Plastic Scraper for Fiberglass - Fiberglass RV

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Old 04-03-2006, 06:22 PM   #1
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Brian B-P's Avatar
Name: Brian
Trailer: Boler (B1700RGH) 1979
Posts: 5,000
Spring sprung around here last week (went from plowing snow away from the Boler to dodging mud to get to it) so now it's warm enough to get out and work on the trailer. By coincidence, a recent Lee Valley catalog showed a plastic scraper blade which seemed like it might work for removing the various kinds of stuff previous owners have plastered around the windows on my Boler, without scratching the gelcoat.

In previous attempts, the only way I have found to reasonably cleanly remove the silicone around the windows was to carefully slice it flush with the trailer body surface with a sharp knife. A metal scraper scratches, and softer scrapers don't peel the silicone off cleanly.

Here's what Lee Valley is selling: the ScrapeRite razor-style blade (25 plus a little plastic holder for $10), shown with a $3 blade holder and the more common $2 style, both holders from the painting tools section of Home Depot:

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Here's the holder, extended for blade change, with the regular single-edged steel blade on the left, and the plastic equivalent on the right; then the assembled scraper, and a side view of the beveled blade:

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Now the test... the silicone was removed with a single pass of the scraper along the body, then one at right angles to that along the window frame. I cleaned up the lower part of the area with a few seconds more scraping. I didn't see any scratching, but another method may be required to get the surface completely clean.

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The ScrapeRite blades come in three hardnesses: the only ones in stock were the general purpose (colour-coded orange), which I am guessing are the appropriate ones anyway.

This is only a first test, but the plastic blades look like a reasonably-priced and comfortable-to-use (with a suitable holder) alternative to less effective soft scrapers, harder-to-hold improvised materials, or gelcoat-scratching metal tools. Now for a few hours of finding out if they prove up to their promise!
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1979 Boler B1700RGH, pulled by 2004 Toyota Sienna LE 2WD
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Old 04-03-2006, 07:22 PM   #2
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Name: Con
Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 317
Hmmm! Another example of the fine job silicone does.
Several summers ago I was doing some prep work on my neigbours Trillium getting it ready for the road. Things like replacing the the clearence lights because the moss had fillted the lens entirely. I wished I had taken pictures of the rear window though.

I guess it had been leaking, so some one decided to use black silicone a least 1/2" thick and 3/4"around the alum. frame. It didn't look like it had been applied with a caulking gun but a putty knife. I guess they tought the thicker they put it on the less it would leak.

I cleaned every bit of it off, what a bear of a job than, and then ran masking tape about 3/16" away from the frame (An old trick I learned in the body shop) and than applied clear silicone bead with a caulking gun. While it is still soft I wet my finger and made a nice fillet to the frame. Spit works the best of anything. You wait about 5 to 10 minutes and then carefuly peal the tape off. You end up with a very neat clean seal.
However my friend leaves his Trillium sitting out in the weather all year around so I know the silicone is not going to be perminent.

I am not trying to get off the track her Brian, I think you might have finally found the right tool for the right job. I used scraps of Plexiglass strip as scrappers which do little damge to the gelcoat. Keep us posted on your progress.

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Old 04-04-2006, 04:59 AM   #3
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Trailer: 1989 Casita Spirit Deluxe
Posts: 2,055
Definitely worth looking into, Brian. Thanks for the info. I have probably used more various and sundry things to scrape off silicone than anyone but that is one that I haven't seen before. The various plastic scrapers I used just aren't up to the task. I always end up ruining every fingernail that remains. What I found works the best is plastic cutlery. Broken spoons from the cheap sets are good for stubborns spots, knifes from the better quality make better cutters. I had such a mess on my trailer when I got it that I thought I'd never get it all off. Every single window and rivet was gobbed with it. He had still not stopped all the leaks which I found and fixed.

You'd have had to see it to appreciate it. This picture just doesn't do it justice. My neighbor called it a "deer lease caulk job."
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Old 04-04-2006, 08:04 AM   #4
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Name: Donna D
Trailer: Escape 5.0 TA, 2014
Posts: 23,916
ahhh the wonders of silicone...NOT! Clear doesn't stay clear, etc.

I use a plain old windshield ice scrapper (and my right thumb nail). The ice scrapper does a reasonable job and I have plenty of them around the house/vehicles.

Gotta try the plastic knife and spoon idea lots of those too!
Donna D.
Ten Forward - 2014 Escape 5.0 TA
Double Yolk - 1988 16' Scamp Deluxe
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Old 04-04-2006, 09:54 AM   #5
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Name: Con
Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 317
I forgot about the plastic windshield ice scrapers, they work to. I guess you guys down in California wouldn't know what they are, HeHe
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:12 AM   #6
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Name: Mary
Trailer: Escape 21; (formerly Casita LD 17 & 16)
Posts: 9,088
Did somebody delete something? I didn't see anything posted by anybody in California...
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:23 AM   #7
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Name: Byron
Trailer: 2006 Scamp 13' towed with a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4.7l Magnum W/full tow package (over kill)
Posts: 5,861
I forgot about the plastic windshield ice scrapers, they work to. I guess you guys down in California wouldn't know what they are, HeHe
Did somebody delete something? I didn't see anything posted by anybody in California...

Ditto for Texas
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:24 AM   #8
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Name: Con
Trailer: 1977 Boler 1300/2003 17' Bigfoot
British Columbia
Posts: 317
Come on gang, laugh it up a little. We still have a foot of snow and it is still freezing every night. I still need my scraper! I brought the Boler out of the shop yesterday and this morning it was all white.

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