People who enjoy fixing old boats all have their favorite products. Some like working with wood, some on fiberglass boats, others with epoxy etc…but regardless of the type of boat or construction, one product I’ve come to love is G10. What is G10 you ask? G10, or Garolite, is the same stuff used on your computer’s motherboard, that pressure- and heat-formed sheet to which all the electronics are attached.
What is so great about it? and What is it good for? are easy questions to answer when it comes to boating applications: It is impervious to water; it is super strong yet lightweight; it won’t rot; it can be cut and shaped with wood tools; and it is fabulous for high-stress applications like backing plates for hand rails, jib tracks, turning blocks, or stanchions. When used in thin 1/8-inch sheets, it has some flexibility to conform to minor contours, like cabin tops.
It is not very expensive–a 12 x 12 1/8-inch sheet costs less than $14.00. It is flame resistant, stronger than aluminum plate of the same thickness, and, as is the case with electronics, it’s a good electrical insulator.
In thicker ½-inch sheets, I’ve used it to customize mast partners. In solid tube form I’ve even used it to do a “nose job” on the front edge of a keel—to get the perfect round edge. The fact that it comes in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors lends itself to your imagination on how and where it can be used. You can order it online from industrial suppliers like McMaster-Carr.
The only drawback I can think of is that G10, like other epoxy based products, is susceptible to breaking down when exposed to UV sunlight—so if you do use it topside, a simple coat of paint will protect it; otherwise you don’t need to paint it and it is maintenance free. G10 is truly a wonderful material for repairing boats.