Monday, July 25, 2011

Fiberglass Fender Repair

My original fender was in need of some work. When I bought it I thought I can repair this easy. I had repaired surf board in college working with Sanding Resin glass and cloth. My work was good and clean, but after speaking to my parent's neighbor Jack, who was a professional with glass and epoxy, and learned what was needed to properly repair this fender I knew it was beyond what I preferred to tackle.
Luckily, Jack offered to take it on. He uses the West System Epoxy. He is a glider instructor and built his own glider. Aircraft folks use this system and he referred to it as aircraft epoxy.

He told me it something like 100 times stronger than fiberglass. Hell the Lammy fender is referred to as "chopper" work in the fiberglass community. It is cheap and fast to produce many many fenders. Jack had to cut back and rebuild the area around the crack by hand. It looks great!

The fender overall was in fair shape.

There were noticeable chips and even stress cracks.

There were chips and the mounting holes had cracked and became too large for the hardware.

I will dry fit the bike after body work and before paint and then line these holes up and re-drill them.

The nose was misshaped a hair and Jack rebuild that as well.

Jack said he had to "feather" (this he said is the lay-man's term. I forgot the glass worker term for it) to build layers for maximum strength.

He reinforced all areas that would be stressed by a vibrating Lambretta.

It feels so good to know the job was done right.

Jack found stress cracks and explained that they would only get worse, so he cut back the source and rebuilt it and reinforced it. It will no longer stress crack.

I am amazed at his precision and accuracy. He told me the entire fender took him two hours.

Looking at it before one last time shows it was decent, but now the fender is something I will not have to worry about thanks to Jack.

Jack is "retired" he says and "not for hire". He is eighty years old. He said he'd do my fender at costs, which was $12.00 (yes, twelve dollars).

Above is a soap box derby car Jack build from scratch with epoxy. Even the steering column and frame he welded. The only thing he bought was the tires.

These old school fabricators are hard to come by now and I hope to get some garage time with Jack and learn at least a little.

For $12.00, a nice bottle of wine, and a framed picture of his soap box derby car winning a race I have an original fiberglass front fender ready to go to the body shop, who will sand it down and fill it up (little to none will be required) where necessary, prime and paint.

In early 2012 I will work with Jack and my dad to learn how to work with the epoxy and repair my dad's Sun Fish sail boat. After that experience I should be confident working with the epoxy and have the ability to make repairs to fenders and such -- of course not as good as Jack did.


bnd419 said...

Keep up the blog, this is great stuff! How fortunate you are to know Jack, too. People like that are getting hard to come by, but your scooter is lucky enough to have had his hand in fixing it.

Scooter Couple said...

Thx. If you like this stuff visit the sister blog for the restoration of my wife's 1967 Vespa SS180 at Lots of good tips well researched. 4-5 years ago I searched so hard for a blog that showed you how to restore a scoot and I found none, frustrated I just created one because I wanted it to exists. Now there seems to be a half dozen out there (I mean real detail).