Subject: More questions than a 5 year old.
Date: Sun, 14 Dec 1997

Hi, I am one of two wood specialists working for a small boatyard in Norfolk Va. Currently we are restoring or rehabing 5 wooden boats, ranging from a 1936 8-meter sailboat (found in a New York City junkyard!!!) to a 1966 45' Owens Aruba. As you can imagine, we run through epoxy. On one of our projects, a 1962 33' Century that has been refastened and partially replanked, is now getting new decks. The owner just wants us to use plywood and epoxy for these decks, as they are going to be painted. I read your site with great interest, but it raised some questions for me concerning this project.

Normally, using west system, we would thin the epoxy with acetone to get better penetration into the plywood, then we would layer on epoxy and cloth to give the top surface both durability and flexibility. Looking at your product, I wondered how far it would penetrate 1/2 inch ply, and if the glues prevented the penetration. Also, is it still necessary to cloth the plywood? Cloth is used mainly because west system alone is too brittle and will crack and loose its seal. How would you proceed in this case?

Well, when you get into thinning standard epoxy with acetone, the penetration is going to depend on how thin the final mixture is. So, we cannot say that the Clear Penetrating Epoxy Sealer (CPES) is going to penetrate any further than the thinned West. We believe it does, but cannot at this point prove it. In a few weeks we're putting up on our web site a whole new section where we tested CPES vs. a standard unthinned epoxy and 2 other nationally advertised products that claim to restore rotted wood. The CPES penetrated up to 20 inches in soft balsa beams; the nearest competitive products penetrated 3.5 inches. This was partly due to the composition of the product, but also due in large part that the CPES set-time was much longer than the competition -- it just had more time to get where it needed to go.

The other issue here is the nature of the epoxy that you are putting in and on the wood. As we clear state on our web site, our basic epoxy resin is derived principally from wood pulp, and therefore has a different amine structure that makes it tougher and more flexible. This may not matter if you are constructing a boat, but we believe it is a very desireable feature when working with wood repair/restoration.

As far as the actual mechanics of restoration, I would do nothing any differently with our products than you would with West. Our epoxy is not so brittle as West and the other petro-derived epoxies, but the cloth is still a needed structural/dispersion component, especially on decks which can take a lot of abuse -- as you know! With our products, you're just going to get better penetration (especially into splits, cracks and end-grain) and a more durable and flexible finish. If the owner insists that you use no cloth, then yes, our products would definitely be better. In that case, I would simply soak the plywood with a couple of coats of the CPES and then go back over it with a high-quality epoxy paint. But I would warn him that the cloth and resin will give him a much sturdier structure.

Nextly, how strong are the corners on the pieces that have been epoxied? We would normally put a 1/2 inch round on a corner that was getting cloth, for both adhesion and strength purposes. I am curious as to the durability of epoxied wood on its edges (using your product).

Again, our will be more durable, but I wouldn't give up the 1/2 inch round. Within reason, you can't do too much to insure longevity of the finished restoration.

Also, what are the drying times on your warm weather and cold weather formulas? Are they dependent on humidity levels? Naturally, I am only looking for a loose range of time.

Drying times are longer than other epoxies, because it allows greater penetration. The CPES at 70 degrees has a pot life of 2 hours and a full cure time of 2 days; at 50 degrees this goes to 4 hours and 4 days. We have a Cold Weather formula with a pot life of 2 hours at 50 degrees and a full cure time of 2.5 days; at 32 degrees this goes to 4 hours and 4 days.

We often apply wood, cloth or epoxy resin on top of the CPES before full cure time. The molecular bonding between the epoxies goes on anyway. And yes, West or other petro-based epoxies bond just fine with the CPES.

No, humidity plays no major factor in the cure or final finish of any of our epoxy products.

Thank You,
Kathy O.
Norfolk Boat Works


Congratulations to you guys for your good work on the old wooden boats! As far as our CPES is concerned, it seems to me that when you consider that you are paying about $94.00 (Warm Weather Formula) for 2 gallons of mixed product, this has to come close to the West prices, and it's a whole lot easier. Mix 50:50 and spread it on, that's all. Re-cap the cans and they'll keep for a couple of years, no problem. And you're using a better product that will give you better penetration, or so we believe.

Come back at me if I haven't answered all your questions.


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