How To: Four ways to ‘make do and mend’ when working with epoxy
The epoxycraft team are always learning about interesting tips and tricks for working with epoxy. We’re amazed at the resourcefulness out there in our community.
For instance, Sarah at Sharp and Enright remembers recommending epoxy to reinforce the front panel of a bath; it worked a treat! Joan and Ted of Bear Mountain Boats, meanwhile, told us that whenever something breaks in their house, someone shouts “get the epoxy out!” It’s true – because it’s so strong, epoxy will always bond well.
Below, we’ve compiled a handful of tips and tricks that we’ve gathered together from the interesting conversations we’ve had over recent months. Are you ready to be inspired?
1. Use cable ties for stitching
The traditional method for stitch-and-glue boat construction uses copper for stitching. However, Hanneke Boon of James Wharram Designs recommends using cable ties. “They’re cheap, easy to use and they’re softer than copper wire,” she says.
That being said, if you want to use copper wire, Hanneke says you can always “remove copper windings from old electric motors”. How resourceful is that?
2. Use a caulking gun for filleting
This is another of Hanneke’s top tips to make filleting even easier. “If you’re making fillets, you typically lean into the boat which can push it and distort it, so the finish is not quite square,” she says. “The stem of a boat can be quite hard to get into, for instance. So what we do is get an empty caulking cartridge, clean it out thoroughly, put epoxy in there and use it as a nice fine nozzle, just squirting it into the joints. It’s much easier to reach into tight places this way and it works beautifully.”
3. Fix an old boat cover with a t-shirt
Our very own technical expert Gary Thompson also had an ingenious idea recently for fixing a boat cover that got torn in a storm. “I thoroughly cleaned the cover. Then I cut an old t-shirt into strips and wet it out using G/flex® 650 epoxy, applying it to the tear with peel ply,” he explains. “The result is very strong, waterproof, flexible and it probably only cost about £20. A new cover would cost in the region of £150.”
4. Use simple weights when laminating
If, like most amateur boatbuilders, you’re not in possession of vacuum equipment for laminating, fear not – you can find other ways to weight your project down more than effectively. “We’ve never used vacuum pressure because we didn’t have the equipment,” says Hanneke. “Instead we use weights like water tanks and jerry cans, which we stand on top of whatever we’re laminating. We laminated a beautiful balsar curved cabin that way.”
Do you have any clever tricks for working resourcefully with epoxy resin? Email them to ShivaniS@thewm-group.com, and your tip may feature in an upcoming article on epoxycraft!