I posted earlier about some work that I was doing to reinforce the dash piece so that it was a bit more rigid. Today I managed to finish up that little project while I was working on some other things in the garage.
The image at the top of this post shows the finished project after a couple small layers of body filler. I don’t need the lip to be super smooth since the whole thing will eventually be covered in black vinyl.
Where I left off was having the dash panel prepped for some fiberglass by taping on the outer cardboard forms covered with some aluminum foil to act as a release agent. Getting started today I cut some small strips of fiberglass matt that will make the lip.
I also got my mask, splash guard and disposable rubber gloves ready. Polyester resin gets chemically hot and the fumes are not very good to breath in. Safety first 🙂
I’ve found that using some old cardboard to set things on and then using a paint brush to lay down some resin has served me well in other projects, so I did the same here. Simply cut out a bunch of pieces, prep your resin and hardener and start soaking the pieces while they lay on the cardboard.
You can then pick them up, lay them in place, and use the paint brush to push them down and get out all the air bubbles. You can also add some more resin to the paint brush to further soak the piece once you have it in place to make it even more pliable.
I ended up using two layers to make it nice and strong. Make sure you let the first layer cure before adding the second one. Polyester resin and hardener cure very quickly. This is a good trait, but you have to move fast. After the second layer is cured you can take off your cardboard and aluminum foil. Voila… you now have your finished piece.
A word to the wise… wear gloves at this point! When the strands of matt harden they are as sharp as needles. Some good mechanics gloves work great for me.
Now I needed to make a straight line to ensure my lip was a consistent width. I used a strip of painter’s tape run along the front edge to use as a guide. After that you just bust out the cutting wheel and trim off the excess.
Once I had it trimmed, I put down a little bit of body filler to fill in any of the gaps and to allow me to make it fairly smooth. Now I’ll be able to make sure that this piece will hold its shape and it will also give me a lip to use to fasten the dash in place.
The final product can be seen as the first picture in this post.