Working with Fiberglass Cloth

How to Cut Straight Ends

On a boat building or repair project, cutting fiberglass cloth properly can benefit both the boat and the owner's budget. Proper cutting keeps the cloth fibers straight for laying up, preventing humps in the fibers that can lead to weak spots in the hull. For jobs requiring narrow strips of fiberglass, cutting tape strips cleanly, from a single large fiberglass roll, can save the expense of buying smaller rolls of fiberglass tape.

Following a few simple steps can ensure a straight cut on fiberglass cloth:

First, find sharp scissors or a fabric wheel cutter, a flat table and a well-lit workroom. Lay the fiberglass flat on a table and locate a single fiberglass strand that runs all the way across the fabric.

To create a clearly defined cutting path, pull on the strand from one edge while holding down the opposite edge of the fabric. If you need a better hold on the strand to pull it free, cut a 2" or 3" slit into the edge of the fabric so that more of the strand is exposed. Some fabric strands are more difficult to remove than others.

This method works on most plain weave fabrics with a true 0°/90° fiber orientation. The fiberglass strand often makes a zipping sound as it is pulled free from the woven fabric. Now you have a visual path to follow with the scissors or fabric wheel cutter.

Cutting the fiberglass cloth cleanly will result in better lay up and a stronger hull that provides extra years of enjoyment.

From Gougeon Brothers Inc.
P.O. Box 908, Bay City, MI 48707.
By Tom Pawlak
Phone: 517-684-7286, Fax: 517-684-1374. 

Note: Tom Pawlak is a technical advisor at Gougeon Brothers Inc., which manufactures the WEST SYSTEM, line of epoxy products. He has worked with epoxy projects for 15 years.

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