View Full Version : Cold weather epoxy planning?

11-07-2003, 07:52 AM
Looks like the plan to complete the boat next summer has a problem: we may very well be out of the country. And right now, I'm still up to my neck in home improvement projects. And these, I hope, will be finished by the end of Feb. '04. That positions me to restart boat work beginning in March '04 but in an unheated barn. This is "high country" in Massachusetts terms: we're about 1800 ft. above sea level and just south of Vermont: Cool to durned cold.

The boat is a tape-and-epoxy Bolger Chebacco (20'x7'-6") and so I'll need heat to set the epoxy. The hull is now painted (exterior only)and flipped and I would finish up taping seams, then start on lazarette, cockpit, cuddy -- mostly plywood to plywood but also would encapsulate 1x2 spruce and some rosewood in epoxy and use these for stringers to suport plywood. Would be comfortable working with/under a kerosene heater, electric space warmers, heat gun, floodlights that are hot while I'm out there in the barn. But would want to not have an overnight flammable heat source in the barn except some sort of heat sink (like heated bricks or stones set next to the house's wood stove during the day and taken to the boat after the epoxy has kicked and started to cool?) over the epoxied area for the night (along with coverings above and below of, say, fiberglass batt insulation). (No wooly sheep allowed in the boat, period!) I'd no doubt focus on the "fast" hardener to set the epoxy quickly. Have any WBForumites done this, had problems or? I'd like to formulate a plan and your help will, no doubt, be terrific. :confused:

Greg H
11-07-2003, 08:48 AM
It's not as cold here as it is in Mass. (at least sustained cold) I've had luck using an electric blanket . I used Mas Quick cure mix, which will set and cure as long as the temp is kept above 50 although it may take two or three times as long. The manufacturer said it was ok for the temp to fall below 50 for a few hours and caused no loss in strenght as long as it was warmed again.
Warm the wood in the boat with the blanket
Warm the epoxy
Warm the pieces to be bonded
apply googe
cover with a sheet of plastic,
'lectric blanket
and then cover as much of the boat as possible with a large sheet of plastic to keep the heat in.

On really cold nights I used a couple of clip on lights with 100 watt bulbs beneath the the glued areas as well, but not too close!
Good luck

[ 11-07-2003, 12:45 PM: Message edited by: Greg H ]

11-07-2003, 09:28 AM
I've had to work in very cold winter conditions in the garage being from up here. But I just took a chance on electric and propane heaters. The chances of something going wrong with an electric space heater must be very small. I also use one of those propane nozzles that fit on a bbq tank but that's probably not very efficient in a big barn. You'd lose too much heat to the rafters. Never had a problem or close call in any way. As also suggested electric lights with the bulbs close to the surface would pose no more fire hazzard than leaving a light on in the house overnight. You can place the bulbs close to the epoxied surface with no danger at all.

11-07-2003, 12:37 PM
If you could rig a plastic sheet covcering for the boat you could enclose a smaller air space around the boat and then heat it with an electric heater. I have a plug in heater that looks just like an old style steam heater in older buildings. It has a heater element inside it that heats up the water in the fins and it works pretty good. No fire danger due to red hot coils of wire etc...

Tim B
11-07-2003, 01:01 PM
I have done both epoxy and varnish work in the dead of Minnesota winters in our unheated garage using the plastic sheet method that dmede describes. Have had good results with it. One problem I have encountered is that those electric heaters can be hard on the CB's. Afew times I went to bed and got up in the morning to find that the power to the garage kicked out during the night. For overnight cures I prefer using just light bulbs for heat source.

Bruce Taylor
11-07-2003, 01:11 PM
Electric roof cables (the kind used to prevent ice-damming).

Wayne Jeffers
11-07-2003, 01:20 PM
With a plastic sheet covering the boat, as dmede suggested, I think you will be surprised how much heat you can retain from a light bulb or two.


11-07-2003, 07:58 PM
Good stuff, thanks. The epoxy supplier, Raka, suggested a cold weather hardener (sets in about 12 mins.) and small electric heaters. That with small space making, electric blankets, et al, I should have a safe time with cured epoxy.