Some Epoxy Handling Tips #3: A Little Trick with Cloth

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Blog entry by shipwright posted 11-11-2011 01:46 AM 3667 reads 7 times favorited 13 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Mixing and Additives Part 3 of Some Epoxy Handling Tips series no next part

This is maybe my best epoxy trick. The example here only scratches the surface of the appilcations for the concept but will serve to illustrate it. The underlying and enabling fact is that epoxy won’t stick to polyethylene (simple roll plastic). In this example that isn’t even very important but I’ll tie the usefulness of that in later.

In my little project I have decided to reinforce the bottom corners of the box because it will have to carry a big old fat kitty and I wouldn’t want her falling out because the bottom gave way. I don’t want any framing so the best way to do the reinforcing will be to add a strip of 6 oz. cloth on the outside corners. That can be a messy job sometimes but it doesn’t have to be.

Lay out a strip of plastic that is a few inches bigger on all sides than the bit of cloth you will be using.
Lay the cloth on top dry.

Pour on some clear epoxy

and wet out the cloth with a Bondo spreader.

When fully wetted out the cloth will be almost invisible. Then you can pick up the whole thing, plastic, cloth and epoxy

and apply it to the work, carefully placing it exactly where you want it. This is a huge advantage in places where you need to glass or repair an overhead surface.

You can now smooth the cloth out and drive any air bubbles out by simply running your fingers or a spreader over the plastic. No muss, no fuss and no need to get any on you or to have it running down the vertical surface.

At this point you can leave the plastic on and it will prevent any shifting or glue runs even if you have too much glue. When cured you can just pull it off and you’ll have a nice shiny smooth surface with no cloth pattern. If however you want as I did to go on and do the other three corners, you can pull it off now.

And re-smooth the cloth surface with your spreader. This will leave some cloth pattern but in this case I don’t care.

Here all four sides are done and there is no mess at all. My gloves aren’t even sticky.

Ok you may say, What’s so great about this simple trick? Well it’s about where you can take the concept.

Here’s another example from about ten years ago. One of my Harbour Ferries had an altercation with a hard thing and lost. This is what it looked like when I got it home at about 10:00 one Saturday Night in August. This is peak season and Sunday was our biggest day. Thanks Murphy

After an hour or so I had fashioned a plywood piece to cover the break on the inside (way up under and behind the front seat backs), covered it with epoxy and squeezed it into place with a piece of reddi rod, some washers and some nuts.

Then I ran screws in through the hull into the new backer and removed the reddi rod. At this point the repair is about half done structurally but looked awful aesthetically.

So here’s where the trick comes in. I laid out a piece of plastic larger than the damaged area and laid up on it the following: First a layer of thickened epoxy, then a layer of six oz. cloth (a little smaller), then a piece of heavier bi-axial cloth (smaller again) all saturated in clear epoxy and finally a little more thickened epoxy. I took the whole patch and applied it to the “wound”. Then I screwed a layer of 1/4” plywood over the plastic. The plywood extended out past the damage and forced the epoxy/ cloth/ putty patch to form a fair curve and conform to the original shape of the hull in that area. By about 1:00 AM the job was done.

In the morning (about 6:00) I removed the 1/4 plywood, peeled the plastic, gave it a quick sanding and filled any screw holes with epoxy putty. It then looked like this.

When the boat performed the Harbour Ferry Ballet at 10:00 AM on Sunday the paint was still a little wet but it soon dried.

All this repair work in one night was only possible because of this little trick. I have used more or less the same procedure to repair all kinds of dings and bashes but this is the only one I have photos of.

Thanks for looking in.

All questions, comments, critiques are welcome.


-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

13 comments so far

View SPalm's profile


5338 posts in 5042 days

#1 posted 11-11-2011 02:15 AM

You can really walk the walk, Paul.

Thanks for the tip,

-- -- I'm no rocket surgeon

View chrisstef's profile


18133 posts in 4166 days

#2 posted 11-11-2011 02:49 AM

i think im falling in love … with epoxy. These are the kind of blogs id like to file in my “man tips file” for that day ill need to do something like this.

-- Its not a crack, its a casting imperfection.

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 4463 days

#3 posted 11-11-2011 03:44 AM

yea in the normal way things go, that would have been a several day job at best, this trick of yours was a big time saver and got your boat back into working order when it was needed, way to go…a great trick…well i hope this travel case for the one fat kitty will be displayed when your done…would even like to see the kitty…one luck cat…hope your doing well, ive had a busy week, my wife and i are having a booth at a church bazaar this saturday, lots to try and get done..thanks for this post, might come in handy someday…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View sras's profile


6255 posts in 4289 days

#4 posted 11-11-2011 05:41 AM

Cool trick Paul! Kind of like vacuum bagging without the vacuum.

-- Steve - Impatience is Expensive

View Schwieb's profile


1917 posts in 4621 days

#5 posted 11-11-2011 01:56 PM

You’re a clever guy, Paul. I can see where this will do the trick

-- Dr. Ken, Florida - Durch harte arbeit werden Träume wahr.

View Lee A. Jesberger's profile

Lee A. Jesberger

6875 posts in 5139 days

#6 posted 11-11-2011 04:57 PM

Very creative, and effective.

You’re the MASTER!


-- by Lee A. Jesberger

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 4275 days

#7 posted 11-11-2011 09:15 PM

thank´s Poul :-)


View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5237 days

#8 posted 11-12-2011 11:26 PM

finally had a chance to read this one…very cool!

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View Napaman's profile


5535 posts in 5237 days

#9 posted 11-13-2011 03:53 AM

EPOXY QUESTION: today while I was BUILDING MY BOAT…and trimming an edge I thought about this blog and a question I have been thinking about for over a year…

Can scraps with epoxy on them be burned?

-- Matt--Proud LJ since 2007

View shipwright's profile


8734 posts in 3958 days

#10 posted 11-13-2011 04:35 AM

Should they be?
I’m sure there are environmental concerns.
How many tons of it are you thinking of burning?

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View English's profile


692 posts in 2637 days

#11 posted 02-26-2017 03:33 PM


Have you done this on a large scale, like over a 50” wide piece of glass? Would you still get the same effect. Is it hard to get the plastic off after the cure?

-- John, Suffolk Virgina

View shipwright's profile


8734 posts in 3958 days

#12 posted 02-26-2017 07:24 PM

You have to seriously plan your moves ahead and likely have a little help to place the cloth or patch, especially if it is overhead, but yes I have and yes you can. The plastic will keep everything under control and when the epoxy is cured it will just pop off leaving a surface as smooth as you were able to get when applying. If you did it well enough you should have even filled the cloth pattern.
Let me know how it goes.

-- Paul M ..............the early bird may get the worm but it’s the second mouse that gets the cheese!

View WoodenDreams's profile


1352 posts in 1071 days

#13 posted 02-03-2019 07:43 AM

Very useful blogs on epoxy. I have used epoxy for certain projects. I’ll spend some time practicing your approach to epoxy. I’ll do several trial runs on some small projects instead of wood glue to get a better feel of methods you mentioned, before I use your method on a main project. .. I do realize I’m commenting on a 2011 blog. ..Thank you

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