Fiberglass Removal

by Jim Kronholm
(Bristol, WI USA)

I'm just about finished heat stripping the varnish off my Wagemaker.

Problem is there is fiberglass from the bottom to top rail where the sides meet the transom.

Three inches on each side.

Some peeled off leaving the laminate good.

Heat does not work.

Is there a solvent that would remove the fiberglass without damaging the plywood?

Please advise as this project is ready for the trailer and garage storage until spring.

Thanks, Jim

Update Oct 24, 2015

Before I get started I would like to say thanks for your expert advice, Mike.(see below)

This project is coming along good so far except for some spots that were hidden by previous owners poor work.

Here are some pix with a brief discription.

1 This is a metal strip on the bow I would like to save.
2 Loose laminate on starboard front.
3 A bad patch.
4 Loose and missing laminate aft.
5 Another look. 6 Port side aft.
7 A few spots that need to be blended in.
8 Filler.
9 Some fiber glass that was rolled over the trim rail.
I don't want to take a chance at removing this if it could be matched with the new stain.

There is a few weeks before possible snow so can you give me anymore advice what to do next, and what to do when it warms up next year?

Comments for Fiberglass Removal

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Replacing Veneer
by: Michael

Just some ideas on replacing those areas of veneer to be mulling over during the winter.

Even if you find a veneer that is a perfect match for the original the new wood will likely end up brighter than the old when it is varnished.

To make the patch less obvious remember to make sure the grain of the new pieces of veneer are parallel to the grain on the original.

If you use oblong patches so that any edges that show up will look like planking this will look less ‘unnatural’ on a boat than an odd shaped patch.

Also using patches with straight edges make it easier to cut and align.

Masking tape right on the edge of the patch and the ‘hole’ where to it is to fit will aid clean up if there is any ‘squeeze out’.

The usual method for gluing veneers in place is contact cement but few of these cements are suitable in a marine environment.

Use slightly thickened epoxy and skinny-legged staples to hold it in place while the epoxy cures.

The staple holes will virtually disappear with the final sanding, staining and coating.

Treat the veneer before gluing by scrubbing with a 50% acetone, 50% rubbing alcohol mix first.

This will remove any oils and tannins in the wood giving a much better bond.

Before mixing up the epoxy perform a ‘dry run’ so you can check fit and organise any clamps, tools, supplies, etc. that you will need ready to hand.

by: Bill

Yea,sorry, best to leave the CPES until after staining and your garage sounds like the ideal place for her.

by: Bill

Yea,sorry, best to leave the CPES until after staining and your garage sounds like the ideal place for her.

Fiberglass Removal
by: Jim Kronholm

On slide 9 glass came off easy with no veneer damage.

Bill. will a coat of epoxy affect the staining next year?

I also plan to lightly bleach top deck and sides to get a perfect match, but that will be next year.

So far light sanding has removed most of the stains but not all.

My garage stays dry in the Wisconsin winter. Thanks,

by: Bill

The main thing over the winter is to keep her dry but well ventilated.

Perhaps a coat of penetrating epoxy (CPES) to keep out the damp and help stabilise the plywood.

by: Michael

Use a fine grit and hand sand, as you’ve discovered the veneers are very thin.

You’ll find some good comments here on touching up.

Fiberglass Removal
by: Jim Kronholm

I used high heat on the glass and with a slight prying of the putty knife it came off.

I lost a little laminate but I think it will be OK after sanding.

Lost laminate was only paper thin.

Is 80 grit right for this 1/4" plywood?

Thanks, Jim

Fiberglass Removal
by: Jim Kronholm

My thoughts are when the bottom was fiberglassed they ran a seam along this area to prevent leaks on the cheap.

Not wanting to spend the few extra bucks to use a good marine sealer.

The varnish was sagged and sloppy everywhere.

They even rolled some glass over on top of the trim rail in front where the water line paint ends.

I have heat stipped the rest of the boat on low heat with only one burn mark.

If it burns again can it be bleached out?

I realize this will take some patience but I want it to look right.

Should I start with a high speed disk sander?

Thanks for any advise.

Applying Heat
by: Mike

My first thoughts are why did someone apply the glass?

I can only assume that there was a leak somewhere around that joint.

Secondly, if you do get all the fiberglass off will the veneer be blotchy or even have lines showing where it was impregnated with the epoxy?

The most practical way to remove fiberglass is by sanding or grinding.

But it's a tedious and messy job, which requires a lot of care and make a lot of dust.

And you can almost guarantee that no matter how careful you are some of the surface layer of veneer will get damaged.

You should be able melt it off with a heat gun but it does a high heat setting.

Also it is a job for outside with a mask on.

Start by sanding off the top layer of resin to expose the glass.

Then apply high heat to an area, constantly moving the heat gun so you don't scorch the glass or wood.

Use a paint scraper to try and gently lift the edge of the glass.

Once you can get the scraper or putty knife under the edge of the glass, move the heat gun forward of the lifted glass and continue to heat the surrounding area and lifting with the scraper.

Do not force the glass up or try to grab and edge and tear it off without the heat.

Be patient and gentle with the heat and lifting of glass.

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Can this be hidden?

by Jim Kronholm
(Bristol, WI USA)

I'm heat stipping the sides and I see this spot that looks like a patch.

Someone did a poor job on it.

You can see the grain going the wrong way.

Maybe it's just scratched.

What can I do (if anything) to hide this.

My plan is to sand, stain, seal, and varnish.

Thanks, Jim

Comments for Can this be hidden?

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Fiberglass Removal
by: Jim Kronholm

Thanks Mike; I'll give that a try on slide 2 and 3.

Is it necessary to trim the hole square first?

On slide 7 I'll try to create some grain with a pencil when I stain as someone recommended.

This section is smooth so maybe just sand out the glue marks.

Any thoughts?

I have all winter to plan this.

by: Michael

I'm afraid that you are going problems hiding that.

It can be done but not so easily.

Have a look at some of the comments here.

Can this be hidden?
by: Jim

I plan on bleaching it first.

If I can remove the dark ring it may not be noticed much.

Any suggestions on a type or brand of bleach? Thanks, Jim

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