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needed: advise on cutting fiberglass and suggestions for boat cover

Question:
Any advise available for cutting fiberglass? Fortunately, appearance is not too critical. I need to enlarge the opening for the anchor cradle. I have a 21' center console with a typical anchor locker in the bow that has a flip up door. Beneath the door is an opening with a bracket on each side of the opening that would cradle a danforth anchor - a very small danforth. I need to move the brackets to a wider stance and enlarge the opening so that I will be able to shut the door with my anchor inside. What should I use to cut with? Do I need to apply anything to the finished cut? Anything else to beware of?

Also, I would like to find a way to cover this boat. It has a t-top, and the boat covers I have seen are just too high. Local canvas shops are $800 - $1200. This may be worth it, but until I can justify the cost, I'll have to find something cheaper. I use the boat year round and I really wanted to be a little more discreet than the typical blue tarp from WalMart. I'm not even supposed to have a boat in my driveway in my subdivision, so I'd better not give the homeowner's board any ammo. This is a fishing boat, but I would still prefer to keep the harsh sunlight off of it as well as improving general cleanliness. Any suggestions?


Answer:
-I got almost four years out of a Road Runner Greystone cover by Canvas Products Company. Bought it at Boat/US for $179. I also use my boat (19' bowrider) year round, and it's parked on a channel of the San Diego Bay. Four years of sunlight and salt air. It just started tearing a couple of months ago. I bought a replacement for it but, since the weather's been crappy, I'm still using the old one - it keeps the boat clean by keeping the damp air and dust off it.

-Cutting fiberglass is no different than cutting wood, in many respects. Lots of hazardous dust, of course. Depending on the specific application, I'd probably just use a saber saw with a hacksaw blade in it. You may have to drill one or two holes to start the blade, and it would be a good idea to cover the entire cutting area with masking tape. That should protect the exposed fiberglass from scratches from the saber saw base. Sometimes, if the area is large, I just cover the base of my sabresaw with tape, then proceed to cut. But, covering the area to be cut is probably better protection

-Another poster spoke of hazmat in the air and using a sabre saw "just like cutting wood"...Let me add to that. If you use a circular saw, use a plywood blade and put it on the saw backwards. By running the teeth backwards you help eliminate the possibility of a tooth catching and chipping or cracking the surrounding area. In the same respect, if you use a sabre saw or similar, I would use a metal blade with lots of teeth per inch and may be even file the curf points of the blade to get a similar effect as running the circular saw blade backwards. Cut slowly and watch for melted material dripping off the work area for it will burn the out of you if it drips on your hand...


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