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Thread: Epoxy.

  1. #1
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    Default Epoxy.

    Does less expensive mean less quality?
    Is West System the only name in boatbuilding.
    Any other decent brands?
    Ask me! I've got my Leatherman!

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I have used west system for many years. Good stuff mostly, but lately I wonder if the stuff I buy under the West label is really the same product I was buying 20 years ago. It doesn't seem quite the same and doesn't smell too good anymore. I suggest try a few products and decide what you're happy with. However, whatever you use, the gougeon brothers book remains good advice on how to use epoxy.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I think Paul Oman is still lurking, perhaps a PM to him.

    I have read good anecdotal reports here on the Forum of TotalBoat from Jamestown. Go ahead, try it, and report back to us.
    Steve Martinsen

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    WEST
    System 3
    Raka
    TotalBoat
    Smith&Co - CPES
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Anybody besides me surprised that WEST doesn't make a CPES equivalent product?
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    In addition to West System I've used MAS Epoxies and System Three's Silvertip, both to good effect.

    System Three also has a book, "The Epoxy Book", available as a pdf on their website.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I forgot about Mas.

    The exhaustive WEST book is worth mentioning, now available as a free pdf.



    https://www.westsystem.com/wp-conten...k-061205-1.pdf
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I just used TotalBoat to repair a peeling glass on ply deck. I'm happy with it.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Yes in most cases.
    No.
    Many.

    If you can handle the prices and chemicals, Smith & Co. products are good in my experience.
    "The enemies of reason have a certain blind look."
    Doctor Jacquin to Lieutenant D'Hubert, in Ridley Scott's first major film _The Duellists_.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I’ve had good experience using RAKA. It seems to flow better then West. I don’t know if different formulations from the vendors are actually formulated for different climates, I.e SC vs Maine or that is just marketese. Does anybody have any insight into that?

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I've met the man from MAS several times.
    First was in a bar in Anguilla. He has two SMOKIN hot daughters !

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I've met the man from MAS several times.
    First was in a bar in Anguilla. He has two SMOKIN hot daughters !
    I have read all of the replies. This one by Bruce is by far the best. Go with this one.

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    As an amateur builder, using Epoxy resins, you want to select one that makes the job less unpleasant (beside wearing blue gloves to avoid skin contact, using it in a ventilated area and working clean).

    Compared to West, MAS doesn't blush or smell.

    Compared to West, Sicomin doesn't smell or crystallise in the containers.

    SP Systems epoxy seems as unpleasant as West (smells and blush).

    MAS seems more flexible to me (scrunching up the plastic pot test). All others seem more brittle.

    There are more 'green' options that use more plant derived resins but I haven't used them.

    Accurate measuring, mixing, application techniques and selection of the right type of epoxy and filler is 65% of it, more than a brand.

    The only comparative destruction review of epoxies I've seen in a magazine, did find West 'strongest' as I remember it, but less flexible.

    For small boat use, I reckon MAS is about best, but I found the epoxy kept crystallising in the tubs (dissappears with gentle warming - but takes time). When MAS got harder to get hold of in the UK, I swapped to Sicomin: it does avoid this happening, but I noticed a blush on the surface last winter when I used it to coat a dinghy, although it was raining and there was a bit of moisture in the air.

    I'm not aware of any resin thats no smell, no blush and no crystallisation, but it's a few years now since I bought the Sicomin and I've not had to buy any more yet. There are new epoxy manufacturers all the time.

    My criteria in selection to know what I was buying would be:

    Smell free? Blush free? Crystalisation free? Easy mix ratio? Bio resin? Hypoallergenic? Available cheaper in a big tub? Suitability for clear coating - Viscosity/ Colour? Speed it goes off - may need to consider environmental temperature in selection - fast/ med/ slow option hardener?
    Last edited by Edward Pearson; 06-10-2019 at 08:43 AM.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    It's hard to decide if Edward(#13) or Bruce (#11) has the better response. There is a lot to think about either way.

