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Don't get any on you !

The first rule I try to follow when using epoxies is "Don't get any on you !" and the second one is "Don't get any on your handles !" Basically for more reasons than I need to get into here no one wants to get it on them. The question seems to be how to avoid it.

I've used A LOT of epoxy over the years for everything from gluing hulls together to making wooden fuel tanks, water tanks and even a bathtub and I've developed a number of procedures that help me stay clean.

I happened to have a little epoxy job this morning in the shop and thought it might be a good opportunity to document a few.

First and foremost is the need for a proper glue stick. What difference does it make what I stir my glue with ? you ask. Well none actually but a good glue stick will do many more things for you than just stir your glue. You want to keep the number of epoxy contaminated articles to a minimum so it makes sense to use a multi-functional glue stick. This is what mine look like. I usually spend a bit of time to make them and often use the same one many many times.

The features are:

1) Appropriate length for the job and the container you are using.
-Too short and it gets you sticky.
-Too long and it tips over the glue cup….. and gets everything sticky.

2) Comfortable fit in the hand. Like an artist's brush, you'll be using it for delicate finicky jobs. (really)

3) Wide enough blade to facilitate mixing but narrower further up to allow it to better reach tight corners.

4) Chisel tip to facilitate cleaning up excesses, cut at a little angle to make filleting easier and with a radius at the toe for shaping the size of fillet you want to use.

Wood Plant Metal

Wood Rectangle Beige Linens Tints and shades


For the job today I decided to use what was referred to in my old shipyard as a "pukemouse" because, well it looks like a mouse and …. well you'll get the idea.

Start by putting your finger into the corner of a plastic bag and stick it into a measuring cup. This will ensure that your glue will be concentrated in a corner.

Water Wood Flooring Floor Road surface


Then pull the rest of the bag well below the rim and as carefully as possible fill with your epoxy. This is of course a technique only used with thickened epoxy which is the only way I ever use it as a glue. The only time I use epoxy clear is as a finish or to lay up cloth.

Water Fluid Gas Circle Art


Tie off the top, snip off a tiny corner, and Voila you have a pukemouse.

Natural material Plant Plastic bag Wood Plastic wrap


Use the pukemouse (now you get it) like a cake decorator to neatly place the glue exactly where you want it.

Wood Gesture Safety glove Flooring Glove


Assemble your joint with whatever fasteners you are using and immediately clean any excess away with the chisel edge of your stick.

Table Wood Beige Floor Flooring


And scrape the excess back into the original mixing cup.

Wood Solvent Hardwood Wood stain Serveware


You can place more thickened epoxy along inside corners to reinforce the joint with a fillet.

Table Wood Chair Flooring Floor


Tool the fillet with the radius corner of your stick until you're happy with it.

Wood Flooring Beige Hardwood Wood stain


Carefully clean the excess with your chisel edge and return the excess to the pot.

Brown Wood Flooring Beige Floor


And you're done. The project is all glued up, there will be little or no sanding, and the only other things with epoxy on them are the glue cup (throw in the garbage), the empty pukemouse (also garbage) and the stick. I wipe the stick off with a paper towel (garbage) and set it aside to use again. I didn't even get any on my gloves this time.

Wood Hardwood Automotive design Composite material Rectangle


Hope some of you find this helpful.

Comments, critiques and questions are always welcome.

Paul
Great tips Paul. I've just started venturing into the epoxy world and any help or tips are fantastic.
What do you thicken the epoxy with?
 

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Don't get any on you !

The first rule I try to follow when using epoxies is "Don't get any on you !" and the second one is "Don't get any on your handles !" Basically for more reasons than I need to get into here no one wants to get it on them. The question seems to be how to avoid it.

I've used A LOT of epoxy over the years for everything from gluing hulls together to making wooden fuel tanks, water tanks and even a bathtub and I've developed a number of procedures that help me stay clean.

I happened to have a little epoxy job this morning in the shop and thought it might be a good opportunity to document a few.

