Fiberglassing the Canopy

This afternoon was filled with fiberglass and short-strand filler!  I decided to pop off the canopy and start work on fiberglassing the steel frame to the outer shell.

I had figured that this would be mainly some fiberglass matt and resin work to just wrap the steel to the outer shell but unfortunately found out that approach wasn’t going to work out so well.

I soon realized that the matt wanted to push up off of the steel no matter how much resin I applied to it.  This resulted in air gaps between the matt and the steel bars.

I’ll have to cut those air gaps away and make sure that the steel is embedded properly.  After this happened it made me look around the rest of the canopy where I started to realize that there were going to be lots of these air gaps because of the sharp contours of the window frames and the raised bars.

So I decided to bust out the short-strand filler to fill in these gaps in order to give more of a flat surface for laying the fiberglass matt.  For those who don’t know what short-strand is, it is basically a bunch of body filler with short strands of fiberglass mixed in.  This gives a much stronger mixture than just a pure body filler.

After all the gaps were filled I used a file to knock down the high spots and also where it gooped onto the face of the window frame.  This will give me a good flat surface for tomorrow to lay down some matt and resin to seal in the frame to the shell.

The only trouble with this extra support is that it makes the canopy heavier.  I can still carry it around no problem and lift it up and set it in place on the top of the car, but I’m trying to make sure I don’t make it too heavy.  I’ll also have to look at possibly beefing up the two rear canopy wheel arms so that they don’t flex under the weight.

During the breaks when the filler was curing I reassembled the speaker box fronts and bolted the canopy sliders back onto the cabin walls.

I’m “hoping” to get the fiberglass work on the canopy finished tomorrow.  Not the final smooth finish, but at least the structural work.

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