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Repairs - the Basics

To repair a small surface ding, all you really need to know is where to buy Ding Stick and to apply it on a falling thermometer. For basic considerations, see notes on Field Repairs

To repair a more severe problem, however, you need to understand the properties of your repair materials and their limitations; how a board is put together (see "anatomy"), and that a board is a flexible structure where discontinuities will cause problems.

The goal with any repair must be to restore the structure to its original strength, and to do so without creating "hard spots". Such hard spots would cause stress risers that could quickly lead to new problems immediately adjacent to your repair. Picture two lengths of 2x2 glued together with an overlap. When loaded, the assembly will fail at the end of either or both pieces of lumber, since an abrupt change of stiffness there causes a severe stress riser. Put the same lengths of 2x2 together with a long scarf joint, load it, and watch it fail somewhere totally unrelated to the joint.

Adding lots and lots of fiberglass over a ding "for good measure", or filling a hard-edged hole with an unyielding substance, will cause just such a stress riser at the perimeter of a repair. If this repair is in a structurally significant area of the board, such as the middle third near the rails, or near fixtures, then such a stress riser can lead to failure later - at best, cracking along the edge that will leak; at worst a snap.

Always rebuild with like materials, and keep those joints well staggered!

If you have never worked with fiberglass before, here a quick intro, "Fiberglass 101"

And pay attention to fiber orientation, lest your repair is unable to take a load!

You could probably build a whole board with a razor-blade and some tape, but it surely helps matters along to have a few real tools, such as sanders, grinders, saws, routers, and a few other odds and ends. Click here for my basic assortment.

'nuf said! You familiarized yourself with the materials on the materials page, right? let's get on with it, then!

This Surftech Channel Islands ran into a fin in front of him. The nick leaks slightly, but reads nearly dry with the moisture meter. This is what I did:

Cut away the peeled up outer glass to check the inner structure. Find Divinycell sliced, but the inner glass only just grazed, not cut.
All loose material cut or ground away. The moisture meter now reads dry, i.e. whatever moisture it read during the check-in was contained in the loose bits now removed. Onwards!

Are those approved safety shoes down there??

The gash filled with a paste of Q-Cells in West System 105/205 Epoxy
The fill sanded smooth, all sharp edges removed, then the nose glassed over with (3) layers of 4oz fiberglass cloth in West System 105/205 Epoxy. With a small injury like this, the cloth drapes over the tip of the nose without any tailoring, saving a lot of fairing and sanding later.
Fiberglass ground smooth and feathered out onto the adjacent areas.
Epoxy fairing compound applied and well squeegee'd into the glass weave; then most of it sanded away the next day, leaving a fair, smooth surface.
Epoxy primer applied - this a high-build primer by Z-Spar.
Primer sanded to 220grit, pin stripe taped off, and Linear Polyurethane applied with an air brush.


Most basic dings can be repaired following the above steps, with major variations only required where the Divinycell needs to be replaced, or inserts are involved. For a series of step-by-step procedures, see the Repair Specifics listed in the repair menu. Click here for details on vacuum-bagging, or here for details on inserts. Or see it all come together in a snap repair.

return to Repair Menu