Building a Fairing Board

by Capt Patrick McCrary

Fairing Boards are a necessity to get a truly fair surface, and the more surface area that they cover, the finer the fairing will be. A good board will be somewhat flexible in order to conform to the shape of the surface being faired, but still have enough rigidity not to fall into low spots.

While there are several sources of commercially manufactured fairing boards, building your own boards can be both economical and satisfying. In the drawing shown above, the materials used are 1/8 doorskin ply, a hard laminate, such as FormicaTM and standard wooden cabinet knobs. Epoxy the machine screws in place prior to laminating.

Make your board tailored to the job at hand. Hulls, for example, might be faired nicely with a board as small as 36" X 4". On boards of this size and larger, the addition of a center knob can be of value in changing your pressure point where needed.

The sanding strip should have an elongated hole on both ends to allow the strip to "walk" as necessary, depending on the flex of the board while in use. A small shim washer between the top and bottom halves will allow you to tighten the two end knobs securely without overly clamping the sanding strip.

Sand paper can be purchased in varying strip lengths, widths, and either plain or with self adhesive backing. For higher production shops this might be a viable way to purchase, (a 100' roll of self adhesive 220 grit production paper can be rather costly!). For the smaller shop and project, making your own strips might be a better choice.

Using regular craft paper and standard sized sand paper, a small batch of strips can be quickly made. With spray adhesive, coat the back side of several sheets of sand paper, and one side of the craft paper. Allow the adhesive to cure for a few minutes, and then set the first sanding sheet on the craft paper. Butt joint the remaining sanding sheets and cut your strips from this stock. (Tip -- Trim back the edges that will be butted together to get rid of any adhesive over spray that might have occurred.)

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