the cavity with epoxy (Figure 4), allowing it a minute or two to saturate the exposed core. Drain or suck out excess epoxy (Figure 5),
thicken it slightly with colloidal silica or microfibers to strengthen it,
and inject it back into the hole until it overflows onto the masking
tape (Figure 6). Churn the epoxy with your paper clip to vent trapped
air (Figure 7). Give it time to fully cure, then re-drill the mounting
holes through the epoxy grommet you’ve created (Figure 8).
“CHAMFER” THE HOLES
To give your bedding effort a better chance of long-term success,
chamfer (bevel) the mounting holes with a countersink bit (Figure
9). This prevents squeezing out all of the sealant by over-tightening
the fastener while compressing the sealant, creating a sort of O-ring.
In addition, the thicker the sealant, the more it can stretch without
rupturing, so the heavy band of sealant where the fastener passes
through the deck will absorb more movement before failing.
Chamfering also separates fragile gelcoat from the fastener, trans-
ferring all of the strain to the stronger laminate. To avoid chipping the
gelcoat while countersinking, run the bit in reverse. Where you have
sealed the core with epoxy, take care not to make the countersink so
deep it compromises the bond between the epoxy and the top skin.
THE MAIN EVENT
Finally it’s time to apply the sealant … or almost time. Never apply
sealant without first doing a dry fit of the hardware being installed
and all of the fasteners, not just one or two. Mounting holes often
end up a bit off in location or angle; you don’t want to discover this
after applying half a tube of aggressive goo. Make sure the hardware
sits square and flat. Make sure all of the fasteners go in straight and
seat fully. Check the fit of the backing plate. Start the nuts to make
sure the threads are undamaged.
Once you’re satisfied that everything will go together without a
hitch, wipe mating surfaces and fasteners one last time with acetone
on a clean rag to remove body oils and other contamination that
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