With the female mold waxed and polished, the first step in making the part is to coat the mold surface with thickened and pigmented epoxy. To do this, I thicken the catalysed epoxy with West #404 and add a small amount of micro spheres to make it resist sagging. This is allowed to gel before painting into the mold with a disposable brush. With a little practice, one can put on a thick coat that covers the mold surface and does not run. The technical term for this propensity not to run is thixotrophy, meaning liquid when stirred or shaken, but semi-solid when allowed to rest. The addition of a small amount of micro spheres makes the resin thixotrophic.
While the coated mold is allowed to partially cure, glass materials are cut and prepared. Fine weave materials are layered in first and increasing in fabric density. In order to make all parts the same, a lay up schedule of glass fibre material is necessary. For such a small part, all the fibreglass is cut and stacked for all six parts being made. This next picture shows the various materials used to make the part. The heavy fabric will not conform well to the tight corners, so must be cut with some precision and carefully placed into the mold in such a way as to allow the fabric to cling to the mold surfaces.
When the lay up is complete and the materials saturated with epoxy, it is set aside to cure, a process that may take two days to become hard enough to remove from the mold without damaging the part during removal. The last 3 pictures show a completed part as pulled from mold being trimmed with Dremel tool and sanded a little bigger than finished size and ready to be installed on deck in its proper place. It will be set aside waiting until all parts are complete.