SV Pilgrim - 1979 Morgan 382 - Homeport: Beaufort, NC

Monday, March 23, 2015

The Long Wait For FRP Is Over

The Long Wait For FRP Is Over

Our ice box rebuild has been stall while we searched for a 48” X 48” X 1/8” piece of Fiberglass Reinforced Panel (FRP).  The 1/8” thick FRP will be used for the inside walls of the new ice box.   Avoiding seams in the floor of the ice box required the material to be at least 48” X 24”. The material is available from McMaster-Carr, but shipping on a piece over 36” required motor freight delivery.  We deemed the shipping cost prohibitive ($60 dollars in shipping for $110 worth of material.) So began our search for an appropriate piece of material in the boat yard or someone placing a large order that we could piggy-back upon.

Finally after nearly a month of searching and inquiries, RW came through with piece he had buried away in a shipping container.
1/8" Fiberglass Reinforced Panel (FRP)
Thanks to RW the ice box rebuild is back on track.

We will be able to reuse the original fore and aft ice box walls.  The largest two pieces remaining are the curved floor and the vertical wall adjacent to the companionway. 

Using the floor sections of the 1” foam insulation as a template made laying out the piece an easy task.
Using the outermost layer of foam as a template for the floor.

The assorted lumber on top is merely dead weight to prevent the foam from taking flight on a windy afternoon.  This method worked well and I replicated the technique for the vertical side wall.
Floor Panel (Top) &  Side Wall Panel (Bottom)
Once the two pieces were marked out on the FRP, I used a jigsaw with a Bosch T341HM1 blade to cut out the sections. 

With the larger sections out of the way, I then focused on prioritizing the order in which the side walls need to be installed in the ice box.  I plan to use a ¾” wide strip of exposed wood just below the level of the counter top as an anchor point for the side walls.  The wood strip runs the entire perimeter of the ice box opening.  

From the FRP, I cut sections that will fit along the outside (port) and forward walls.  The faces of these pieces were abraded with a grinder. The abrasion will provide some tooth to which the epoxy can bond.  The two pieces were then epoxied to the 3/4" strip in the ice box.
Installing the first two pieces of the interior ice box walls.
Unable to find a good method of clamping the outside piece in place, I used a couple temporary #8 wood screws.  Once the epoxy is set these will be removed and the holes filled.  This piece will be visible in the completed ice box. 

The foreword piece was easy to clamp in position.  This 2” piece simply serves as an anchor to which the larger wall section will be attached.

Feels good to be making progress on the ice box once again.   Other images and notes from our ice box rebuild are available in our -  Ice Box Rebuild Photo Album.

Despite our silence over the past month we have not been idle.  We are making good progress on full bottom job for Pilgrim (stripping all bottom paint, repairing blisters, fairing the hull, and barrier coat.)  I’ll post more on that project in the near future.


  1. In Casey's book This Old Boat he suggest using plain old Formica. Two types he noted were vertical (for the wall- thinner) and horizontal (for counter tops- its thicker). I always wondered how that would work. Ken

    1. Ken, Great book. I refer to it often. I do not recall Casey's Formica suggestion. Does epoxy bond well to the finish side of Formica?

      Hope your boat projects are going well.


    2. If I recall, the product is just epoxy and a core, usually paper. So sanding it for grip and you are good with proper paints/adhesives. Casey (1991) page 307 describes his method clearly and with good graphics. Unfortunately, I don't get to play boat projects anymore. I developed early onset heart disease. Just walking to the kitchen can make me short of breath and now memory issues are cropping up.. So I sit by my window, remember (at least try!) the good times, and read about yours. I have really enjoyed the blog. I admire you and your wife so much. I wanted my daughters to do the same, but all they do is WORK WORK WORK. There is more to life, and as I found out, life can be.....shorter than anticipated. Some trash talk Lin and Larry, but they are brilliant. Go now, go small. Just like what you two are doing. Best of luck. Ken (formerly of Westsail 32 Satori #223)