If you haven’t seen Ship Shape TV, it’s a must for any boater looking to maintain for fix their boat. In this bit, the folks at Ship Shape turn to Fiberglass Coatings for help.
At FGCI, we sell a number of fillers for resins and gelcoats. It’s hard to tell which one you will need and what the differences are. So, let’s go over the common ones so you can pick the filler that is right for you.
An important TIP is to make sure, when using putty, to not go higher than 1/8” thick on your putty without adding a layer of glass. This way any stress on the putty is held to 1/8” or less and any issues can be easily controlled.
With all of these different fillers, in order to get a frosting-like consistency, you will want about a 60 to 70 percent mixture to resin or gelcoat. The fillers are sold in pint, quart, 2-1/2 quart, 5 quart and box sizes for whatever job you need.
Chopped Glass – The filler is ¼” glass fibers. They are the biggest pieces of the fillers we have. The filler offers increased strength is good for corners and doesn’t affect pigmented gelcoat. This is the most popular for use with resin putty and is good for not cracking.
Cotton Flock – The filler is actually pieces of cotton. The filler promotes resin adhesion. It’s a filler that offers increased strength for the putty you make.
Fumed Silica (aka Cab-O-Sil) – The filler thickens resin with little change to the cured properties. It makes for a very creamy putty that is great for applying to a vertical surface. This is very commonly used to prevent draining.
Microballoons or Microspheres – Phenolic spheres are generally plastic or glass and are hollow, intact spheres that reduce the weight of the putty, and add stability. This filler is used for making fairing compounds. The phenolic balloons are the most expensive filler we offer. The Microspheres are more broken spheres and are generally smaller, making them cheaper, but not as light of a putty as the microballoons.
Milled Fibers – A much finer fiberglass than the Chopped Glass, it makes for a much harder putty. The putty is strong and very coarse.
Talc – This is a light, fine powder, generally for making bondo-like putty. It makes for a very smooth, easily sandable, soft putty. It is quite inexpensive, but does add weight and can absorb moisture.
Walnut Shells – A brown filler, favored for making a wood putty or sometimes used for non-skid due to the rather large particles. It offers good strength, but the color can make pigmenting the product difficult.
One of our top products is a filling/fairing putty called OEM Super Poly-Fill. It’s now being sold through Amazon.com and Ebay.com so we wanted to take a moment and give you some tips from the pros on how to make sure your project benefits from this product.
- It uses MEK-P just like Polyester Resin does, so you want to refer to the catalyst chart for mixing ratios:
- Do your surface prep! Make sure you clean the surface, remove any paint or rust and rough the surface with some sandpaper to get the best adhesion.
- The product working time is 12-18 minutes, IF catalyzed at 1% and if it’s the magic temperature of 77 degrees in your working area. If it’s hotter out, and we all know it will be, our pros recommend cooling the product down before use to extend the working time.
- If you are using it to fill holes, always fill a little high and plan for a slight amount of shrinkage. Once it dries, you can easily smooth it out with a little sandpaper.
Check out a little more about the product from our time on Ship-Shape TV, with its Host, John Greviskis and our own VP, Jeff. They give a few more tips on how to get your project to look professional.
Here at FGCI, we look to make common problems easy to solve and make difficult projects doable for the do-it-yourselfer. With that being said, we are introducing an easy solution to a very common question we get; “how do I fix spider-cracks?”
Let me introduce our Spider-Crack Repair Kit, including everything you need to fix those pesky cracks:
- 1 – Cordless two-speed dremel tool, complete with bits to bore out the cracks
- 1 – ½ pint of Gelcoat Putty to fill in the bored out cracks
- 1 – 1 oz MEKP bottle to catalyze the putty (see catalyst chart for amounts)
- 1 – 9” x 11” sheet of 80 grit sandpaper to sand down the repaired area to a smooth finish
Now your spider-cracks are fixed and the surface is ready for the matching gelcoat (not included) to make your repair un-noticeable and the area look like new.
Now, before you simply fix them, you want to make sure the reason the cracks are there isn’t because something is just broken underneath the fiberglass, causing flexing. Make sure you inspect the surrounding area for softness to ensure it’s not flexing too much, causing further cracking.