Fiberglass repairs - Fiberglass RV


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Old 04-22-2008, 03:25 PM   #1
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Getting into patching a couple of small holes, moving a few switches, etc. has reminded me that using fiberglass cloth is one of my all-time most frustrating activities.

The stuff unravels, degenerates into unruly clumps of white matter, clings to everything it is not supposed to, and generally ends up not how I envisioned it.

Am I using the wrong stuff? Just using scissors on it seems to start the mess.

It occurred to me that the mesh tape used when drywalling might work better for anything but compound curves. It has a slight adhesive to it and won't unravel. Several layers should do the trick even when spanning a gap because it is fairly stiff and holds its shape. West Marine sells several expensive "tape" versions of fiberglass mat, but I haven't tried them yet.

Question: Anyone used this drywall tape with resin? Is it fiberglass, nylon, polyester, or some other material incompatible with epoxy? And does it or the adhesive react badly with epoxy? (I might actually get some of these projects done if I wasn't staring at the messes I've had so far.)
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Old 04-22-2008, 03:31 PM   #2
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From what I understand, there is fiberglass mat and fiberglass weave. The mat is preferable, sounds like you're using the weave???
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Old 04-22-2008, 05:00 PM   #3
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Per, having seen pictures of your work, and having been the beneficiary of your advice I don't for a moment believe you have made a "mess" of anything. I should have your messes.
And, FTR, I haven't tried the drywall tape for fibreglass but will look forward to your report.
cheers
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Old 04-23-2008, 03:34 PM   #4
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Am I to assume that you are using polyester resin? If so try using polar fleece from your local fabric store. It is 100% polyester and compatible with polyester resin.

I have watched enough of these TV car shows like Trick My Truck and Chip Foose's Overhaulin and they use it just about every time to make custom sound system enclosures stretching it over foam forms and the like. I've been thinking about trying it on some custom wheel well covers since my existing ones are just run of the mill standard.

Rob
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:19 PM   #5
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Hey Per,
Cutting fibrelass cloth can really be a pain! Scissors make a mess of things. Here's what works. Go to a sewing store and buy a rotary cutter used for cutting fabric. Lay some clear plastic dropcloth or Saran Wrap out on a piece of MDF. Use the rotary cutter and cut the patch. Next lift the patch with the plastic still on it and use resin and a 1" brush to wet it out. If you absolutely can't have little fibreglass strings on the edges of the repair, wet out the cloth first, then cut the patch. Clean your cutter with acetone after or you'll use one blade a repair! Lift the works onto your hole and press it into place. Peel back the plastic. Make sure to rough up the area first. Use the brush to work the resin well through the fabric and add more if needed. Sand, prime, paint, admire! I never use polyester resin. It reeks and sands poorly. I suggest West Systems epoxy resin, available at Lee Valley. The Bondo resin will gel in about ten minutes. With West systems resin and a slow cure hardener, you'll triple your working time and it sands very well.
Hope that helps!
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:09 PM   #6
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Quote:
Question: Anyone used this drywall tape with resin? Is it fiberglass, nylon, polyester, or some other material incompatible with epoxy? And does it or the adhesive react badly with epoxy? (I might actually get some of these projects done if I wasn't staring at the messes I've had so far.)
Per,

I used drywall tape and Loctite 2 part epoxy (found at WalMart) to fix cracks and build up the body
and fill in the hole for the old water tank inlet. Just got primer on so far but it seems like its a good fix. I didn't want to mess with the fiberglass myself.

http://www.fiberglassrv.com/board/index.ph...27116&st=60
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Old 04-23-2008, 07:13 PM   #7
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I've been using both West System and System Three resins, both epoxy.

Jeff: Interesting suggestion! I take it you've done this before? My wife uses one of the rotary cutters all the time. I'll get my own or pay the consequences! Thanks for the tips.

Thanks for the kind words, Ian. Nevertheless, every once in a while I have to learn a new skill, but I've been told it keeps my old brain from going senile too quickly.

I bought some fiberglass mat, so let the experiments begin.
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Old 04-23-2008, 08:27 PM   #8
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Cheapo trick for cutting fibreglass cloth. Put it on wax paper. Put a straight edge (board) over top and cut with a triangle knife, holding it at at least a 45 degree angle with the direction of the cut. You get cut cloth with nice clean edges. Put the cloth down dry, then wet it out in place. Easier said than done if not on a horizontal.
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