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.
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.
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.
Tie off the top, snip off a tiny corner, and Voila you have a pukemouse.
Use the pukemouse (now you get it) like a cake decorator to neatly place the glue exactly where you want it.
Assemble your joint with whatever fasteners you are using and immediately clean any excess away with the chisel edge of your stick.
And scrape the excess back into the original mixing cup.
You can place more thickened epoxy along inside corners to reinforce the joint with a fillet.
Tool the fillet with the radius corner of your stick until you’re happy with it.
Carefully clean the excess with your chisel edge and return the excess to the pot.
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.
Hope some of you find this helpful.
Comments, critiques and questions are always welcome.
-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/