (hopefully!) and see how I like it. If it's too thin/flimsy, I'll add more layers on the workbench.

    Accomplished today:
    - waxed the console (mold release agent)
    - laid up cloth and 2 layers of mat using laminating resin (Evercoat)
    - near the end, ran out of Evercoat and switched to West Marine finishing resin (waxed)...

    That's where the problems began! I laid up almost the rest of the mat, but I must have screwed up the hardner ratio because the stuff kicked in the mixing bucket like THAT (super hot too). So I only got a little bit laid up, and have some bare glass mat hanging out that I'll have to deal with tomorrow.

    Tomorrow I'm going to sand the part that's finishing resin (to get rid of the wax surface), then lay up the rest of the mat, and top it off with the top cloth layer and let it cure the rest of the day. Hopefully by Monday I'll be able to pull the part and see how she looks! Then it's off to fairing, sanding, and painting or gelcoating (still not sure which i'll do).
     
  4. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Good luck.
     
  5. stephentyler20
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    Current status:

    Got all the glass laid up, let it cure, and pulled it from the "mold" without any difficulty (thanks mold release wax!). Now sitting on the workbench, and it's been left alone for a few days.

    It's going so-so so far. The surface is pretty rough, and the resin thickness is uneven in a lot of places. My next task is to cut off the excess material to fit over the console, which I plan to do using a jigsaw with fine blade (bad idea?). There's a pretty nice line from the tape on the backside of the part that I can follow, so it shouldn't be too difficult.

    Next, I have to start smoothing out the surface to prepare for paint. To that end, I have some fairing filler, a compressor-powered DA sander, and a grinder. I figure I'll start by grinding down the highs, then hit it with the sander and try and smooth it as much as I can. Then smear on the fairing compound, let harden, and sand everything again. Probably will have to do that a few times.

    I also have Interlux pre-kote and Brightsides (white) on hand for final painting.
     
  6. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Stephan, give us some pics... Cut it large to get rid of sharp, funky edges, then cut 1/16" large and grind edge to perfection just before painting. I know it seems extra but will help protect the edge from a drop, errant tool, and help prevent round-over.
     
  7. stephentyler20
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    Pictures! Some overviews, and then closeups of what I consider problem areas. Bear in mind, this is after I grinded away for a bit to get rid of some high points.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
  8. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Not exactly what I had envisioned. Looks like some roving and matt, resin rich and with air. Try this next time; "be very deliberate and practice on something to throw away first, use a well draping fabric like multiple layers of cloth or 1708. No roving or 3208, no matt." "...cloth lays and drapes so nicely that it is always my first choice on projects like this. Mask well, wet the surface, lay the cloth into it when it gets tacky, use a short-nap chemically-resistant roller and a brush and a bit of rubber squeegee (don't save money, have all on hand because you may need any and all depending on the lay of the cloth. NO AIR, work purposefully and get first layer on before it gets tacky. Just as it starts to get tacky, repeat (total thickness you'll want at a 1/8" or 3/16"). If it gets away from you, don't try to save a mess - remove the bad ply, walk away until tomorrow, sand off globs, and try again. Finish with a seven oz cloth and you will minimise fairing/putty. Watch your catalyst ratio and don't try to extend your pot-life by shorting catalyst. Practice on cardboard and know the temp, size of batch (it generates heat and will kick faster in larger batches), and exact amount of catalyst." You know the little metal rollers the guy sold you to do this with? Shove them up his nose and get a foam roller, a brush and a squeegee. Be ready to use any or all three. Are you ready to accept the help offered yet?
     
  9. stephentyler20
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    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    Thanks again... believe it or not, I followed all of your original advice to a T (well not exactly - I practiced on scrap plywood instead of cardboard).

    I didn't notice anything going wrong during layup, otherwise I would have pulled off the cloth and started from scrath. And I'm not sure why you say I'm using roving - this is cloth and mat only - finished with 7 oz cloth, just as you suggested.

    So you think this looks like a complete failure or what? Being that I have the fairing compound, I'm tempted to sand and fair and just see how that goes. If nothing else it'll be good practice, and maybe I can salvage it yet.

    If it's of any interest, the pictures (flash) do make things look a bit stranger than they do in real life.
     
