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. Regardless of the type of boat or construction, one product I’ve come to love is G-10. What is G-10, you ask?  It’s also known as Garolite, and 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 G-10 can withstand 40,00 PSI, so this use of G-10 as washers for keelboats in a wet bilge is perfect.

An 1/8 inch piece of G-10 can withstand 40,00 PSI, so this use of G-10 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 handrails, 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, of course, is a good electrical insulator.

G-10 comes in different shapes, so this half-round on the leading edge of a keel provides perfect shape and lift

G-10 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 G-10, 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.  G-10 is truly a wonderful material for repairing boats.

(Editor’s note: This post originally appeared in December, 2010.)

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

  2. David says:

    Great article on application of G10 for boat repair. I need to make a structural mast step repair on my ct41.
    One of 3 mast step port to starboard fibreglass encased wood load distributing beams has rotted out due to water infiltration. These beams support the wood mast step plate. Would replacing the rotten wood that is walled with fibreglass with G10 in a vertical or horizontal laminated epoxy beam do the job. It seems that G10 has strong structural qualities, great load support, water proof, oblivious to rott and easily set in epoxy. I envision building up the beam in layers of G10 to conform exactly to the hull shape. I understand you need to be careful to not do too many layers at once so there are no problems with overheating during curing. The mast sits on teak and holly ply wood over the wood mast step plate, not a great original building design. . I want to remove the plywood and replace it with flat sheet G10 under the mast. It seems like G10 has excellent compression qualities and would support the load?

    Please if you have some advice it would be much appreciated.

    David.

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