Building a Center Console

Discussion in 'Boat Repair Help' started by warcraft1975, Jan 28, 2006.

  1. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

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    1,190
    ok lets face it i am poor and very cheap!!!but i need a console for my boat, i want to build it out of plywood and cover it in fiberglass.can any one that knows how to use fiberglass fill me in on how i should use it on a project like this?i want to cover the wood and make it look nice also....any suggestions, i thank you in advance
     
  2. Catfish Fever

    Catfish Fever New Member

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    4,548
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    Tim, I built the console for my Catoon using plywood, I'll post some pics tomorrow. Maybe I can suggest some ideas.
     

  3. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

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    Just got done doing a bunch of glass work to my boat. I was pleasantly surprised to find out how easy it was. The fabric is a lot easier to work with than the fiber mat, but it's easier to get a thicker layer of glass down with the fiber matt. If you're glassing it just to waterproof it, then use the fabric for sure. I put down a good coat of resin on the surface to be covered, then laid my fabric or mat down, squeegeed it good and flat, and the laid another heavy coat of resin on top. If you get some of the plastic bondo squeegees, they work great for spreading the resin and working the bubbles out of your matt. Not to tell you your business, but it would probably be a lot easier to cut out the pieces for your console, and then glass them before you assemble them. That way you can lay them flat and do a side at a time instead of having to glass a vertical surface (the resin will run down and pool at the base of whatever you're glassing). Once you screw them together, you can lay a thin strip of glass over the seams so it looks l like it was molded. Or just caulk and paint. I used three different kinds of resin, Bondo (auto parts store), Elmer's(Lowe's), and some I picked up at the boat shop. Couldn't tell the difference between them. Main thing to remember is that the resin is like any other two-part material that hardens by chemical reaction. The more hardener (for glass it's methyl ethyl ketone phosphate) you add, the shorter the work time. Same for temperature, the warmer it is, the faster it cures. If you mix it according to the directions and plan ahead (have your matt cut to size, brushes and squeegees handy before you mix, etc) it's pretty painless. It does reek to high heaven, though. If you do the work in an attached garage with the doors closed (had to, it was cold here) be prepared for the house to smell like polyester resin :) Also, scuff up layers that have cured before applying another layer over them. Most glass contains wax that rises to the top to allow it to cure. If you don't scuff that off, your next layer won't bond as well. Same thing with working it after it starts to gel, overbrushing or squeegeeing it after its started to gel (you'll know, it turns from the consistency of maple syrup to grape jelly) can cause it not to harden

    Only other thing is that it is a pretty wicked solvent. Ventilation or a respirator are strongly reccommended. Same when sanding it off, the matt and fabric are both made of extruded glass and the cured resin is plastic. Inhaling the dust is probably a bad thing. It's messy, it stinks, and whatever you get it on will have a permanent spot of polyester on it, but if you read the directions, it's a piece of cake. Oh, yeah, some will give you directions to mix by the ounce only. A safe mix for me across all brands was 11 or 12 CCs per quart of resin. You can count drops for the smaller batches, but if you buy the little measuring cups that have cubic centimeters on them, it's a lot easier. 11 or 12 ccs of hardener to a quart will cure in a few hours, more hardener, faster cure. Sorry to type a novel, but I was scrounging for info before I started my project. If I could figure it out, you'll do great :) . Good luck!

    Branden
     
  4. Cataholic

    Cataholic Guest

    You need to ask the resident expert Lil' Mac, He does fine work for a re"tired" mail carrier. LOL Jim
     
  5. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    Just a word of warning. Fiberglass and its vinylester resins are easy to be lured into using because of their price, but, they are not even close to being waterproof and adhesion to wood is poor.
    It all depends on how long you want the effort of your labors to be here as to what materials you choose to use.

    I am a firm believer in the "pay me now or pay me later" theory.
     
  6. blackwaterkatz

    blackwaterkatz Active Member

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    3,659
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    Warcraft, my brother did quite a bit of work inside a used boat he bought. When he balanced out the cost of materials, he decided to use 'starboard'. Lasts forever, looks good, and is easy to work with. I think he got it at a discounted price, though, through a friend who does boat repairs. I've never used any, but do a search and you can find out more, if you're interested.
     
  7. Deltalover

    Deltalover New Member

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    1,227
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    You might also check ebay and craigslist. I have seen prefab consoles as low as 50 bucks, though 150 is more common! Good luck!
     
  8. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    If you shop you can buy cheaper then build. Mainly because most people dont have access to the required materials, like Marine ply, starboard, epoxy and biaxial glass.
     
