Shaping The Canopy

One of the trickiest things of working with fiberglass is that it tends to have a mind of its own.  When it has a shape that it wants to take there is no way of bending and forcing it to your will.  It will eventually spring back to where it wants to be.

So in order to actually bend it to your will, you sometimes need to do a bit of surgery.  Surgery was what needed to be done on the canopy.  You may remember that I previously created a steel frame inside the canopy to hold everything where I wanted it.   That holds everything in-place, but I’ve always struggled with getting the edges of the canopy to fit nicely along the body opening.  They always spring back up and leave gaps.

I needed to make some relief cuts to allow the sides of the canopy to sit properly.  I decided to make both a cut along the bottom and one up close to the steel bar that went around the bottom of the canopy.

I also used some clamps to hold the free floating pieces from dropping into the cabin of the car and ground away a bit of the excess material.  I also used a couple of screws to hold the bottom pieces so that they didn’t move around while I was laying down the fiberglass.

Everything was covered in aluminium foil to ensure that I didn’t seal the canopy to the body shell.  You can also see that there’s a bit of shaping that needed to be done on the rear corners of the canopy to fill that ugly gap.

Once everything was covered and ready to go it was time to lay down a couple of layers of fibeglass matt and resin.  I had to do this in a couple of rounds.  Once the first round had cured I could remove the clamps and then cover those remaining areas.

You might also notice from the pictures that there’s a board on the top rear of the canopy.  This was screwed to the body, and to the canopy, to ensure that the top of the canopy lined up with the body.

I let all the fiberglass cure overnight, so today will be more work trimming and blending the new fiberglass into the canopy.

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