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Tips n tricks when boat building/fixing

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A thread about little things that can make boat tweaking nicer, easier, cleaner or just better in some way big or small. Maybe gear found that helps. Things like that. Be nice if this thread keeps on topic and things raised by it go into a new thread ;)


Headline items to make a quick suss for a specific topic easier.



Glass Rash

I found I was getting a bit of a glass rash on the inner wrists which was causing wicked itching at times. So on D1's advice I brought some mid length sox and cut the feet out of them. Slide the remainder over the wrists and sweet, rash totally minimised and itching creased. Just when you pull them off take care to leave the outside on the outside. Can be washed in with normal washing with no drama.



Cold thick resin

Winter has set in and the resin thickens up a lot. Find a handy floor heating dude and score some of the wiring they use in that. Set that in a morter like compound to make a 'heated slab' for the resin to sit on. NOTE: Playing with electrics here so may sure it's done correctly. Watch the temps it can get to. I was fortunate enough to be presented a Otto special complete with thermostat control, it's brilliant.



Peel Ply

Worth every cent when playing with fibreglass. I brought a whole roll, 1.2mts x 100mts for $300 +/-  (Adhesive Technologies) and its worth every cent. You get only minimal sanding of work done, far nicer feathered edges, no more stray one or 2 strands to stick under your fingernails and better bonds. Nothing I glass now doesn't get peel plyed. You can buy smaller quantities. 


If you haven't used it just lay it on as the last layer. roll, brush or whatever down nicely all over and leave until set then just grab a corner and peel it off. It will 'wet out' like glass cloth, don't panic it's supposed too. All the resin it soaks up will peel off when you rip the peel ply off.


It pays to leave a corner or something that isn't resin soaked and rolled down so you can grab it to peel it off. It's fine to have excess peel ply hanging off the edge of the job, in fact that can often give a better finished edge to the job.



Acetone bucket.

Get a good plastic bucket or container big enough to hold your brushes, rollers and even glassing knifes* if you like. Check the plastic won't dissolve and it has a good click on sealed lid. Put in 40mm +/- as you like, of acetone. Put the just used gear into that seal the lid and your good to go again in a few seconds next time. Get the excess out of the brushes first. Do that and you'll use bugger all acetone and clean up takes seconds not minutes. You will have to change the acetone from time to time. This will not last months, maybe a couple of weeks between changes. The key is sealing it airtight when not in use.  * - the putty knifes etc used when coving and the likes



Vinyl gloves

Those pull on use them chuck ones like medical people use. Now cheap as chips and worth every cent. You'd save the cost for the gloves in hand cleaning acetone alone, not to mention it removes the need to put your hand in contact with nasty shite. I found I can get a packet of 100 pairs for $9 at OfficeMax. I've also seen then elsewhere at a similar price. It makes no sense not to have a box on hand these days.



Add away people....



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Great topic

1. Special woven cloth for the bilge. I don't know what it's called but you can get it from diesel mechanics. You place the cloth on top of oily/diesely water and presto, it ONLY sucks up the oil/deisel and leaves clean water behind. Magic. I now have a supply.


2. I bought a cheapie Chinese hotknife for my ropes and string - I HATE fraying ends. I was also surprised how easy it is to do an old fashioned whipping too.

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Blackwoods protector safety - Another place for those disposable gloves at a good price.


Brush spinner - bunnings have them - not cheap but great for spinning the thinners out - one of those large coffee or milo tins works well for spinning them in..


Reusing rollers - single pot paint - jar filled with water, place roller into, screw lid on. Roll the water out on a flat surface and you can reuse, have some rollers that I use for priming that would be several years old and in great nick. Buying quality rollers is worth it.


Taking a coffee or lunch break when painting with a brush- singlepot paints - wrap the brush with cling film.

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you need to be careful which gloves you buy, the medical latex rubber gloves do not have sufficient protection to block the amines used in epoxy. For disposables use a Nitrile rubber based glove.

If you do get epoxy on the skin, keep away from acetone. Meths will clean it off.

