G-10: The Secret Weapon of DIY Boat Repairers

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.

An 1/8 inch piece of G10 can withstand 40,00 PSI, so this use of G10 as washers for keelboats in a wet bilge is perfect

An 1/8 inch piece of G10 can withstand 40,00 PSI, so this use of G10 as washers for keelboats in a wet bilge is perfect

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.

G10 comes in different shapes, so this half-round on the leading edge of a keel provides perfect shape and lift

G10 comes in different shapes, so this half-round on the leading edge of a keel provides perfect shape and lift.

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.

Comments

  1. huub weijers says:

    G10 round rods are not hard to find, but I have not found a source for the G10 half-round you mention. Not surprisingly, I am working on restoring the leading edge of a retractable centerboard that is beyond patching up. Any known vendors?

    Huub

    • Peter d'Anjou says:

      Hello Huub,

      Regarding your question about G10 half round stock you should inquire at McMaster-Carr (www.mcmaster.com). These guys stock the rod in both solid and hollow form in various lengths. Worst case scenario, you can cut a hollow tube in half on a table saw, if they cannot provide it already cut for you.

      Kind regards and good luck with your project,
      Peter d’Anjou
      BoatTrader.com

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