First and foremost is the need for a proper glue stick. What difference does it make what I stir my glue with ? you ask. Well none actually but a good glue stick will do many more things for you than just stir your glue. You want to keep the number of epoxy contaminated articles to a minimum so it makes sense to use a multi-functional glue stick. This is what mine look like. I usually spend a bit of time to make them and often use the same one many many times.

The features are:

1) Appropriate length for the job and the container you are using.
-Too short and it gets you sticky.
-Too long and it tips over the glue cup….. and gets everything sticky.

2) Comfortable fit in the hand. Like an artist's brush, you'll be using it for delicate finicky jobs. (really)

3) Wide enough blade to facilitate mixing but narrower further up to allow it to better reach tight corners.

4) Chisel tip to facilitate cleaning up excesses, cut at a little angle to make filleting easier and with a radius at the toe for shaping the size of fillet you want to use.

Wood Plant Metal

Wood Rectangle Beige Linens Tints and shades


For the job today I decided to use what was referred to in my old shipyard as a "pukemouse" because, well it looks like a mouse and …. well you'll get the idea.

Start by putting your finger into the corner of a plastic bag and stick it into a measuring cup. This will ensure that your glue will be concentrated in a corner.

Water Wood Flooring Floor Road surface


Then pull the rest of the bag well below the rim and as carefully as possible fill with your epoxy. This is of course a technique only used with thickened epoxy which is the only way I ever use it as a glue. The only time I use epoxy clear is as a finish or to lay up cloth.

Water Fluid Gas Circle Art


Tie off the top, snip off a tiny corner, and Voila you have a pukemouse.

Natural material Plant Plastic bag Wood Plastic wrap


Use the pukemouse (now you get it) like a cake decorator to neatly place the glue exactly where you want it.

Wood Gesture Safety glove Flooring Glove


Assemble your joint with whatever fasteners you are using and immediately clean any excess away with the chisel edge of your stick.

Table Wood Beige Floor Flooring


And scrape the excess back into the original mixing cup.

Wood Solvent Hardwood Wood stain Serveware


You can place more thickened epoxy along inside corners to reinforce the joint with a fillet.

Table Wood Chair Flooring Floor


Tool the fillet with the radius corner of your stick until you're happy with it.

Wood Flooring Beige Hardwood Wood stain


Carefully clean the excess with your chisel edge and return the excess to the pot.

Brown Wood Flooring Beige Floor


And you're done. The project is all glued up, there will be little or no sanding, and the only other things with epoxy on them are the glue cup (throw in the garbage), the empty pukemouse (also garbage) and the stick. I wipe the stick off with a paper towel (garbage) and set it aside to use again. I didn't even get any on my gloves this time.

Wood Hardwood Automotive design Composite material Rectangle


Hope some of you find this helpful.

Comments, critiques and questions are always welcome.

Paul
I have very little experience thickening epoxy, but West Marine has a variety of additives (e.g. beads, fibers) that thicken the mixture for different purposes. I would be interested in learning from the experiences of other LJ's in this area.
 

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Don't get any on you !

The first rule I try to follow when using epoxies is "Don't get any on you !" and the second one is "Don't get any on your handles !" Basically for more reasons than I need to get into here no one wants to get it on them. The question seems to be how to avoid it.

I've used A LOT of epoxy over the years for everything from gluing hulls together to making wooden fuel tanks, water tanks and even a bathtub and I've developed a number of procedures that help me stay clean.

I happened to have a little epoxy job this morning in the shop and thought it might be a good opportunity to document a few.

First and foremost is the need for a proper glue stick. What difference does it make what I stir my glue with ? you ask. Well none actually but a good glue stick will do many more things for you than just stir your glue. You want to keep the number of epoxy contaminated articles to a minimum so it makes sense to use a multi-functional glue stick. This is what mine look like. I usually spend a bit of time to make them and often use the same one many many times.

