Best tool for cutting fiberglass cockpit seat - SailNet Community
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post #1 of Old 10-01-2007 Thread Starter
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Best tool for cutting fiberglass cockpit seat

I am going to install an access hatch in the aft cockpit seat of my Cal 39. What is the best tool to cut the hole. Saber saw? If so, what kind of blade? I recently bought a Dremel Moto-Tool. Would that give a cleaner cut?
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post #2 of Old 10-01-2007
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I've used a hack saw blade in the sabre saw. I taped the area first, then drew my lines, and cut. The tape seems to help with the surrounding splintering/chipping of the gel-coat.
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I bought this 6 blade set of sabre saw blades for $21.00 ! I thought I was nuts ( some still do ). Anyway, the blades are so strong, not one has broken and I gave it a workout. I got them at home depot.

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post #4 of Old 10-01-2007
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I like metal cutting blades in a sabre saw. Have spares, they dull very fast. Fiberglass does not cut as easy as you'd think.

Wear safety glasses - trust me.


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post #5 of Old 10-01-2007 Thread Starter
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Thanks. I appreciate the suggestion of taping the cut line to reduce gelcoat damage.
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post #6 of Old 10-01-2007
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Second (third? sixth?) the hacksaw blade in a sabre saw plan, and of course the tape.

If you can, try to drill your starter hole in such a way that it can be part of your lift handle or latch. And if you can do the cut in one shot. If you have to cut from two ends the cuts won't always line up perfectly, esp if there is come thickness to the material you are cutting. Cut real slow on the corners to avoid bending the blade which will put an angle on the cut.

We've done this with good results, and molded a drip channel that we attached under the cutout to keep rain water from leaking around the new hatch. It was part of a repaint project, and once we applied the new nonskid around and on the hatch cover it looked original.
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post #7 of Old 10-01-2007
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Another way to do it is to use a rotary saw, like the RotoZip. It cuts laminate pretty well and allows you to make curves and tight corners better than a standard sabre saw does. It also requires less clearance to make curved cuts than a sabre saw usually does.

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I used a friend's Rotozip on a project once - makes a clean-edged cut and I have a very solid grip and steady hand, but, the tool has a tendency to squirrel around - even more so than a router. A Sabersaw (reciprocating jig-saw), tracks much better.

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TB-

The newer ones seem to be less squirrely than the older models. I have a Bosch built unit that seems to be pretty easy to control.

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post #10 of Old 10-01-2007
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I have a Mastercraft rotary saw that has a flexible cable extension. THis is the best tool I have for any kind of cutting that requires accuracy. Highly recommend it. You can use all manner of spiral saw bits, drill bits, and all of the Dremel tool head fit. It has much more torque than the Dremel. It is very easy to get a perfectly smooth edge.
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