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Author Topic:   Making Molds
george nagy posted 01-24-2002 01:56 PM ET (US)   Profile for george nagy   Send Email to george nagy  
My new project for this year is to learn and to build a fiberglass mold(s). I'm going to begin my quest for knowledge here by asking for additional sources of information. There are many among us whom are very familiar with this business of building boats/ fiberglass molds so this might be a very educating process for many. Thank You in advance.
Bigshot posted 01-24-2002 02:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Wait until you price out a chopper gun....ouch!

Try local boat builders, some give away old molds. My buddy has like 5(all free).

hauptjm posted 01-24-2002 02:38 PM ET (US)     Profile for hauptjm    

While in high school, a friend and I made a small hunting boat locally known as a pirogue (pronounced pee-rowg). It could be called a cajun canoe. We laid them up by hand using foam-filled encapsilated seat, fore and aft. They were great boats, we sold our share and best of all, did it with free molds. And I wouldn't do it again for all of the tea in China. It was miserable work.

DaveS posted 01-24-2002 02:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for DaveS  Send Email to DaveS     
You just brought back memories of my college days! It's a long place I'd look would be your local library. When I attempted it myself about 20 years ago, I remember them having some books on fiberglass boat building. You might even look at the kit type manufacturer's, they usually have a decent library on boat building.

Hope this helps...


george nagy posted 01-24-2002 02:44 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Such quick responses, I'm planning to build components for boats like storage boxes, consoles,casting decks, etc......
I'm going to search the books only thing is there really aren't great libraries near my location.
LarrySherman posted 01-24-2002 03:11 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman gives this book. It is out of print, but it looks like they have a copy.

Building Small Boats, Surf Craft and Canoes in Fibreglass : Materials, Equipment, Plugs, and Moulds, Trouble Shooting, Repairs
by John Flett, Jeff Toghill

I bought a book on fibreglass and expoxy for custom auto construction, it was actually very good. $19.00 at Borders. check the auto-repair section.


JFM posted 01-24-2002 05:16 PM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
George, if you change your mind and want to make "Dune Buggies" let me know. My father-in-law made the first ones in Cinti. with old VW Bugs and still has the molds. Regards, Jay P.S. Whatch out for the itches!
SteveC posted 01-24-2002 05:25 PM ET (US)     Profile for SteveC    
West System has published inexpensive books on building things from composites. I bought one which describes vacuum bagging techniques, including making the molds. One thing they describe is making flat objects with a mold which is formed from just a flat surface, such as a piece of counter top material. I think something like a box could be formed by molding the flat surfaces, cutting them to the proper dimensions, then fiberglassing the pieces together. The guy from "ship shape tv" made a nice live well by molding a flat sheet, waiting until the sheet was partially cured, then bending the sheet around into a cylinder. It seems like the objects described could be built using simular methods. I think the next question in building things like decks would be selection of appropriate core materials. There are several types of foams available in sheet form with densities suitable for different applications. Here's a link:

which has lot's of information on these issues.

One last thing, I would invest in a tyvec suit, and a box of rubber gloves. Also, i would find out what type of respirator would work well for the fumes from the resin, and for the inevitable dust from sanding and cutting. I do not think a paper mask would do it, but a canister type filter suitable for dust and VOC's would be OK. Hobbies are fun, but some caution is required.

DCPeters posted 01-24-2002 05:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for DCPeters  Send Email to DCPeters     
My brother-in-law's business ( is a custom composite parts business. They mostly make things for the Formula and other class autoracing.

A couple of years, he made the bobsled for our Olympic teams. It is timeconsuming work, but I am very impressed with the quality designs and finishes he achieves on often one-off components. Mostly vacuum bagging for great finishes.

It's pretty dirty work, and I understand tough to control the process with set times variable depending on lot, etc.

For personal safety, they use forced air respirators, using outside avoid needing to replace absorbant canisters constantly. I'd guess it's important also to have overalls to avoid having glass fragments in your shorts.

There was an interesting article in, I think, Wooden Boat late November last year on hypersensitivity experienced in many boat builders from the styrene or epoxy. They cautioned it was important to not expose your skin repeatedly, as the sensitivity shows up over time.

yankee posted 01-25-2002 09:03 AM ET (US)     Profile for yankee  Send Email to yankee     
If you do a search for "boat plans and kits" you will come across a lot of information that could be useful. You say you want a mold for fiberglass which would be useful if you wanted to build 20-5000 copies of a part. If you are only looking at building a few parts you may want to look at strip building, stitch & glue or cold molding. I built a strip built kayak that looks better that most living room furniture. Using stitch and glue I built an electronics box addition to nest on my center console that fits like a glove and works great. Here are a few sites that I like
JFM posted 01-25-2002 10:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for JFM  Send Email to JFM     
George, I must be on a mailing list for West Systems. I just received a copy of "Epoxyworks" in the mail today. It has a sailboat kit and other interesting articles.. You can get a copy for free at I also recommend their library of books on repair, restoration and building. Regards, Jay P.S. I just looked at the date, fall 2001, and I just got it today!

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