Senior Moment Member
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: West Vancouver B.C.
Thanked 67 Times in 64 Posts
Rep Power: 5
Re: Proper way to tab bulkheads on a fiberglass boat
I have a couple of additions to the good advice listed so far.
First, coat the surfaces of the ply, where the glass will go, with epoxy, BEFORE you start the installation - not just the end grain of the edge of the bulkhead. The wood will absorb some resin and if it's not precoated, it will have to pull this out of the first layer of glass, weakening this most critical bond a bit.
Next, an easier method than Faster's slot method for anchoring the tabbing is to simply drill through the tabbing and bulkhead, after the glass has cured and been finished, and install appropriately sized machine screws. This bolts the tabbing and bulkhead together, preventing any movement which could cause delamination. The attached (poor) picture shows one of them beside the starboard chainplate. I installed eight of them like that, equally spaced on each bulkhead.
Last, a very tidy and craftsman-like installation can be done one of two ways - install a slightly thinner than normal bulkhead and then epoxy laminate thin facing panels over each side of the bulkhead and tabbing strips so the total is the correct thickness for the bulkhead.
Rout a rabbet the width and thickness of the tabbing into the edge of the bulkhead before glassing.
Either of these methods will keep the tabbing from sticking up above the finished bulkhead surface. Makes a very nice installation on bulkheads that show. Not worth the effort on hidden ones.
I, myself, personally intend to continue being outspoken and opinionated, intolerant of all fanatics, fools and ignoramuses, deeply suspicious of all those who have "found the answer" and on my bad days, downright rude.