Monday, September 20, 2010

Tips for Making and Glassing the Foils

Mike Storer describes a process of using a normal plane, torture board and sandpaper to shape the foils. A torture board is a long piece of flat board with sandpaper clamped across the face and held in place at each end with blocks and screws. This gives a very traditional way of shaping the foils.

I like power tools. I got both of my foils done in about an hour each using an electric planer and an orbital sander. If they're not perfect then that's my inexperience, not because I didn't do it with hand tools. If anything I think it was easier with the power tools. The most I took off at a time was 1mm with the planer and most of the time it was half that. I.E., don't be in a hurry.

As for the fiberglass coating of the foils, I tried a trick Dave Carnell uses to butt-join sheets of plywood using fiberglass. He provides a lot of detail here but from that I took away the fact that cling wrap doesn't stick to epoxy fiberglass as it's setting. So, doing the tips of the foils, even when using double biased glass sheet, you still get little bits of the cut fiberglass sheet poking out into space. Nothing makes these bits behave, doesn't matter how often you revisit them and poke them down into the setting epoxy. They always eventually stick out. So, I wrapped cling wrap over the tip of the foil where the curves were tightest and ended up with a great result; not 'sticky-out' bits. The wrap just peeled off once the epoxy had set. There were some 'crease' marks from folds in the wrap but if I'd been a bit more careful those wouldn't be there. As it is I'm pretty sure a quick sand will fix it up nicely.

Finally, a trick I learned from the Woodworking Forums (at least, I think that's where I saw it) when working with 7008 two pack wood finish works pretty well with epoxy too. To keep mixed 7008 from 'going off' when you have some left over, you simply cover it and stick it in the freezer. I was ploughing through paint brushes, losing one every time I put a coat of epoxy on the woodwork or did any fiber glassing. So again, I wrapped my last brush in cling wrap and popped it in the freezer. When it first came out it was as hard as a rock but after a little while it softened up enough to do my next epoxy application. I've wrapped it back up and will see tonight if I get to use it again.

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