This is maybe my best epoxy trick. The example here only scratches the surface of the appilcations for the concept but will serve to illustrate it. The underlying and enabling fact is that epoxy won’t stick to polyethylene (simple roll plastic). In this example that isn’t even very important but I’ll tie the usefulness of that in later.
In my little project I have decided to reinforce the bottom corners of the box because it will have to carry a big old fat kitty and I wouldn’t want her falling out because the bottom gave way. I don’t want any framing so the best way to do the reinforcing will be to add a strip of 6 oz. cloth on the outside corners. That can be a messy job sometimes but it doesn’t have to be.
Lay out a strip of plastic that is a few inches bigger on all sides than the bit of cloth you will be using.
Lay the cloth on top dry.
Pour on some clear epoxy
and wet out the cloth with a Bondo spreader.
When fully wetted out the cloth will be almost invisible. Then you can pick up the whole thing, plastic, cloth and epoxy
and apply it to the work, carefully placing it exactly where you want it. This is a huge advantage in places where you need to glass or repair an overhead surface.
You can now smooth the cloth out and drive any air bubbles out by simply running your fingers or a spreader over the plastic. No muss, no fuss and no need to get any on you or to have it running down the vertical surface.
At this point you can leave the plastic on and it will prevent any shifting or glue runs even if you have too much glue. When cured you can just pull it off and you’ll have a nice shiny smooth surface with no cloth pattern. If however you want as I did to go on and do the other three corners, you can pull it off now.
And re-smooth the cloth surface with your spreader. This will leave some cloth pattern but in this case I don’t care.
Here all four sides are done and there is no mess at all. My gloves aren’t even sticky.
Ok you may say, What’s so great about this simple trick? Well it’s about where you can take the concept.
Here’s another example from about ten years ago. One of my Harbour Ferries 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
After an hour or so I had fashioned a plywood piece to cover the break on the inside (way up under and behind the front seat backs), covered it with epoxy and squeezed it into place with a piece of reddi rod, some washers and some nuts.
Then I ran screws in through the hull into the new backer and removed the reddi rod. At this point the repair is about half done structurally but looked awful aesthetically.
So here’s where the trick comes in. I laid out a piece of plastic larger than the damaged area and laid up on it the following: First a layer of thickened epoxy, then a layer of six oz. cloth (a little smaller), then a piece of heavier bi-axial cloth (smaller again) all saturated in clear epoxy and finally a little more thickened epoxy. I took the whole patch and applied it to the “wound”. Then I screwed a layer of 1/4” plywood over the plastic. The plywood extended out past the damage and forced the epoxy/ cloth/ putty patch to form a fair curve and conform to the original shape of the hull in that area. By about 1:00 AM the job was done.
In the morning (about 6:00) I removed the 1/4 plywood, peeled the plastic, gave it a quick sanding and filled any screw holes with epoxy putty. It then looked like this.
When the boat performed the Harbour Ferry Ballet at 10:00 AM on Sunday the paint was still a little wet but it soon dried.
All this repair work in one night was only possible because of this little trick. I have used more or less the same procedure to repair all kinds of dings and bashes but this is the only one I have photos of.
Thanks for looking in.
All questions, comments, critiques are welcome.
-- Paul M ..............If God wanted us to have fiberglass boats he would have given us fiberglass trees. http://prmdesigns.com/