Firstly a big thank you to all QFM readers for letting me be a part of this great mag and for letting be a part of your quiet time. The feedback from the first issue has been amazing. The team at QFM said they have fantastic comments on this new section and it’s only going to get better so let’s keep moving forward.
In this issue we will focus on the tools you will need to help build and fix your pride and joy, no matter what it throws at you.
To some my cabinet looks like something that came over on the ark. But to me it is a lot of years of blood, sweat and no tears - actually heaps of tears. Over the years you will accumulate and make the weirdest contraptions for various applications and you never know when that one special “so called” tool you once made hiding in the back of your cabinet will come in handy. It is rewarding when you have had to create a tool for a job and it’s worked! In our line of work we use so many different trades’ tools that work really well for fibreglass. Maybe some need modifying but the most common tools that you need to get started at home will be available off the shelf. Whether it be a tiler’s combing tool we use to apply a measured amount of bog or a jimmy bar and carpenters chisel for removing a rotten transom or floor section, all these tools are essential in my tool chest and are priceless in helping get the job done effectively.
There are three tools I want to cover in this issue. The top three you will want to have are:
The diamond wheel to me is in the top three because 90% of the work you do on a repair job is cutting out old fibreglass. The diamond blade goes through fibreglass like a hot knife through butter. Made up of thousands of little diamond chips it is a must-have, but at the same time it can be a very dangerous tool because if it was to get wedged or bent it will shatter into pieces and it will bite you. A good diamond blade will cost you at least $100 so treat it kindly.
This tool can be used as a grinder or a diamond wheel just by simply removing the rubber backing pad and putting on the collit behind the diamond wheel. It’s a little time consuming but gives you a chance to get your breath back and see what’s next on the to do list. The grinder is used so much, whether it be sanding back to a line or cleaning dags off glass before flow coating: You can’t get far without one. I recommend a 36grit disc for general grinding jobs but if things are ugly under your old floor, you’re going to have to dig out a couple of 24grit bad boys to help you.
Third on the hit list, but just as important, is the humble old jigsaw; an awesome tool to cut through other materials that you may encounter as you are cutting through fibreglass. You may get half way to find an alloy or steel plate for a brace or an old cleat and this will demolish a diamond blade in no time so you can then grab the jigsaw and it will gladly cut through the lot. Just being able to move the jigsaw in so many angles and into different spots makes it an essential part of your tool box.
Like many tools the jigsaw has different settings, blades and power increments. I always use metal cutting blades just for the fact that a wood blade seems to do a lot more damage, especially if you are using it to cut out a speaker hole or rod holder and there isn’t much surface flange area and you will see chips from the blade. You might have to use a couple more and it may take a bit longer but believe me it will be better than doing a gel coat repair, which will take a whole lot longer.
In the next issue I will continue to cover essential tools and other products that will help you on your way to fixing your boat.
• If you have any fibre glassing questions or need some help, feel free to contact me via email on the above address or call I love answering questions and getting people back into their pride and joy.Reads: 4889