Repairing Old Instrument Holes - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 14 Old 01-21-2008 Thread Starter
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Question Repairing Old Instrument Holes

Greetings all:

The fathometer (a 20-year old Signet) died two weeks after I bought the boat; now the speed log is starting to check out, so I have decided to spring for a nice 3-instrument pod at the helm. Trouble is, I now have four holes in the Aft end of the cabin to fill. All holes are about 4 inches diameter, and I have access to both sides. I've read a lot of threads re: polyester vs. epoxy, and epoxy repair makes the most sense to me. The cabin is solid fiberglass (no balsa or foam core in 1965!!). I'm trying to avoid the tell-tale "old instrument" ring cracks in the back of the cabin after the repair is all fared up and painted pretty! Any advice from those with past experience would be most appreciated. Thanks!
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post #2 of 14 Old 01-21-2008
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I'd used a stainless cover over all of them.
Bolt it through and seal it in place.
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post #3 of 14 Old 01-21-2008
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You could also use those plastic deck plates they come in either 4 or 3 inch sizes. The rim is screwed into the fiberglass, and the center section is like a lid that screws into the rim. The lid can also be removed without damage if needed.

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post #4 of 14 Old 01-21-2008
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On a boat that old you don't stand a chance matching gelcoat.. So here is what you do. Grind a small taper around the inside of the holes. Tape some sort of smooth flexible backing material (compatible with the resin. Styrene sheets will melt with polyester resin) with mold release agent applied over the outside of the cabin. Use whatever resin system you are comfortable with, Mix in a thickener like micro bubbles. Have ready cut pieces of glass handy and just build it up from the inside. When cured, move to the outside, take off the backing. Dewax, sand, apply marine filler. Sand, prime and paint. You should be able to sand and fair it enough to not notice any holes. Gudgeon Brothers put out publications detailing the how to do this, can be done with gelcoat, but it will never match.
http://www.westsystem.com/ewmag/21/p..._practical.pdf

Last edited by sailboy21; 01-21-2008 at 08:06 PM.
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post #5 of 14 Old 01-21-2008
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Is leaving them in place an option?
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post #6 of 14 Old 01-21-2008
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my gelcoat is 29 yrs old and i don't have a problem matching it the trick is to clean it before the repair. i used ezon-ezoff and acetone to prep the gelcoat. then mixed up a batch of new gelcoat applied and covered with celofane wrap then sanded in to surrounding area and buffed out
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post #7 of 14 Old 01-21-2008
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You need to de-wax the area and then grind it at a 12:1 bevel for the depth of the fiberglass there. If the glass is 1/4" deep, bevel it for 3" all around. and then patch each hole with glass and epoxy, using the West Epoxy method or Don Casey's method. Do the same thing from the other side. Once you're close to a level repair, fair it with thickened epoxy, using wood flour or micro fibers filler, since you'll want it fairly easy to sand. Sand fair. Either prime and paint or apply gelcoat.

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Greetings all:

The fathometer (a 20-year old Signet) died two weeks after I bought the boat; now the speed log is starting to check out, so I have decided to spring for a nice 3-instrument pod at the helm. Trouble is, I now have four holes in the Aft end of the cabin to fill. All holes are about 4 inches diameter, and I have access to both sides. I've read a lot of threads re: polyester vs. epoxy, and epoxy repair makes the most sense to me. The cabin is solid fiberglass (no balsa or foam core in 1965!!). I'm trying to avoid the tell-tale "old instrument" ring cracks in the back of the cabin after the repair is all fared up and painted pretty! Any advice from those with past experience would be most appreciated. Thanks!

Sailingdog

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post #8 of 14 Old 01-22-2008 Thread Starter
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Many Thanks

Thanks to all who took the time to provide your insights. I feel better about tackling the project - now, all I need is some ambient temperatures slightly above the current 7 degrees F! Happy Sailing!
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post #9 of 14 Old 01-22-2008
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Bellatrix,
Is that a Ranger '36 that was used for sailing charters? Quite beautiful and mature (I could say 'old' as yours is 2 years older than mine). They don't make 'em like they used to. Plenty of TLC will keep these thick hulled boats going (I hope).
The cat in my profile pic is named Bella who now has a nickname of 'Bellatrix'.

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Everybody has one:

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post #10 of 14 Old 01-23-2008 Thread Starter
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Wink No, not a Ranger - - -

CalebD,

Thanks for your interest and compliments on BELLATRIX! No, she's not a Ranger 36 - she's a 1965 Hinckley 41 sloop, Henry Hinckley's variation on an Owens 40 cutter. Hinckley built the Hinckley-Owens 40 cutters in wood during the 1950s or so, and rumor has it that ol' Hank decided that the design was a good one to build in that new fangled fiberglass - with just enough changes to avoid paying any more royalties to Owens!

p.s. We're cat lovers too, and Bella's a beauty! Happy sailing!
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