  10. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    Okay. Sorry Stephan. I guess that it is a close-up of cloth and I am totally out of line... What happened here? It looks like there was resin pooling under the cloth, because that cloth should lay down smooth enough for you to say "Wow!". If you have a smooth surface now, try a minimum of resin, lay the cloth over it and roll with a foam roller from the middle towards the edges. If there is a bubble or wrinkle, lift that part up and set it down nicely. squeegee excess resin out - NO POOLED RESIN (it tends to float your cloth). I'm going to show you something, a much more complicated shape that I did last month with 7oz. cloth. Yours should look like this, or better, because this looks like it has pooling (the way the flash reflected). Granted, I have done this before but don't consider myself talented at all relative to good glassers. There is no reason for this thing to have air, nor wrinkles.
    034.JPG 036.JPG
    Don't worry about what you've done thus far since it's not structural. What you are striving for is a perfect surface and when you do your next project, you'll know what to expect and be much better at it. Glass cloth is SO flexible, tough, smooth, not itchy, if there is a shape like this to do, it is definately the "go-to" material. Post another pic - we'll get thru this and it'll be fun. You have good ventilation and respirator, gloves, etc., right?
     
  11. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    I didn't realize your's was such a basic shape, only bending in 1 dimension. I presume you have noticed that the side next to the dash is smoother than the surface you want to look nice... A better way to do this would be to make a simple mold with melamine board and modeling clay for radii so that the nice surface ends up out. I would have said this before you started but I thought that you had a more convoluted shape.
     
  12. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Stephentyler20, for someone with ZERO fiberglass experience you did a really good job. I bet you learned quite a bit in the exercise. Mark, is that a rudder in your photos?
     
  13. stephentyler20
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    Mark - no worries, and I do appreciate the advice. So are you suggesting that I should use cloth ONLY for a project like this? I had a number of people tell me to use mat (Either alone, or in addition to cloth)... so I did. This cloth layer is on TOP of a few layers of mat. Just to be clear.

    I'm intrigued with the mold idea, since I know this is the REAL way to make a fiberglass part. Presumably, I can use my part here to as the plug for a mold, right? In other words, this is the shape I want, in the right dimensions, so if I just cut melamine and lay it on top of this that should make a pretty mold... Then just wax that, add gelcoat, lay up glass, and voila - right?

    Where do I get a melamine board? Is there anything specific to pick up?

    Here's my plan of attack... Being that this thing isn't structural, I'm going to see if I can finish it. That is, I'm going to sand and fair to see how smooth a surface I can get going. If it looks like I won't be able to get it done properly, I'll use what I have to make a mold, and try it that way. Hell, I may even do that regardless just to get some experience making a mold!

    Hoyt - thanks for the compliment! It looks better in person, too, I promise!
     
  14. stephentyler20
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    stephentyler20 Junior Member

    Mission aborted... I gave a solid effort toward fairing and sanding smooth the part, but utterly failed. I couldn't get the filler to sand smooth (Always pitted), and by the time I gave up I had put on too much filler, and the problem was compounding itself. I know when to call it quits... the part is now junk.

    Back to the drawing board - not giving up yet. I've learned a couple things. First, I need to end up with a much smoother fiberglass finish in order to even consider being able to paint and sand - filler only does so much.

    To that end, I'm going to attempt this again using fleece, stretched over the console, soaked in resin. When that cures, I'll pop it off the mold, then on the *bench* this time, lay up some mat and cloth over it. I think it was hugely detrimental that I did the layup the first time on the boat itself - it's a crappy area to work, impeded by the windshield and corners so I probably didn't do each area justice.

    I think with the fleece method, I should be able to get a true-to-form shape and still be able to meticulously lay up the glass over it in order to result in a nice smooth finish that I can paint.

    Any thoughts or other ideas?

    By the way, I considered the melamine mold option, but when I looked closely I realized the shapes are too odd - nothing is perfectly square or even, so cutting melamine to fit would be a tedious and imperfect project.
     

  15. LarryMcI
    Joined: Mar 2010
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    Location: Florida

    LarryMcI Junior Member

    Blow-off the fiberglass re-work. Fair your existing plugs with Bond-O, cover everyting with marine vinyl (Nautilex makes many suitable patterns/colors) and install your new gauges. The cost savings will buy lots of beer and fuel. :)
     
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