Anyone who is involved with home handyman work will be bound to come across the need for plastic or fibreglassmaintenance or repair from time to time. With plastic and PVC products in such common usage, a few basic skills and equipment items should be a must, whether it is for general home maintenance, vehicle repair or recreational equipment upkeep.
When considering things like automotive or boat repair, building, reticulation and plumbing, PVC plastic and fibreglass are two of the most common manufacturing materials encountered. Highly workable and capable of being moulded to a range of shapes and sizes, these materials are also relatively easy for the home handyperson to work with and repair.
Setting up the home workshop
When working with PVC and fibreglass items, a few broad factors should be firstly considered. Any work with these products typically involves the use of chemical solvents and adhesives that can be potentially harmful to health if inhaled. Similarly, the fine glass fibres produced in the course of repair work can be equally harmful.
Ensure the intended working area is kept clean and well ventilated. Make sure that children and pets do not come into contact with repair materials during work or whilst materials are stored.
A typical inventory list of common tooling and consumable items is provided below.
A local equipment hire company can be relied upon for one-off hire of more task specific equipment, but this can prove costly, especially when arranging frequent hires. When hiring work equipment, consider also the cost of physical pick up and return of hire equipment before and after a job. Where a lot of routine repair work is being carried out, a more cost-effective plan may be simply investing in more complex plant and equipment like one of the welding machines available on the commercial market.
Common tooling items
When equipping the home workshop for plastics and fibreglass work, perhaps one of the great benefits is the relatively low cost of necessary tooling and equipment.
A typical equipment list should include:
- A range of graded sandpaper and/or glass paper.
- Acetone solvent.
- Plastics glue including cyanoacrylate glue, superglue and/or plastic modelling cement.
- Fibreglass repair kit including patches, resin and fibreglass cloth.
- Set of plastic mixing containers.
- A range of hacksaws.
- Paintbrushes (different sizes) and a small paint roller.
- Heat gun.
- Fine weave tack cloths.
This kind of work invariably involves fine plastic or glass fibre residue which can be easily attached to clothing and also readily inhaled. Ensure the workshop is equipped with cleaning items including a dedicated vacuum cleaner (avoid using the home vacuum), dust pan and brush etc.
Safety equipment & PPE
Working with heat guns and toxic solvents is the order of the day, so give thought to adequate supplies of safety equipment, including:
- Disposable dust masks and breathers.
- Safety glasses with side shields.
- First aid kit which includes sterile eye wash.
It is generally recommended that loose-fitting, long-sleevedclothing is worn. Nitrile or rubber type gloves should be worn when working with fibreglass – avoid cotton gloves.
Setting up for PVC and fibreglass work is relatively easy and cost-effective. Prior planning is the key here, and a home work area can be set up with the minimum of fuss to accommodate this work.