Glass Tiger Surfboards

Advice on how to repair one of our boards

You have a ding? Don't panic, the first thing to do is get you and your board out the water. Repairing one of our boards is not that different from repairing a regular board, this section will help you get things right and get back in the water as soon as possible!

Glass Tiger also provides a full ding repair service on any board.

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Tools you will definitely need…

  • Resin (epoxy or polyester).
  • Surfboard cloth (4oz is generally easier to work with than the slightly heavier 6oz).
  • Stirring sticks.
  • Small pots for stirring the mixture in.
  • Scissors.
  • Various grades of sand paper.
  • Paint brushes.
  • Dust mask.
  • Protective gloves, such as washing up gloves or single use disposable latex gloves.

Tools that you may need or just might make the job easier…

  • Resin pigment or fine wood dust to colour the resin.
  • A resin thickening agent such as colloidal silica.
  • A hair dryer or fan heater.
  • Masking tape.
  • Acetone - this is a cleaning solvent for your tools NOT YOUR HANDS.
  • Angle grinder, power file, or dremmel type tool.

Glossary

There aren't that many words that are new here but there may be a few you are unfamiliar with…

  • Cure time - The time it takes for the resin to go hard.
  • Key up - Sanding the surface of the laminate you are going to bed your new laminate on to. This provides something for the new laminate to grip to. Without this the new laminate would just fall off.
  • Glass - This is fibreglass cloth and typically comes in 4oz of 6oz.
  • Resin - You can use Epoxy or polyester, both are very different resins and should not be mixed, epoxy is generally regarded as a tougher resin, and will stick better to wood, it also won't melt EPS.

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Resin types

If using polyester resin you will need to add the catalyst to the resin to make it cure (go hard), typically you want to add between 1 and 2 and a half volume, so you will need a device such as a syringe to accurately measure this. Stirring the mixture well is also very important. Hardening time will vary if done out of direct sunlight in a cool environment you will have longer to work with the material, but allow yourself only about 10 minuets to get the resin on to the board. With small dings this is generally very easy but the trick is good preparation.

The rule of thumb is the more catalyst you put with your resin the quicker it will go hard, don't go crazy though, if you put more than 5-10% in you have the very real possibility of the mix getting so hot it will burst into flames!!

One very important thing to consider if doing your repair with polyester resin is that it will melt the EPS core if it is exposed to it so only use it on small dings when the core isn't exposed.

If using epoxy resin you will need to decide how long your job will take as there is a slow and a fast resin, for most repairs I will suggest a fast resin is better as you won't have to wait that long between the various processes. Epoxy is a totally different resin to polyester and there is no catalyst as such but rather a part A and a part B. Each needs to measured out very accurately in a ratio the manufacturer states, as brands vary between a 1:1 ratio to a 1:6 ratio. You will also need to stir the mixture very well.

Curing time varies a lot with epoxy so just follow the manufactures guide lines.

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Repair preperation

The first thing to do is to dry the ding out if the ding happened in the water. To dry the ding out you must open it up to allow the air to get to it, to do this - sand the dinged area so some of the wet area is exposed and any rough glass is removed until you have a neat and fairly smoothed out area to do your repair on.

Depending on the size of the ding you can use a power tool like an angle grinder with a sanding disk for large dings or a more delicate power file or a dremmel type tool, or just do it by hand with some coarse sand paper. You want to try to feather the edges of the ding so that the new glass your going to be putting on has a large area to stick too.

Then get some nice warm dry air to it. If it needs to be done quickly use a hair dryer to heat the area or a fan heater, but be careful, DON'T get the board too hot.

Simply time in a warm dry place is a great way to dry your board out.

How to repair smaller dings

The object of fixing a ding is to make the dinged area level, smooth and waterproof. You can colour the resin your using to blend into the colour of the wood to camouflage the repair.

  • Follow the repair preparation guide above.
  • Level the board out so the dented are is level.
  • Mix the resin with thickener and colour if needed, apply this to the hollowed out area and allow to cure.
  • Sand flush with the board once the resin has cured.
  • Sand the area further with increasing grits of sand paper, if you started with 120 grit, move on to 240 then 320 then a really fine paper like 600. 240 grit upwards is normally wet and dry sand paper, this means you generally use it wet allowing the water to act as a lubricant.

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How to repair larger dings

  • Follow the repair preparation guide above.
  • Level the board out so the dented are is level.
  • Cut some small patches of 4oz or 6oz surfboard glass, cut a small patch fist and then cut 3 or 4 more patches increasing in size each time.
  • Make sure the board is level.
  • Paint on some mixed resin onto the area and lay the patches on one by one starting with the smallest first making sure each layer is fully wetted out with resin before you put the next patch on, leave to cure.
  • Once the resin has cured, sand the area so it is relatively level, it is unlikely you will get it perfectly level at this stage, be careful not to sand the area around the ding too much as the ply is made of very thin veneers and you can easily sand through to a darker glue layer.
  • Mix up some more resin, you may want to add a thickening agent to the resin for this stage such as colloidal silica (this may be helpful but not essential). Paint the resin onto the area filling any dips or bumps. A little trick I sometimes use if the resin dips off rather staying put, is to use some masking tape to create a little wall so the resin can't drip off a curved surface, or to put a piece of masking tape directly onto the wet resin just to smooth the resin out, this is great for small dings about the size of your thumbnail and reduces sanding time. Leave to cure.
  • Once cured sand until smooth, if there are still some uneven areas just repeat the last step.
  • Sand the area further with increasing grits of sand paper, if you started with 120 grit, move on to 240 then 320 then a really fine paper like 600. 240 grit upwards is normally wet and dry sand paper, this means you generally use it wet allowing the water to act as a lubricant.

Really big dings

If you're really unlucky and find you have a really big ding, your best bet is to send it back to us and we can chop out the affected area and insert a new wooden section.

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