May 27, 2002, 10:43 AM
UPGRADING A KOI POND (PART 3) - Working With Fiberglass
By: Eric Lim
Before I proceed, I would like to update the latest happening on our pond project. Due to the persistent green pea water condition, I added on an 18W Ultra Violet unit (cost: S$230) at the 3rd. Compartment Nova 300 pump T-out point. After 3 days of running, the 17 tons pond water was now clear. So, to prolong the bulb’s life I added on a timer to run at 12hrs. Interval. If run at 24hrs., the bulb’s life span is 11 months. The UV unit is design to cater for 20tons. Spare-parts are available easily.
In this article, I will discuss on where to buy fiberglass materials for small amount of usage and how to apply it.
Layout of Fiberglass materials and equipment required
Sin Kang Lian Hardware Co.
Below is the address and cost of fiberglass materials;
27A, Jurong Port Rd., Blk. 2, #01-51
Tel: 261 3122, Fax: 265 5046
(Note: their right side hardware shop neighbour Huat Hardware Ind. Supply, #01-52, also sell these materials, but slightly more expensive)
Cost for small amount of usage;
Fiberglass mat (5.5ft.x3.5ft) = S$8
Resin (1 gallon) + hardener (small bottle) = S$40
Acetone (1 gallon) = S$10
Cost for large amount of usage;
Fiberglass mat (whole roll- by weigh) = esti. S$120
Resin (1 tin - 7 gallons) + hardener (1 gallon) = S$100
Acetone (1 tin) = esti. $50
(Our project required the large amount of usage = more economical).
Next, we will discuss on how to use the materials.
Acetone - is use for washing brushes, rollers, diluting of the resin for easy working when it started to harden slightly. It is highly flammable & volatile. So keep well cover. Do not punch hole on container top. 1 gal. of resin is only enough for 2 standard mats (ie. 38 sq.ft.). Always wash brush and container holder after use, using acetone and leave the brush to soak in clean acetone in a seal container (to prevent brush from hardening).
Resin – the most expensive item of all. So do estimate correctly to prevent wastage. Once the hardener is added, it will start to harden. Any not in use has to be thrown away. Better to use small amount first and mix some more again, if further required.
Hardener – add to the resin to cause it to solidify and harden. The bottle is never use-up fully.
*Important - If you think you mark equally on the resin container & then on the small hardener bottle the same nos. of markings and use this to mix in equal proportion = WRONG. The mixture will harden in 5 mins. Too much hardener here. Use only half the amount. Always keep stirring constantly to check for premature hardening. Better to have another helper for this job. Add Acetone to dilute but not too much as it will make drying much longer (three days instead of one day).
Mat – is actually glass in fiber form. Work like a piece of cloth, cut using a pair of scissors. Once resin mixture is apply, will fuse in and harden in 1 day.
*Beware of any hardens fiber hair sticking out. Is as sharp as a needle. Use sandpaper to smoothen down.
Fiberglass patch-up at filter box joint and side.
Caution – when you need to bore holes, DO NOT use your hand to swipe off the fiber dust. You will experience hundreds of needles pricking you and rashes will appear. Best to use gloves, long sleeves shirt or using a vacuum cleaner to suck off the dust. If somehow dust did get in, use cloth type of masking tape and use the sticky side to apply on the itchy area. This does helped in pulling out the micro glass splinters. Always use an eye goggles & mouth mask during drilling. Safety first.
Patching up a crack on the side of an 8ft. Tank.
Apply one layer at a time and dry first before applying another layer. Minimum is two layers. For better strength, add more layers as required. Eight layers can take a lot of weight. But more layers means more resin is needed, therefore cost will also increase. Make sure no air bubbles are traps under when applying the resin. I was unable to get hold of colour dye, as the shop did not sell it. For the compartment partition, we used plywood with 2 layers of FG wrap over it. For both ends, we used 4 layers, applying & drying each at a time. This way, it is much stronger.
For the final, we used 2 coats of non-toxic epoxy paint for painting the whole tank internal (4 liters in usage).
For FG work, I'll advise using 2 persons – one working on the FG & another to give a helping hand as needed. In the beginning, I used rubber gloves, but find it very troublesome. Finally, I use my bare hand, which has better feeling & can work faster. Clean-up hands using clean acetone and then soap.
*Caution – make sure no one is smoking near you. Highly flammable.
As to where to buy non-toxic epoxy paint, I got mine at Siong Hua Supplier Pte Ltd, 184-A Chua Chu Kang Rd., Tel: 769 1001 (just opposite Keat Hong army camp), at S$70 for 5 liters which also came with a small tin of hardener. For specified colour, you have to order in advance – takes minimum one week.
Mix the hardener in for only the amount required. Hardening is not as quick as in FG mixing.
FG can also be used for many other application – sealing leaking pipe, roof / sewer drainage / joints, patching back drilled holes in tank, be molded into any shape like pond bottom intake cover, rubbish container repair, protecting facility from any corrosive chemicals, repairing roof leakage, etc.
Repairing of cracks along a drainage using fiberglass
Working with FG is a very itchy & messy job. And it is certainly not cheap. Of course the best is to contract out to a FG maker. Problem is most of them are not too keen on small job. Our project cost us S$300 just in FG materials.
(This post was edited by Khoobg on May 31, 2002, 4:12 AM)