    One Ocean Kayaks ran a test ~20 years ago. It was before Raka and the 'green' epoxies and Paul Oman's epoxy wasn't well known. What it does show is that there are subtle differences, but not huge ones.
    These are the ones that they tested:
    West System 105 resin and 206 hardener
    West System 105 resin and 207 special coating hardener
    Raka 127 resin 350 hardener
    MAS resin and slow hardener
    System Three resin and medium hardener
    East System 1032 resin and 834 slow hardener
    The tests were:
    Viscosity & Fiberglass Saturation
    Clarity
    Speed of Cure
    Prices
    Blushing - what is 'Blush'?
    Preliminary Review (of Epoxies)
    Thicker or Thinner Epoxy - which is better?
    Miscellaneous -mixing epoxy brands together
    Epoxy pump problems and alternative dispensing system
    Epoxy cleanup

    I have worked on boats at some non-profit organizations that work with city kids. The best boat building epoxy is the last good batch donated or the brand that has chosen to supply them gratis. My experience after using 8 or more brands of epoxy is that the one that you are most familiar with will work for you. Some seemed easier than others to spread and wet out glass, but I would have to try them side by side to know if the difference was real.

    There is tremendous brand loyalty. There is the camp that considers blush a major problem and the camp that considers blush a trivial but inevitable fact of life that is easily washed off. Blush is caused by the hardener reacting with humidity. Almost any epoxy can blush under cool damp conditions when you shouldn't be using them but time isn't on your side.

    (Quote from One Ocean) When some epoxies harden, a byproduct of the curing reaction rises to the surface appearing as a greasy, waxy film. On contact with high humidity or water, this coating turns into an opaque white smudge (during or even after cure) which turns into dry chalky powder with time. This 'blush' will not wipe off easily with thinners or solvents. It can only be dry or wet sanded after the epoxy completely cures.
    OK, but it does wash right off with water, or detergent and water.

    It is very hard to compare prices. Mix ratios and package size are very confusing and calculating the price per gallon of mixed epoxy takes quite a bit of effort with a spread sheet. Bottom line, small amounts vary considerably in cost per gallon from brand to brand, but there isn't a lot of difference when you are buying 5 gallons. There is a price comparison on the One Ocean site in the link list above, but those prices are 20 years out of date and close to half of the current prices.
    Management is the art of counting beans. Leadership is the art of making every being count. --Joe Finch

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Second MN Dave and myself since I say this in every epoxy thread - Pick among the reputable proprietary brands based on reliably easy supply first and price if you have several choices. Get to know the quirks of that brand. Familiarity with the product will produce better results across the board better than fussing that X is better than Y for laminating but Y trumps Z for wetting out . . .

    I've not used Mr. Smith's epoxy glue, only CPES but his whole bit about tree resins is interesting. I guess it comes down to whether you prefer organic chemistry or petro chemistry.

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Pless View Post
    Anybody besides me surprised that WEST doesn't make a CPES equivalent product?
    No, in their Product User's Manual which they used to give out for free at WEST retailers, they give a pretty thorough explanation of their view on this...
    pvg

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I pretty much stick with WEST and have been using it now for over 40 years. When it first came out, it was far superior in just about every way to the epoxy resins that I had used in college and was an easy and much appreciated switch. The smell is pretty tolerable (especially compared to the polyesters I had to use back in the old days) and blush is so easy to deal with that I don't understand why anybody would make a big deal out of it. An awful lot of those who do seem to be folks who have never actually worked with blushing resins and are just repeating something they heard.

    Comparing epoxy boat resins by their perceived flexibility is a lot more complex than just assuming that a more flexible resin will hold up better, or is more desirable. You have to be balancing rigidity of the finished product and the material it is made of against the potential for elongation of the resin and creep of the joint. It does no real good to use a resin that is much more flexible than the wood it is holding together if the result can't hold its shape without excessive elongation or creep. There have been at least a couple pieces in the Gougeon "Epoxyworks" on-line publication over the years where they explain how their resin for wooden boats is designed to meet and match the flex and physical characteristics of the wood, but not be subject to the problems raised by being overly flexible for the job. They do also make G-Flex, a very flexible epoxy formula, but they absolutely do not recommend it for all jobs, including most typical wooden boat projects. Their standard 105/205, 206 or 207 resins are the ones you want to use for the vast majority of the jobs we do on wooden boats and they will yield the best and strongest results of the WEST offerings.

    My projects don't require the purchase of mass quantities of epoxy, so the price difference is not huge. I appreciate the fact that nobody has done anywhere near the amount of specifically wooden boat related research, testing and tweaking of their products over the decades as the Gougeon folks have done, or put the same amount of effort into teaching people how to use them properly. I'll continue to support that work and effort by buying their products. WEST isn't the only good brand of epoxy resin for boats, but it is consistently good and backed by an excellent tech staff.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    I've always had the sneaking suspicion that WEST's aversion to thinning epoxy is connected to their name change from the original acroynym came from Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique to the more accurate Wood Epoxy Sealing Technique.