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I use very little solvent, as that is one of the avoidable health hazards with boat building. Typically it's more expensive than the thing you are trying to clean. So brushes and roller sleeves go in the bin after being used.


The mini rollers are great at wetting out and rolling most fibreglass's. Much easier to deal with than the cage rollers. Very common practice in Europe I found. 


I use Meths rather than acetone. But I must try vinegar too!

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One trick i have learnt - Baby Wipes...

They are awesome - i guess if they can clean poo off a baby then Sikaflex and Resin has nothing on them! But fantastic and always keep a box on the boat, saves chemicals for alot of jobs, and quick easy clean up when you do a greasy or dirty job.

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2 more.


This one courtesy of BB of Covers and Canvas fame. When you want a super smooth finish say when doing a clear finish carbon piece for example, laminate it onto a bit of the material the canvas dudes use for Clears. BB dropped some in and said give it a go. I finally got around to it and holy brilliant batman, what a magnificent finish. I made a clear finish dashboard for a race car being built and the finish looks like its a high quality photo. Makes the rest of the car look shitty now. 


I have an idea for a couple of bent things I'd like clear finished. I'm going to put the clears down first as it will easily bend around the mold/frame. I'm getting a little excited about that now I know this clears trick.


Big Thanks to BB for that one.



The other is a light. Getting dark early means I needs lights to do anything. Monday evening I was in the more distant and dark corner of the cave tweaking/fairing some bits and was struggling with the shadows.so I hooks up another big spotlight. As it's all running off a extension lead something went pop and it got very dark, I'd blown the light and the safeties. Reset the breaker but lost the light. Went shopping for another yesterday and left with one of these


10W LED rechargeable battery powered. Good for 3 hours they reckon and comes with normal and a car charger so handy if off at a contest for overnight repairs.


Use it last night and I found the light damn good. Not as grunty as a 500W obviously but easily enough to brightly light 1/2 of a 930 with ease....and totally kill your site for 5 minutes if you cop it in the face. Doesn't get hot and you can move it as easily as you move a stubby. $40 bucks from the local M10 Mega.

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Bought one of those a few months back - bloody brilliant. Use it most nights when I'm at the boat. Used it a lot over the last few months to crawl around some pretty awful spots in the St. James -awesome for small crawl spaces etc in conjunction with a head torch.


Bill will be able to confirm but presumably you could add a wee bit of heat to thermoset the clear slightly?

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The clear PVC i gave KM to try was the standard non-stick .75mm clear and it shapes OK with a blast from a hot air gun, Ive also got some 0.5mm thick stuff which would be better for curved surfaces as it becomes really floppy once its been heated up. Im going past this morning KM I will drop some bits in to try. When I make panels I leave the clear skin on for as long as possible while I trim them etc as it helps protect them from scratching.

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Another one.


Being a tad humid the powers can get a bit clumpy at times. So I scored one of these old school things. No idea what they are called bar maybe a 'Sifter'. The idea being you chuck flour or whatever in the top and pull the handle leading to the star like gizmo spinning around in the bottom so only nice fine un-clumpy powers fall into your resin. Makes it far faster easier and smoother mix. The balls of power left can very easily squished with your finger and then put thru the gizmo so no waste.


I know these things are the realm of extreme bakers and Grandmothers but I did find mine in a kitchen gear shop in Shore City (Takapuna) in a place called 'Steven' of all things, $15 I think it was. Worth every cent plus a pile more, it's at the top of the list of the simplest yet handiest gadgets I've scored for the boat to date.


I'm being told it's 'Stevens' and it is part of a chain nationwide.


Do I need to say it wouldn't be smart to use the same one that's used in the kitchen or that next Harvey Wallbanger cake may just taste of West System 411?




for the super eagle eyed, Sunburst rudder blades I'm tickling up for the local Sea Scouts, centreboards just behind those. If one boat wasn't enough I just added 4 more :roll:

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You haven't seen the speed I go at, I'm like a turbine under Lake Manapori :D


but I'd go with you're right and it's just crap spelling.

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