removing fiberglass

Discussion in 'Wooden Boat Building and Restoration' started by rocky082259, Jun 18, 2007.

  1. rocky082259
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: New Mexico

    rocky082259 New Member

    I'm restoring a yellow jacket plywood boat. the previous owner fiberglassed the bottom of the boat. This fiberglass is cracked and breaking off in spots. I'm trying to remove it by using an orbital sander with 40 grit paper :mad: . It works great but is taking a very long time. Is there an easier way to remove the fiberglass without damaging the hull? I keep hearing about using Heat.

  2. mike steiger
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: new york

    mike steiger Junior Member

    Angle grinder equipped with the appropriate backing pad and a 36 grit disc should make quick work of it. Just be carefull not to go into the wood to deep, and be sure to wear the proper safety equipment. Good luck.
    1 person likes this.
  3. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member


    What mike said- use a finer grade ZEC disc but be carefull cos they can work too good once your thru the glass! thet dont clog so much on paint & dont lose their rocks like a normal disc.Jeff:)
  4. riggertroy
    Joined: Jul 2004
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    riggertroy Senior Member

    goggle "I-strip", have used the tool on a wooden deck and no damage at all to the wood below. Not sure about on ply though
  5. ncuster
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    ncuster 1968 Chris Craft Ski

    I was able to remove all of the fiberglass from a wood planked hull on a 58' Chris Craft Ski using a small circular saw and a crow bar. This worked surprisingly well for me without any damage to the hull. Good luck!
  6. alan white
    Joined: Mar 2007
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    alan white Senior Member

    Wear a Tyvek suit, goggles, ear protection, a good mask, and God bless you.
    That's an old step hydro design, isn't it? Maybe from 1958 or something?

  7. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    16 to 24 grit on a 10" grinder/polisher. Unfortunately there isn't an easy way, nor a cleaner method.
  8. thudpucker
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    thudpucker Senior Member

    Is there no Chemical that would soften up that F/Glass?
    Even eat the Glass away to the point the boat could be washed off with acetone and be ready for paint?
  9. mike steiger
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: new york

    mike steiger Junior Member

    There is no other way that I know of to remove glass than the methods that were described to you by Par and other members of this board. I know this job is a real P.I.T.A. but once you get going and use the methods described with the proper safety equipment you will be suprised at how fast it will go. Good luck with your boat.
  10. fiberglass jack
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: toronto

    fiberglass jack Senior Member

    there is no magic striper for fiberglass, sometimes you can cut squares in the fiberglass and try to pry the fiberglass off the wood, but there is a good chance the wood will come with the glass, i always end up usining a grinder with 26 grit it takes time but once you get a method that work for you it wont take long, just stop as u get to the wood, work in small areas and finsh before you move to another,
  11. alan white
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    alan white Senior Member

    A 1/2" straight fluke router bit (carbide) cuts to depth. You only need to maintain support for the router base. It also helps to replace the regular router base with a home-made on with a hole exactly the size of the bit.
    Enough criss-crossing and half the stuff is removed, allowing you a chance under small (1") squares with a sharp slick or chisel. Noisy and gritty work, but that's what tyvek suits, ear protection, masks, goggles, and gloves are for.

  12. VKRUE
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Central Illinois

    VKRUE Just another boat lover

    I used a heat gun and a putty knife. Plain and simple.

    But I strongly suggest that if you do, spend the money and buy your self a REALLY GOOD resperator designed for chemical / organic fumes.

    Working in small sections (10" x 10") heat the glass on the outside. This will soften the bond material. Slip the putty knife under the fiber sheeting and free it from the wood. Keep shoving that putty knife further under as the fiber material loosens, working back and forth being careful not to overheat any one spot as this will cause the wood to scorch too. This does not hurt the wood unless you leave the heat in one place too long.

    This is very time consuming but, IMHO, does a real good job.
    I didn't like the grinding.

    Let us know how it goes... :)
  13. Ike
    Joined: Apr 2006
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    Ike Senior Member

    I took the glass off a 17 foot sailboat. Some of it just peeled away because the bond was not very good. But what was bonded was really bonded!. Everything said above is true. I used a rotary sander and very heavy grit. It's a bitc.... but you gotta do it. Be careful not to hit the wood, and what was said about safety gear, especially a good mask and filters is a must. If you can get a good suit, tape around the sleeves and any other place that dust can get in, cover your hair, and use good heavy gloves. It sucks and it's hot, but if that dust gets in your skin you'll really regret it.
  14. Rod Tait
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Vancouver, Canada

    Rod Tait Junior Member

    stripping glass

    I have stripped several kayaks over the years to re-do the glass. The best way by far is with a heat gun. I have posted some info on how I do it on my web site at on the "How To" page.

  15. catman021
    Joined: Jun 2007
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    Location: Philadelphia,pa

    catman021 Junior Member

    Would you happen to have any pictures of your project?
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