Epoxy Tips

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Added 03/10/2004

Dear Folks,

I want to learn how to use epoxy. I am really dumb about this
subject and have only watched others do the chemistry. Lance uses
the West system on just about everything. I have watched him mix the
brew up, measuring carefully, mixing, etc. I'm one those guys that
just wants to mix the gray stuff with the white stuff 1:1 and slap it
on. Epoxy is wonderful stuff and I want to learn how to use it. Can
any of you experts out there give a little tutorial on the subject
that might help me out?

You know, part of boat ownership is doing many upgrades and repairs
yourself, or you pay someone else to do it. I have so far had my
hands in electrical, mechanical, plumbing, structural, paint,
carpentry... just about everything.... and its been a real learning
experience over the past 4 years.

Would sure appreciate the help.


Dennis Lancaster 26mk2 "Legacy"
Bellingham, Wash.

After you send away for all the free and cheap sample packs from the
big boys and learn all about epoxy, then turn to FCI (Fiberglass
Coatings Inc.) to buy it (and all the other stuff) at a fair price.

WEST is the most overpriced crap out there. All you're paying for is
their hype, and their "system", which is to sell you everything you
need, from gloves and rollers to fillers and the epoxy itself at
twice the generic price. There are only two or three huge companies
out there that actually MAKE the resins and chemicals (DuPont, Shell,
etc)...everyone else is just buying in bulk and re-packaging.

I've been using FCI and referring people there for well over 10-12
years now, never had any complaints yet. Try less than $65 for TWO
GALLONS of their 1:1. They make mixes from 1:1 up thru 5:1. I just
recently bought about $1000 worth of epoxy when I was out there,
altho I usually deal with them by mail order.

And speaking of that. 1:1 is easy to mix, not fussy, and plenty
strong enough for any use aboard, from making glue to laying up cloth
or filleting and fairing. Many of the pros are turning against WEST
and the other 5:1 mixes because they are too brittle. For use in a
ply and epoxy water or fuel tank, you might consider 3:1. but it's not
necessary, the 1:1 worked fine for me, as well as many others.

Another plus of FCI is that you use the same resin base with all the
hardeners, so you can buy one type of resin, then a variety of
catalysts from 1:1 to 5:1.

They have an online epoxy basics manual, as well as one included in
their printed catalog. www.FGCI.com

I suggest Harbor Freight (www.harborfreight.com) for boxes of
disposable nitrile gloves, brushes, etc.

Don't get the googe on your skin, and don't breathe the sanding dust.
The fumes themselves are OK to breathe, relatively speaking.

Epoxy is FUN! Mike Keers

Mike Keers told it right.  FCI products are the best value and the
easiest to use.
WEST is o.k., nut very expensive and it helps to buy the pumps, which
are extra.
To use FCI epoxies, I buy disposable graduated plastic cups for, I
think, 10 cents apiece.  BOAT/US sells these same  cups for $6 for
four of them!!  Is this not price gouging?
These prices are also reflected in the epoxy and other products as
As Mike said, the epoxy is half the price of WEST System. Boat/US
sells 6-ounce 38" wide  fiberglass cloth for $8.99 per yard. At FCI,
it's $4.15. 
Looking in both catalogs, a yard of 38" wide woven roving at Boat/US
costs $13.49.  Same stuff at FCI, runs $3.55.
BOAT/US  4"cloth tape, 10 yds, costs $13.49.  At FCI, you can buy a
whole 50-yard roll for $37.50.
Plus, the FCI people are much more knowledgeable than anybody at
BOAT/US or West Marine.  The WEST System people are very helpful and
knowledgeable. The FCI catalog contains a wealth of information.
Their phone number is 800-272-7890.
Web site: www.fgci.com

Check it out, save yourself a bundle, if you have a big job, or just
need one gallon.
Steve Gaber
C-31 Sanderling, #77
Oldsmar, FL