The features are:

1) Appropriate length for the job and the container you are using.
-Too short and it gets you sticky.
-Too long and it tips over the glue cup….. and gets everything sticky.

2) Comfortable fit in the hand. Like an artist's brush, you'll be using it for delicate finicky jobs. (really)

3) Wide enough blade to facilitate mixing but narrower further up to allow it to better reach tight corners.

4) Chisel tip to facilitate cleaning up excesses, cut at a little angle to make filleting easier and with a radius at the toe for shaping the size of fillet you want to use.

Wood Plant Metal

Wood Rectangle Beige Linens Tints and shades


For the job today I decided to use what was referred to in my old shipyard as a "pukemouse" because, well it looks like a mouse and …. well you'll get the idea.

Start by putting your finger into the corner of a plastic bag and stick it into a measuring cup. This will ensure that your glue will be concentrated in a corner.

Water Wood Flooring Floor Road surface


Then pull the rest of the bag well below the rim and as carefully as possible fill with your epoxy. This is of course a technique only used with thickened epoxy which is the only way I ever use it as a glue. The only time I use epoxy clear is as a finish or to lay up cloth.

Water Fluid Gas Circle Art


Tie off the top, snip off a tiny corner, and Voila you have a pukemouse.

Natural material Plant Plastic bag Wood Plastic wrap


Use the pukemouse (now you get it) like a cake decorator to neatly place the glue exactly where you want it.

Wood Gesture Safety glove Flooring Glove


Assemble your joint with whatever fasteners you are using and immediately clean any excess away with the chisel edge of your stick.

Table Wood Beige Floor Flooring


And scrape the excess back into the original mixing cup.

Wood Solvent Hardwood Wood stain Serveware


You can place more thickened epoxy along inside corners to reinforce the joint with a fillet.

Table Wood Chair Flooring Floor


Tool the fillet with the radius corner of your stick until you're happy with it.

Wood Flooring Beige Hardwood Wood stain


Carefully clean the excess with your chisel edge and return the excess to the pot.

Brown Wood Flooring Beige Floor


And you're done. The project is all glued up, there will be little or no sanding, and the only other things with epoxy on them are the glue cup (throw in the garbage), the empty pukemouse (also garbage) and the stick. I wipe the stick off with a paper towel (garbage) and set it aside to use again. I didn't even get any on my gloves this time.

Wood Hardwood Automotive design Composite material Rectangle


Hope some of you find this helpful.

Comments, critiques and questions are always welcome.

Paul
This was a fantastic tutorial Paul. I'm sorry I missed it the first time around. I've never like working with epoxy because of it messiness, but your demonstration shows that it can be done in a very controlled and clean way. many thanks for sharing this. Now I just need a project requiring epoxy.
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Paul,
As always I find this post very informative!
Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Very well written, Paul.

Lee
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Well done Paul. I had to learn some of these things by reading and trial and ERROR when I was glassing the kayak. Wish I had you watching over my shoulder when I was doing that. My son is building one also and doing the second will be much easier. Thanks for sharing your wealth of knowledge.
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Well written and informative, thanks, Paul.
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
This is great information. I will be venturing into my first bout with epoxy shortly and have read this with great interest. Keep up the info im eatin it up. Im sure ill be messaging you about my venture into the epoxy world. Thanks Paul.
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
info like this is always a gr8 help. thnx for the education Paul. more info is alway good info
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
loving this…

New Question: Micro-balloons…I see this mentioned on boat blogs and articles…what is this? Any connection?
 

