E is for epoxy

Epoxy is magic. Maybe even black magic. Not really. It’s all chemical. Yes thanks to the miracle of better chemistry, a normal person in a normal garage with normal skills can mix up normal epoxy and pour it onto some fiberglass and get….a miracle.

Cedar is a fairly weak wood. I have always contended that boatbuilders can get away with cedar because while it gives shape and color, it is the overlying fiberglass and epoxy that really give the strength and stiffness that you expect in most conditions and applications.

Epoxy is easy to use, the only trick being to make sure you honor the ratio of resin to hardener. For West Systems GFlex that is 1:1. Couldn’t be easier. For MAS it is 2:1, that’s two parts resin to one part hardener. I make small batches for paddle blades so I usually will use kitchen measuring spoons and do two tbsps of water, pour them into a small mixing cup and make a line (blue to match the cap). Then one more tbsp of water into the same mixing cup and another line (this one red).

Paddle blades are small and epoxy expensive. Three tbsp is a good size for the first pour of epoxy. I let it dry and then do a second coat, still at the 2:1 ratio but now only three tsp total NOT tBsp, so its a much smaller batch. I infill and smooth out with the second pour. MAS is very low odor and very clear. Great stuff for indoor paddle making in the winter.


One thought on “E is for epoxy

  1. My idea of black adhesive magic is duct tape! Ha! I don’t use paddles but I think it is cool that you have developed this extensive knowledge and are sharing it. Enjoy the A to Z Challenge!

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