Best tool to use to cut fiberglass?

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by kooker, Oct 17, 2012.

  1. kooker

    kooker I Love microskiff.com!

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    If I wanted to cut out some thin fiberglass bench seats, what tool would provide the best results?
     
  2. Swamp

    Swamp I Love microskiff.com!

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    Best thing I have found is a nice sturdy pair of scissors.  Just be aware that FG is rough on cutting edges.

    Swamp

    Edit:  Wait do you mean FG cloth or FG composite (resin plus ply/foam/glass)?  If for composite then it depends on how "nice" of a cut you want.  For rough but very fast work I like an air hammer with a cutting chisel in it.  Otherwise an angle grinder with a cutting wheel works very well and still quickly, but you do burn through wheels.  I just started to use a cheap vibrating cutter with a diamond blade in it so far it is the best thing I have found for controlled clean cuts but it is slower.  The last is great for making flush cuts BTW.  Time will tell if I like the vibrating tool in the long run.

    Swamp
     

  3. cutrunner

    cutrunner Cert. Yamaha technician

    Sawzall.
    If your careful you can literally le the blade ride against the hull shell as you cut the bench seats out, greatly minimizing later grinding work.
     
  4. jms

    jms don't let common sense get in your way

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    i use an air powered hacksaw - "metal" blades - this works great for non cored thin glass skins

    cored glass - i call them "dumpster saws",a "skill saw" circular saw - works great - the glass dust will kill it

    cutting stringers,bulkheads - sawzall - i have a milwaukee - if i can't kill it - it won't break - just like the smart phone i have a "rugby smart"...
     
  5. twitch

    twitch Well-Known Member

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    It depends on what your idea of "best results" is. For me, I like very little FG dust and a clean cut, so I'd use a multitool with a diamond or carbide grit blade. If you could care less about dust, a 4" grinder fitted with a thin kerf cutoff wheel would cut em' like butter.
     
  6. disporks

    disporks I Love microskiff.com!

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    Sawzall (preferrably a corded one), Skillsaw, and a Jigsaw...

    The jigsaw will help you start a cut in some strange areas, the skillsaw is good for long straight cuts, and the sawzall is good for getting up close against the hull like cut runner said. Just make sure you wear eye protection ;)
     
  7. crawley15

    crawley15 I Love microskiff.com!

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    Lots of ways to ruin your tools hacking on fiberglass.

    Milwaukee makes the toughest 'sawz all' ever. It will outlast the others by far.

    I have tried and killed off several (name brand) multi tools...of the affordable variety, I think the BOSCH is the best, great sanding pad attachment (bonus). $149 to $160. Not bad for a tool that you will use somewhat infrequently.

    I wish we could all afford pneumatic equipment in our home shops. Sanders, buffers, cut-offs, spray rigs...oh well.
     
  8. chuckm310

    chuckm310 I Love microskiff.com!

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    for fine work, the multi tool is the way to go, hard to fiu, but sawsasll for cutting out large portions like benches decks etc. saws all is best then finish up with the multi tool. Standard metal blade works just fine.
     
  9. kooker

    kooker I Love microskiff.com!

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    Sorry guys for being MIA. I'll give you a little background on what I'm thinking about doing. First of all, the boat is a 13' fiberglass v-hull. Like most, it contains three fiberglass bench seats. I would like to cut out all of the bench seats so I can sand the whole inside, make front and back decks and then paint the inside. Obviously I'd like to make the cutting process as easy as possible, so of course I'd like something to get as close as possible. After all of that, what do you guys think? [smiley=spinning-on-head.gif]
     
  10. jms

    jms don't let common sense get in your way

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    sawzall - you can "bend" the blade as you cut,"riding" the hull...after they're cut out,grind the area,lay some matting over it,to a level slightly higher than the surrounding area,after it kicks,grind it and fair it...

    sand the inside out,use a good epoxy primer-2 part,let that kick,sand it,roll the inside out in awlgrip with grip tex - done !