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Discussion Starter · #32 ·
Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Matt, micro balloons, micro spheres, Profil, likely lots of other names are all tiny hollow glass spheres. They come in coarser and finer sizes but they are all microscope stuff. The one I use is Profil because it's the one my supplier handles.
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Thanks…

Are they used as a filler? Floatation? How does that work if so? Would you use it with all glue ups so you have floatation added? Or is this not at all the purpose…
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Interesting and useful blog Paul. I am also interested in different fillers to add color. I have acquired some toner from several used laser cartridges I plan on testing. I've used colored sawdust in the past that worked good. I've also seen folks using one of the K&B pigment products(25+ years ago). I've also seen glitter used, but I'm not a fan of it. What other 'creative' compounds have you used or do you recommend(or not recommend)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #35 ·
Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
I'm not really qualified to talk about pigments that are compatible but I know that there are compatible pigments. Ask your supplier or manufacturer.
I've mostly only used black in the form of either carbon powder or in a paste that I got from my epoxy supplier and white in the same paste form. I used them between teak overlay strips on decks (black) and cabin soles (white).
 

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Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
FYI…

I have been using wood flour so far exclusively as a thickener…but I ran out…so I finally used silica…

Not sure why but I was nervous for some reason…it seemed to need more mixed in to thicken up but seemed to work fine…it did seem to take more mixing to get the bunches mixed in--like the pancake mix that seems to have clumps of dry/unmixed content with each stir…

How will each sand? Any think I should know using the silica? I was wondering about safety--I assume a dust mask minimum…I have a mask with dual respirators…

I DID go back and scrape excess drips after words but with the boat flipped I could not get the underside…

matt
 

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Discussion Starter · #37 ·
Mixing and Additives

When I posted the first blog entry here some questions about mixing and additives arose. I find that often useful answers to good questions get lost in a list of comments when they could be much more easily found in a separate post so here is that separate post.

Disclaimer: Although I have had extensive experience in the use and handling of epoxies, I have not tried all the various brands and manufacturers' products. My formulator of choice was Industrial Formulators of Canada for the following reasons.
1) The company was owned and operated by the chemist who designed the formulations and he was always available to answer questions, a brilliant man.
2) For the purposes that I needed epoxy (boat building), they had the best line of products based on actual chemical characteristics.
IFC has been absorbed by System Three who now carry the old IFC products.

There are lots of manufacturers and formulators and each has its fans. I do not want to get into an argument about who is better than who. The information here is pretty generic and should apply to epoxies in general.

Mixing Epoxy:

When you mix epoxy you are combining two chemical reagents that join together to form a new molecule. The molecule is formed at a fixed ratio that may be 1:1, 2:1 or some other. The important thing is that as cross-linking takes place and the new polymer molecules form, the reagents are used up at an exact ratio. When the last molecule is cross-linked the reaction is over and any un-linked reagents remaining in the mix will have a detrimental effect on the properties of the polymer. This is why it is important to mix as accurately as possible.

Perhaps because of the widespread use of polyester products like fiberglassing resin, Bondo and such there exists a belief that adding more or less hardener is an acceptable way to hasten or slow the cure. This works for polyester because it is a catalyst reaction. It is not a good idea with epoxy. You may change the cure rate a little by increasing or decreasing the number and proximity of available partner ions, but when the reaction is over you will have remaining un-linked chemicals in the mix. They may affect water resistance, strength, hardness, etc.

My personal preference for getting an accurate mix is to use graduated cups or tubs. I have used the metered hand pumps but find them unreliable when the materials are cold particularly if one is thicker than the other at normal temperatures.

Blend Completely

Follow the instructions. The thicker the components, the more important it is that you mix thoroughly and scrape the sides of the container frequently like the label says. The glue stick that I described in the first blog entry has one side left straight for this purpose. For me , hand mixing affords a better feel for the mix and allows me to make sure that all the reagents are involved.

Blend the clear epoxy fully as per instructions before adding any additives. Removing poorly mixed goo from a large area can be a real pain…...don't ask.

Additives

There are two general kinds of additives. One is absorbed by the epoxy and makes little difference to the volume when added and the other is not absorbed and increases the volume by however much you add.

Fillers are the non-absorbed additives and are used to make epoxy go a little farther or to give better sanding and gap filling qualities. These are very handy in fairing slightly uneven surfaces like boat hulls or the pattern left on the surface after sanding a fiberglass cloth layup. They are mostly various sizes of micro glass spheres and the make sanding much easier.

