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Thread: Fiberglass Balsa Core Fillers

  1. #1
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Fiberglass Balsa Core Fillers

    Anybody have any experience with fiberglass balsa core fillers? There are some really expensive products out there.

    I'm thinking about trying:

    http://www.westmarine.com/webapp/wcs...7610&langId=-1

    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1...atalogId=10053

  2. #2
    Administrator Kelly Bramble's Avatar
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    Ok, I went to the West Marine store and talked with their expert. He suggested that I use the "West System" 105 Epoxy Resin with the 205 Hardener as a filler.

    To prepare the Balsa core fiberglass panel -I drill through the upper layer of fiberglass only. Then, using an allen wrench attahced to a drill motor, I waller (southern word) out the balsa wood core larger than required. I then pore in the mixed Epoxy Resin/Hardener and let cure ~ four hours +.

    Then, I drill through the filler and the opposite side to install my marine component with a bolt, washers and nut. This way the balsa core is unlikely to be exposed to a water leak or other.

    Balsa core fiberglass structures are used widely in boat to reduce cost and weight. I'll let everybody know how it works out.

  3. #3
    Associate Engineer
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    Your plan sounds good. I've taken a few fiberglass theory courses, at a community college, which focused on boat building and repair. One of the textbooks is The Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual by Allan H. Vaitses and is filled with good info for most projects you might undertake. Depending on how much load the fasteners will transfer to the fiberglass, you might want to use the largest washers available, fabricate a plate to tie the fasteners together and distribute the load, or ask your local fiberglass shop for a small srap of honeycomb or other composite core to fair in the area you will load. Those are only options if your current setup fails in some way, or if you want to overbuild the support. Don't forget about dissimilar metals when sourcing the fasteners, buy stainless nuts, bolts AND washers or you'll have problems soon. Last bit: if you're attaching metal other thatn stainless, you can isolate the fasteners with bits of plastic or rubber to save some corrosion(I'm assuming this project will be wet frequently?) and so long as they are not touching directly the corrosion process will be slowed down. Least noble metals will corrode forst and most quickly.

    I'm sure you've thought through some of this at least, but I thought it worth mentioning for others who might read.

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