I started by cleaning and sanding the now cured epoxy fiberglass. First a little soap and water to clean off any amine blush that may have occurred during the curing process. Then using 100 grit sandpaper I lightly sanded the patched area, followed by a once-over with a Scotchbrite pad.
|Look Ma, I'm doing fiberglass|
At this point, I noticed a couple small bubbles in the laminate, undoubtedly a mistake from my last piece that was applied in the dark. I got out my Dremel tool (a must have for a boat owner) and ground out the two bubbles. Another rinse and a wipe with acetone, and I was ready to continue the layup.
I cut a couple small, nickel size or so, pieces of cloth to patch the ground out bubbles and another small piece to reinforce one of the other thinner areas of the layup. I then cut a larger piece to continue working on the overall thickness of the tapered area, making sure it would overlap the prior work by an inch or so. Since one of the goals of the repair is to thicken the rim around the locker opening, I also cut a few long strips to apply in that area.
I mix up some resin and apply the patches and other pieces just as I did before, using the roller to help remove bubbles and work the cloth layers together and the spreader to smooth everything out and remove excess resin. I repeat this process with more cloth and resin, allowing a little cure time in between every couple of layers to help keep the heat down. I didn't let it cure quite as much as before since I was only doing a couple layers at a time, but the overall effect was the same in reducing the amount of heat generated at any one time.
I slowly build up the lip until it is about twice as thick as it was before along the back side of the opening and about 1/8 to 1/4 inch more on the side closest to the anchor roller mount. One more large piece of cloth to finish off the entire bottom mounting surface and my quart size kit of epoxy was now almost gone. I was able to squeeze out enough epoxy for one more piece of cloth to wrap the rim of the opening one last time and have just enough epoxy left over to fill the one crack I had yet to address.
|The main layup is complete|
The last crack was a delamination along the lip that runs paralell to the anchor roller mounting point. It was very reminiscent of the arch delamination issue I had during my trip down to Georgia. Fortunately one difference was that this crack is horizontal and is sealed on the bottom. It also had a bit wider gap. So, instead of filling it with a thickened epoxy as I did with the arch, I tried a different approach.
|Fixing the delamination crack|
I cut a small piece of biaxial cloth that would fit in the big part of the gap and was about twice the height. I yet again mixed up some epoxy, but this time used a syringe to inject a little of it into the bottom of the crack. Placing the small piece of cloth on a scrap of plastic, I wet out the bottom two thirds. I slid the wet cloth into the wide part of the crack and then used the syringe to inject more epoxy around it. Using the syringe, I worked the cloth into the crack until it was full of epoxy and cloth. I then used the syringe to fill in the thinner cracks and finished up with a C-clamp to squeeze things together. While the fiber strands are most likely not oriented ideally, they are running roughly along the crack and I think, or at least hope, this will provide a bit more strength than just the epoxy alone.
|Some of the supplies needed to repair flberglass|
So, finally, I am done with the fiberglass application portion of this repair. With the cooler temperatures this time of year, I'm going to let it cure for a couple days before continuing. Then I will need to cut it to the final shape and re-drill the mounting holes. I'll also need to paint or apply gelcoat to finish the repair so it will be ready to remount the anchor roller.