tool recommendations for fiberglass, mast work - SailNet Community

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Old 06-10-2009
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tool recommendations for fiberglass, mast work

I believe I understand the scope of the work for replacing my 2 bulkheads (fortunately smallish, they're just under the bunks in the aft hulls on my catamaran), and recoring the soft spots in my deck. I'll also need to be drilling holes into the mast.

So I need some tools to do all this, and I'm looking for tool recommendations...

a. Cutting thru tabbing on bulkheads
b. Grinding remaining tabbing down
c. Cutting thru top skin of deck
d. Grinding down any bits of nasty junk after pulling out the rotten core
e. Grinding down edges of skin to re-glass
f. Would you hand sand any thickened epoxy that over-oozed out, or use a tool for that?
g. Drilling through aluminum mast (I have a power drill, any special bits needed? any special guide to secure to the mast to ensure a good cut?)
h. Threading the holes through the aluminum mast

Speaking of the aluminum mast, what do you use for screws to attach the tri/anchor and steaming lights? Stainless steel would cause galvanic corrosion right?

So is there a wonderful magical tool that combines all the grinding & cutting needs for a, b, c, and d above? Rotozip, dremel, something like that? I don't really know power tools very well, I've got a mitre saw, hand circular saw, a drill, a palm sander, and a jig saw, that's it.

Thanks in advance once again... I will get this boat in the water for the 4th!
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Old 06-10-2009
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Fein Multitool or Rockwell SonicCrafter will do the glass work The Best. I just bought the Rockwell after borrowing a fein... To to do just what you are describing. Action photo at the following link:

I bought the Rockwell because it comes with a triangular carbide coated sanding plate, and ordered the pointed carbide rasp extra. Get a couple of the straight wood/metal blades and you'll be good to go for items A-F.

For Aluminum, just drill Slowly with Sharp bits. Standard taps work, but there are special ones for aluminum if you are doing a lot of it. I have stainless fasteners in my mast. They still work... Aluminum bolts seem corrode themselves solidly into their holes pretty quickly.
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Old 06-10-2009
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I'd second using a Fein or Rockwell for A-F. For G, a good sharp drill bit and an automatic center punch will do the trick. As for threading the holes... I would seriously consider using pop rivets instead if possible. Many spars are not thick enough to be tapped with enough threads to hold a screw securely. Pop rivets, either aluminum if for relatively light loads, or monel/stainless steel for heavier loads, are going to be far more secure in many cases, and easier to install with less corrosion issues.

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