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building a fiberglass swim platform? Whats the best way to layer the glass?

Old 02-20-2012, 01:54 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Clarksville (Cincy) Ohio
My Boats: '86 '36 Mainship double cabin REALLY slow cabin cruiser
Posts: 2,144

Couple of tricks I've learned.
#1. on non your platform how you want it, tape off what you don't want non skidded, mix sand w/the gel as Rick said and roll it on. Easy to do and looks great.
#2. I have a 7' glass door I use for smooth finishes. 3 coats of wax and start spraying. The finished product will pull right off the door and have a perfect mirror finish.
#3. There is a type of particle board (like plywood) that has a plastic vaneer on it that also makes great, basic molds. It has a slight texture though so you'll have to sand it out then you pull your part if you want smooth. Home Depot sells it too.
#4. Remember if building a mold w/sides to design in what's called "draft" so your part will release. You don't want any true 90* walls unless you plan to destroy your mold to pull your part which is fine if a one time deal. Most use 2* as a rule.
#5. If you thin it properly, a $10. Harbor Freight spray gun works just fine for gel.
#6. When learning to glass, especially up north w/changing climate the biggest challenge is getting your catalyst to resin ratio correct. Buy one of the graduated squeeze bottles for the catalyst. Works awesome and eliminates guess work.
As far as material, 1708 or something similar is great suff. It is a double laminate w/one side being mat (forms/bonds to almost everything) and the other being cloth which gives your strength.
As for core, I'd use multiple layers of foam w/varying density. If you plan to have much curve in the main surface you'll want lower density thinner pieces. In your highly loaded areas and where you'll be fastening to you'll need very dense/heavy foam to be able to hold a screw.

Many great books w/all the help you'll need.

Here is the mold I made for the 7' lid on my sun lounge. Four layers of 1/4" foam w/cloth between each layer. The lid can be seen leaning against the wall to the left. I built this mold w/the particle board from Home Depot.

Finished product.

Balsa cored swim platform/set back bracket after repair. They gray is non skid formed from the sand mixture applied w/a roller. Really easy, cheap and looks like a million bucks.

Last edited by Twin O/B Sonic; 02-20-2012 at 01:58 PM.
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