    In the mid-70s when I found WEST, I thought brittleness might be a problem. I cast small dixi cup discs with WEST and Gluvit, the only flexible epoxy handy. Smacking them with a hammer on an anvil caused amazing shattering of the WEST. Usually the Gluvit would bounce back the hammer but sometimes it also cracked. Sheets poured on wax paper were more spectacular with the WEST shattering almost explosively like glass when bent. The Gluvit could take a considerable bend and when it failed it was usually just a line crack.

    But then I talked to two guys who as OSU grad students had done some tech work for the outfit I worked for and had become epoxy engineers. Among other things, they were pioneering what amounted to big wooden springs. They told be that the epoxy they mixed was of similar brittleness to WEST but in the thin glue line of really good lamination of dimensional lumber brittleness did not matter and the cycling of such a 'spring' had a much greater duration than steel.

    I've not really kept up with research since then, except to note that sometimes the glop surprises me with how really cool it can be.

    Final note, I am in the camp of those who like CPES.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by wizbang 13 View Post
    I've met the man from MAS several times.
    First was in a bar in Anguilla. He has two SMOKIN hot daughters !
    That's good enough for me. His epoxy must be really good...

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    My experience of TotalBoat vs. System 3 was Total Boat had more blush and it was a pain to remove, was more likely to sag (this "sag" was a strange flow that occured well after pot life ended and after it was 'workable' but before it'd hardened), and had a shorter shelf life before crystallization and was harder to get back. It was however, a reasonable bit cheaper.
    Last edited by Hugh Conway; 06-10-2019 at 10:53 PM.

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    FWIW, which isn't much, I have always used West and MAS. But have not used anything besides MAS for probably 5 years. I like it. 2:1 mix ratio is more forgiving. People say there is no such thing as non-blush epoxy, but compared to West, MAS is pretty dang close. Rarely do I see or worry about blush. Its been about 20 years, but I did at one time know the guy who started MAS system epoxy, he was a chemist and certainly did not consider his claim of non-blushing epoxy to be marketing BS. I agree that MAS is less brittle than west. As to smell, never really noticed the different. All-in-all, I like MAS. It is not really cheap, but I like it, an opinion of a true rank amateur.

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    I guess it comes down to whether you prefer organic chemistry or petro chemistry.
    Wait, I thought petro chemistry, being based on hydrocarbons, was organic chemistry?
    Heute ist so ein schöne Tag...

  23. #23
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ian McColgin View Post
    I've always had the sneaking suspicion that WEST's aversion to thinning epoxy is connected to their name change from the original acroynym came from Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique to the more accurate Wood Epoxy Sealing Technique.

    <snip>
    Their aversion is because they know that adding thinners to epoxy weakens it considerably and makes it much less water resistant.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    And there is the temperature and humidity where and when various epoxy is stored, opened, used and cured.

  25. #25
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Z. View Post
    Wait, I thought petro chemistry, being based on hydrocarbons, was organic chemistry?
    Yep, that's the way I learned it. Dead dinosaurs were organic. I hear they were even green :-)

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    My woman is constantly telling off her teenage daughter for beginning sentences with 'wait'. Glad she wasn't reading this thread... there'd have been no end to it.

  27. #27
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike V. View Post
    Their aversion is because they know that adding thinners to epoxy weakens it considerably and makes it much less water resistant.
    Yes, this is what is what is discussed in the User's Manual mentioned above (post #16)
    pvg

  28. #28
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    Default Re: Epoxy.

    IMHO, the differences in viscosity between the products are what sets the brands apart when you are talking about neat resin/hardener mixes. I have used most of the brands mentioned -I believe all are of high quality. I now use West 105/205 exclusively, but that's because I believe I better results on a range of uses sticking with the same resin/hardener to start with and when thickened, also. Just seems easier to control the thickened product over the various thickeners when staying with the same neat resin/hardener. I have thinned 105/205 with lacquer thinner up to 50% when used as a primer for Interlux Brightsides topcoats with excellent results. I don't thin neat mix for anything because the 105/205 is suitably thin to start with for my uses - generally small batches - West has a slower (tropical) hardener, but I have not used it.

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