Fiberglass Skin Irritation

I am working on my 3rd board, and have found that fiberglass really messes me up. The first two were poly and this next one is gonna be epoxy. Is it normal for the glass to be abbrasive? I realize its bad for the lungs, etc. But i usually itch for 3 or 4 days, and my scalp and ears scab up, etc. And thats with my breaking bad suit on. Any suggestions?


Hmmm I posted but it didn’t seem to go through. 

What bill said basically.

Don’t sand the fiberglass … Sand the hotcoat 

If you sand the crap out of the glass job it won’t matter what type of resin you use you be itchy like no tomorrow. 

You may be sensative to poly resin as some are, but some are just as sensative or even more so to epoxy resin. 

Only fiberglass will make you itch.

Unless you are allergic to resin.

Only fin-foiler’s should be sanding fiberglass.

Surfboard sanders only sand Hot Coat resin.

If you are getting itchy, you’ve over-sanded.

Good info. Do you guys sand the lap lines from the bottom layer, or do you just laminate the top and layer lap lines. I have switched to epoxy partly due to my desire to not itch, as it does not seem to bother me. Again, i appreciate the assistance.

Seems like a good place to interject this, re something someone recently told me:  is it true that fiberglass dust, if it gets in your eyes, can cause serious damage to the tissues behind the eyes?  Someone recently told me that it would, don’t remember who, so don’t remember what experience the person was or wasn’t speaking from…

I have the same question, as well, about sanding laps.  The best backyarder I know sands laps before hotcoating.  The one pro factory that I’ve observed, as far as I saw, doesn’t.  The pro factory also hotcoats much thicker (not sure how they manage that – did not see – but they do.

I believe it was a sander at Velzy’s 

his belly hung out 

so at the end of the day, he would

have the shop gremmies

duct tape his belly up.

It is said,  you could hear him bellow from Velzys shop to the pier…

“Barr’s stop itch”

to an Ophart it really seems to me that

fiberglass today is a pussy…

I do mean fins!

My old day cure…

Very hot water and a “brillo pad”

I think it hurt so much it no longer itched.

More common sense

As a former ding monkey at a very busy repair shop all I have to say to you is learn to love the itch. If you are around fiberglass long enough you’ll stop noticing it. 

Its standard to grind the bottom lap  glass before hotcoating unless its a resin tint board .

First of all you need to wear protective clothing. Long sleeves long pants, eye wear, face mask and ear protection if needed. I occasionally wear a disposable coverall when I’m sanding boards. Dust mask is a must. Even then you’ll get some fiberglass on you.

I have a soft bristle washing brush and use that when I shower. Start with the brush and soap and scrub the areas where you’ll get fiberglass on you like your hands, forearms, ankles and feet (if you don’t wear shoes). Then shower normally. The brush usually gets all the fiberglass out of my pores. I also always use a Japanese nylon scrubbing towel when I shower so that thing does a geat job of scrubbing my skin.

Would you mind explaining.        I’m unfamiliar with what it is.


Fiberglass dust from grinding forms little shards of glass that stick in the skin.

Covering you body is a damn fine idea. 

But on a hot day it is good to have a little comfort.

Having sweat pouring off your head on you eye protection 

is a bitch and you can’t see what you’ re doing. 

My solution is simple: Sometimes I wear shorts

and a short sleeved shirt. but I always wear an 

apron in order to deflect the majority of the sanding.

I always wear shoes and socks and get them off

as soon as I’m done.

The next order of business is to head for a hose

and flush my skin with cold water. Cold water

keeps the pores closed. Why not? Do I want

the encourage the shards to imbed in my skin?

WhIle I’m flushing with cold water I scrub with

a moderately stiff brush. 

Result:  No Itch! Amazing, NO?

Go to a store that sells Japanese stuff and look for the bath supplies. They should have an assortment of mesh towels just for taking a bath. They look like the stuff guys use on their boards. I’m not sure what they are made of but they come in different levels of stiffness and the course one will exfoliate your skin really good. If you know of those 99 cent stores that sell oriental stuff, you’ll find them there. They are a couple feet long and about a foot wide. You can scrub your back really good with those things.

Known a few surfboard sanders who swear by a baby powder wipe down before sanding.

Baby powder does work some as long as you aren’t sweating too much, the idea is that it fills your pores so the fibers can’t get in. There are lotions made specifically to keep the dust out of the pores (I think it also has talc in it), it works okay…but the best solution is to avoid getting it on you in the first place.

When I have to do a lot of grinding I try to do it outside and I use a high velocity blower fan mounted on a tripod aimed directly at the area that I’m grinding, blowing in the same direction as the prevailing wind to get the dust away from me before it can swirl around and cover me. and if you do get it on you the sooner you rinse it off the better. 

I also sometimes use a tyvek sleeve with a latex glove to protect my grinding hand. 

I began working in the surfboard industry [In-DUST-ry] in 1969 at Shane Surfboards Sydney Awe-Straya… Went on to be the sander guy for Brothers Neilsons on the Gold Coast a few years later and then began making huge money sanding/foiling  fins for Kenny Adler and in those later years I  lived with the itch 24/7 … If you have fibreglass in your working environ you will experience the itch even if you don’t sand it. By merely cutting the shit with a pair scissors it will have it’s merry  way with your body parts.  Way back then I could deal with the itch but since some twenty year ago I’ve been exploring alternatives. For all those here discussing this  subject … GET REAL. Fibre Glass gets under your skin no matter what you do to prevent it.  Now that’s a fact. 


By the way I do have an alternative but I’m loath to reveal it. :wink:



Quanta !       Wow !         Kenny Adler,  I’ve not heard anything about him in years.        I met him in 1965/66 through Mike Doyle, when Kenny was here in SoCal, in those years.       A really nice guy.       Had many talks with him about Australia.     He made me keen to go there, especially the Brisbane area.      Kenny was frequently at the Hansen factory, in those years.      I often wondered what he ended up doing.     As I recall, his family owned a large surf shop, in the Brisbane area.       Good memories, about those times.      

I haven’t seen Kenny for a long time but I think he’s still kicking and still located here on the Gold Coast making surf skis I believe… You’re right … he’s a great guy and he taught me a lot. I worked with him around about '75 … He’d just come back to OZ married Sue and invented a kid. LOL. He started making fins and got me to sand 'em for $1 dollar a pop. Got so adept at it I was pumping out 20 an hour … great dough back then when my beach front rental house  was $35 a week. !!! Such a small world TK eh. I’m sure you could find him easy enough …  so could I for that matter Hmmmm… might just do that.  ;) 


Dave/ Quanta. 

Small world?     You got that right !