  9. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

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    Im no resident expert, everything I learned come from Mark J. and trial an error. But I agree with him 100% Dont use regular ole fiberglass resin. Use Epoxy resin. couple coats of that and no more worries. I used 1/4" cdx ply and a frame work glued and screwed epoxied and painted, looks good in my opinion. I built a camper for my truck the same way and its still good to go after a year sittin outside. I will find some pictures and post them for you.
     
  10. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

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    I also agree that its cheaper to buy one off of ebay or some boat yard, It takes alot of time to do one right.
     
  11. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    Mack, those are some clean lines on that console. Pleasing to the eye.
     
  12. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

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    wow mack!!!i agree that does look nice. man i didnt think i would such a responce. i am happy somany people wanted to help. there is somany choices of things to do, i wish i could just go out and buy one but for my boat and its size.and for the high i need. i think i will just go and make one or at least try...so basicly what mac did was just make a frame cut the plywood to fit and epoxied it?sounds like something i think icould do
     
  13. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

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    mac...... what kind of epoxie resign did you use?i tried to look it up but there is so many
     
  14. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    I would recomend a 2-1 mix ratio epoxy over a 5-1.
    That 5-1 has too much room for error to my liking.
    The thing to remember about epoxy. If you mix it wrong and it fails to harden, you just cant fix it with more hardner.
    You scrape it off and do it over.
     
  15. ears

    ears New Member

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    *Required*
    West systems epoxy has a good book on working with epoxy for three dollars I think it is free online. There epoxy is too expensive though system three or raka is cheaper. Fgci.com has good prices on everything.

    I built mine out of 3/8" acx. Marine plywood is overkill for a console IMO. You dont need to build a frame just cut the plywood for your sides, top, etc. Then use 1" by 1" blocks of wood screw them to one side panel flush to the edge line up your next panel and screw to the first and so on. Build it dry first then sand it and round over your edges with a router. Label all your pieces and take it apart.

    Coat the inside with epoxy and 6 oz. cloth. When this is cured you can put it all together. Spread epoxy and cabosil mix on the edges where the pieces join and screw the whole mess back together. I wrapped the little blocks of wood in saran wrap and took them out when the epoxy cured, it looks cleaner inside. If you leave them make sure they are coated well with epoxy.
    If you take them out you need to run a fillet of epoxy/cabosil in the joints and then while they are still wet layin a strip of tape for strength. All thats left now is to glass the outside. One piece of cloth will lay over three sides if your edges are rounded and save you a lot of work later when fairing it out.

    The rest of the job all depends on how you want it to look. A coat of epoxy over everything will help to fill the weave on the cloth then you need to mix up some fairing compound spread it like bondo wait till it drys and sand. You will be doing a LOT of sanding. With good paint and a lot of fairing/sanding it can shine like a new boat.

    Just remember any holes you cut or drill need to be coated in epoxy. On the face of mine where the steering wheel mounts I doubled the plywood for strength.

    It is a lot of work for something that seems so simple but you get exactly the size you want. Good luck with it.
     
  16. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

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    Very well written "Ears" , I bought my stuff from us composites, I Got the 4-1 because it was winter, even then it takes awhile to set up. As for the framework I actually cut out the sides the way I wanted Then put the framework to it. A little over kill Im sure but a river or lake will beat the heck out of it. For the steering block, I used a 1x12 I think it was. Nothin to it, just time consuming. A box is a box, its just how ya make it look that counts LOL. Mac
     
  17. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    9,407
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    Center consoles take alot of abuse. They are leaned on, pulled and pushed on.
    But you can build sturdy without it weighing a ton. The 3/8 or 1/2 inch ply is a good choice with glass of course.
     
  18. warcraft1975

    warcraft1975 New Member

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    1,190
    how much epoxy do i need to get?
     
  19. Mark J

    Mark J New Member

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    A gallon. Only mix small batches like 3 or 4 ounces at a time to start with.
    Dont worry about having leftovers. You'll use it on any number of things around the house and boat. gallon is by far the most economical way to buy unless you order 55 gallon drums of it.
     
  20. Little Mac

    Little Mac Active Member

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    1,828
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    NW Arkansa
    There are several boat biulding websites that give you some insights as to what we talk about. Fillet or Filet, is basically like putting a bead of caulk on a window. Only its made of Epoxy resin and a filler. I didnt use the Cabasol as (ears) mentioned. I used a fine sawdust that I sifted from my table saw. Works to thicken the resin. Reminds me of Peanut butter. Just dont eat it LOL :) mac