Thickeners are the additives that are absorbed by the epoxy and they can greatly increase it's ability to stay where you put it. Epoxies in general heat up as they cure and become less viscous. The right additive (my favorite is called mini-fibers) can dramatically reduce the "sag" or eliminate it completely without compromising the strength of the joint. Fillets made with mini-fibers are very strong and can be used as structural joint. I often mix some mini-fibers for thickening and some micro-spheres to aid sanding in the same mix. There are all sorts of properties you can coax out of one epoxy with the right additives.

Well, I didn't mean for this to be this long or this dry, but I can't really find anything that I want to cut so I'll be kind and stop here.

I hope it hasn't been too thick and that this will help some of you better understand epoxy.

If anyone has specific questions that I can help with, please let me know.

Thanks for reading.
Questions, comments and critiques are always welcome.

Paul
Matt, If you are using a good thickener, there should be no drips to clean up. Your epoxy should be a putty, not so dry it won't wet out the surfaces, but not so wet it sags. A good test is to scoop some out on a stir stick
so that it is about a half inch thick. Hold the stick up and the epoxy should just stay on the stick, a half inch thick and not sag at all. With mini fibers you can get that to about an inch or more without making it too dry.

I've never used silica but it sounds like a filler to me. What are you trying to accomplish by adding it?
Maybe there's something better to use for the purpose.
 

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Discussion Starter · #38 ·
A Little Trick with Cloth

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.

Wood Rectangle Font Automotive exterior Bumper


Pour on some clear epoxy

Wood Office ruler Cup Ruler Flooring


and wet out the cloth with a Bondo spreader.

Gas Auto part Plastic Plastic wrap Metal


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

Wood Textile Sleeve Floor Safety glove


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.

Table Glove Safety glove Wood Flooring


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.

Glove Wood Table Flooring Hardwood


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.

Glove Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


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

Wood Table Flooring Floor Wood stain


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

Table Wood Tool Rectangle Flooring


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 http://lumberjocks.com/projects/53302 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

Motor vehicle Font Bumper Asphalt Gas


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.

Art Bow Entertainment Event Font


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.

Paint Art Font Painting Rectangle


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
 

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A Little Trick with Cloth

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.

Wood Rectangle Font Automotive exterior Bumper


Pour on some clear epoxy

Wood Office ruler Cup Ruler Flooring


and wet out the cloth with a Bondo spreader.

Gas Auto part Plastic Plastic wrap Metal


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

Wood Textile Sleeve Floor Safety glove


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.

Table Glove Safety glove Wood Flooring


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.

Glove Wood Table Flooring Hardwood


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.

Glove Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


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

Wood Table Flooring Floor Wood stain


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

Table Wood Tool Rectangle Flooring


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 http://lumberjocks.com/projects/53302 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

Motor vehicle Font Bumper Asphalt Gas


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.

Art Bow Entertainment Event Font


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.

Paint Art Font Painting Rectangle


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
You can really walk the walk, Paul.

Thanks for the tip,
Steve
 

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A Little Trick with Cloth

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.

Wood Rectangle Font Automotive exterior Bumper


Pour on some clear epoxy

Wood Office ruler Cup Ruler Flooring


and wet out the cloth with a Bondo spreader.

Gas Auto part Plastic Plastic wrap Metal


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

Wood Textile Sleeve Floor Safety glove


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.

Table Glove Safety glove Wood Flooring


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.

Glove Wood Table Flooring Hardwood


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.

Glove Wood Flooring Floor Hardwood


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

Wood Table Flooring Floor Wood stain


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

Table Wood Tool Rectangle Flooring


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 http://lumberjocks.com/projects/53302 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

Motor vehicle Font Bumper Asphalt Gas


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.

Art Bow Entertainment Event Font


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.

Paint Art Font Painting Rectangle


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
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.
 

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