taking off fibergalss?

my friend and i were making surfboards during the summer, but couldn't finnish. Then the San Diego Wild Fires came and the ash soaked into the boards.  Now we are redoing our boards, and we were wondering what the best way to take of fiberglass is.   It is a pain in the butt to take it off by hand! Any comments will help. Thanks   


You don’t say what stage you were at when the ash hit, but if it “soaked in” it would have to be laminated only, since ash would brush off a hot coat.

You’ll not remove glass without completely altering the shape. Having little better to do this weekend, I just stripped an old windsurfer hull, so my experience is pretty current. The resin saturation into the foam and the forces needed to strip glass, will cost at least 1/8" to 3/16" loss from the shape on all surfaces, maybe more on corners/rails, and you’ll have to knock down the stringer too.

My suggestion is to brush/lightly sand/surform off any high spots, and get on with it. Align your brain so that any visible markings from the ash are “artistic”, or plan on very heavily pigmented hot and finish coats to hide the ash.

Obviously, once you start to make a board, the less interruptions the better. Partially shaped blanks are very fragile, and do not suffer to be moved around and bumped into things. Partially glassed boards are susceptible to all manner of dust and filth from just sitting, and your hands have got to be clean or gloved to handle them.

if the boards were laminated, taking it off is easy (I have done it a few times). I used a dremel tool with a cutting disc and cut all around the outline. Grab the end of the laminate and peel it right off. It peels off like a banana peel. Fiberglass can also be cut with a razorblade/boxcutter but its more difficult and youll need lots of blades as they dull really quick. The foam will not be very smooth when youre done but that never deterred me much…you can always fill in the pinholes with lightweight spackle pre-mixed with a little water so that its easier to spread.

If you have a good router with a 1/2" carbide bit, you can set the cut depth for (literally) the thickness of the cloth. This is about 7 thousandths or so. I have a DeWalt router that I saw at a trade show where the guy cut into a sticker that was on the surface of a beautiful table. Only the sticker was removed and the table undamaged. (Your mileage may vary). With the right base shape you can also flycut the rails as well. Best advice: don’t let your work set around very long, especially during natural disasters and such…

I have that router with the microfine adjustment, think rules, Use it for LOKBOX and Bahne Boxes… my ONLY gripe is the base and bit arent centered its offset by an inch

During the fires we couldn’t even go outside, let alone get our boards, and the house that the boards were at got evacuated. You could get arrested if you stayed, witch pissed me off!

I know what you mean, I hotcoated at least a dozen boards that day only to discover minute particles of ash imbedded in all the boards. Our air is semi-filtrated but it still got on the boards. Only later did I realize that those particles were once people’s homes and belongings. With that said the customers picking up their boards didn’t mind it. BTW that was just some sardonnic wit WRT to working during natural disasters; how about the earthquake we just had an hour ago; our boards managed to stay on their racks!!