Back to the Grind…

It’s hard to believe its been a full year since I last had to do a serious fiberglass grinding session!  I had almost forgot what a joy it is! No, not really, it’s not fun at all! haha.  Yesterday I decided that the weather was OK enough to do some work on the aft deck again.  To check out the last time I worked on this you can read this post which also included several hours of grinding.

I’d like to point out that if I had the chance to do this part over I would have laid new fiberglass instead of trying to re-use the old skin.  I didn’t realize it until too late but the amount of grinding needed to achieve a good bevel really obliterated the old skin that we used and it probably would have been easier and quicker to start from scratch in this case.

Anyhow, yesterday was a beautiful day and it was really nice to be out on the farm working.

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I also got to try out my new 3M 6000 series rugged comfort quick latch respirator which I really like so far.   Jamestown distributors accidentally shipped me the filter cartridges a while back and when I contacted them to let them know of the mistake they said I could keep them.  I decided to buy the corresponding face mask and I’m really happy with it all.

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The grinding was painful and slow, as always.  It’s one of those jobs you just have to power through.  There were many points where I was like “well maybe thats enough for today, I can do the other half next week…” haha.  That just doesn’t cut it and so as much as it was painful I kept going and got the job done.


Once the ridges were all ground down and all the bevels re-ground it was time to sand.  Sanding was not nearly as bad and being able to hook the sander up to a small shop vac makes all the world of a difference when it comes to dust control!


After several hours the grinding and sanding was complete and the whole area was cleaned up with Xylol.  The wind had started to pick up so the fiberglassing was a real pain and I could not take any pictures.  I had to move fast mixing up batch after batch of epoxy and cutting fiberglass strips in the right configuration to be laid down.  Fiberglass was blowing everywhere and there were even some times when a strip or two blew overboard and had to be chased down!  Anyhow, the image on the left is everything all ground out and cleaned up and the image on the right is the new layer of fiberglass laid down.  We will need two or so more layers and then we can be done with this mess!

4 thoughts on “Back to the Grind…

  1. Well, if you’re going to be grinding fiberglass, you picked a pretty nice spot to do it. I wouldn’t mind that view + peace and quiet while working on my boat. They may be hot, but a Tyvek suit w/hood might be a good investment in your health, happiness, and longevity 😉

    I see what you mean by wishing you’d just done a new skin. Your beveled area to saved skin area is unbalanced in the wrong direction.


  2. Just a quick note(although I suspect you are nearing the end of your grinding days) but those are the wrong cartridges! They are for chemical vapors, not dust. You can buy a box of N95 pre-filters that go on the outside to filter out the dust, however they are still not a great choice. They are heavy and hard to breathe through(which means sucking more dust around the outside). The much better cheap choice is the 3M 2095, a p100(filters 100% instead of 95% of dust) pancake filter. Their drawback is they don’t filter organic vapors, so no good if you work with polyester resins and catalyst. However 3M noticed this a few years ago and came up with a miracle filter. the 3M 2097. Almost the same price(8$ instead of 7$) and all of the benefits of the pancake filter, with no smell!
    Benefits of a pancake filter:
    -lightweight, very nice when you spend all day grinding
    -air flows in on both sides, the air flowing in on the backside makes a huge difference, especially when you are kicking up a cloud of fiberglass dust onto them, it feels almost like wearing no respirator at all.
    -Close to the face, very nice when you spend a day with your head inside a locker.
    -CHEAP use them a few times, then set aside for light duty use at home sanding wood or what have you. Also nice if you have to deal with people who leave things out in the rain…

    I buy these by the case.


  3. Also, for anyone else out there reading who’s going to grind fiberglass: Don’t use aluminium oxide fiber backed disks, spend the extra pennies and buy 36 grit Cubitron II ceramic disks from 3M. They last 10x longer, cut twice as fast and much cooler, so less strain to you, fewer disc changes in a day, and you are done much sooner. I used to use a mix of 36 grit aluminium oxide fiber disks, and 16 Grit Boron concrete grinding disks, but these days I don’t even bother with those very often, unless I’m doing some major digging in a hull. I have tried everything from cheapest aluminium oxide, to silicone carbide, to several brands of ceramic. the 3M grit is actually different, and on fiberglass it’s a miracle worker. Twice the price and 10x the use is a massive savings to me.

    Buy one of these shrouds! I have a special vacuum (festool CT26) I use just for grinding. The front edge can be removed for getting in close, but it takes grinding from a suit up with full face respirator and still hating life job to a T-shirt and shorts and a quick wash after.

    I wish I was out there living the dream as you two are, but sadly my girlfriend doesn’t like the idea, won’t even look at the ones i’ve shared with her and I love her enough to stay on the ground, so someday soon I’ll be living inland. C’est la vie as they say. I used to live on an Alberg I refit, and now own and run a small boat repair business, so the tool recommendations are good, I promise 🙂


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