Any advice on painting ply / epoxy for robust finish

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by kaymaran, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. kaymaran

    kaymaran Previous Member


    I've previously only worked with okoume and epoxy with a 2 pack varnish for a traditional finish like this
    traditional wooden finish.png

    which I really like but for my new trimaran project I am looking to get have a really glossy coloured finish (black with silver detailing) as it will be a much more modern looking dedicated trimaran.

    As a starting point I was going to put some black pigment into the epoxy on the outside and would then look for a very durable finish on top.

    Does anyone have any advice regarding specific paints and techniques?

    The thought with the pigment colouring is just in case of any scratches there would be a base colour in the epoxy.

    I have a friend who can do any spraying if that is appropriate.

    Also I have some thoughts on some logos that I would put on and can either get these as vinyl graphics through a car sign company a friend has but would these be remotely durable? Am I better off getting the design painted on?

    Finally would any suggested paint solutions be the final topcoat or do they then have a 2 pack varnish over the top as well?

    I am based in the UK so may not have access to some solutions if based on US or elsewhere knowledge but any and all advice / help greatly appreciated.
  2. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    DGreenwood Senior Member

    First some things to be aware of:
    Most laminating epoxies make lousy paint. They are not UV resistant and don't apply well or cure smooth without special treatments. You can clear coat over them with LPU and they will last pretty well. On carbon boats we usually clear coat many layers with AwlGrip 545 clear before applying a clear topcoat.

    Black paints get pretty damned hot in the sun. That sometimes causes an unexpected post cure resulting in print through. Make sure when you paint over glass and epoxy that you post cure before painting.

    Vinyl lettering stays on round the world race boats just fine so I think your boat will be just fine.. I am not sure if there is one brand more durable than the other.
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  3. kaymaran

    kaymaran Previous Member

    Thanks for that.

    Just trying to come up with a durable coloured finish in any colour pretty much really. I saw a Hugo Boss ship in black and silver and thought "very nice".

    Yes, well aware the epoxy not UV resistant - so I have used a 2 pack varnish previously which has proven to be quite amazingly durable dealing with running up onto rocky beaches on occasion very impressively.

    Can I just check what you said ref the awlgrip 545 - that is a primer I believe. How many coats would you put on? Then just one clear top coat - what would you then use for that?

    My local chandlerys don't seem to have many options - I'm calling pas them again tomorrow to see what they might have in.
  4. DGreenwood
    Joined: Aug 2004
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    Location: New York

    DGreenwood Senior Member

    Usually we put on the 545 and keep sanding it down until we are satisfied with the smoothness of the finish. You need some buildup to protect from UV so don't stop applying until you are satisfied you have covered everything (even the high spots) with the equivalent of two coats. Then a a two part LPU top coat. The better brands of 2 part LPU are pretty damned tough.I bought some industrial Benjamin Moore (American house paint company) LPU and was totally impressed at how tough this stuff was. Very easy to apply with a brush as well. I think we ended up at about $160 US per gallon. You do the calcs but for a small boat a litre kit will go a long way.
    I definitely recommend spraying the primer as it doesn't brush well but with a little practice, you can top the spray job with a brush.
  5. paxfish
    Joined: Dec 2014
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    Location: Southern Maryland

    paxfish Junior Member

    Just a note about end grain while it is in my head. Be sure ALL end grain ply is sealed with a layer of glass, not just resin. I've relearned this while exorcising a few panel that my previous owner made.

    It looks fine when you first build it, but without glass, the end grain will crack the resin, water will be wicked* and death of the panel soon follows.

    *-dbl entendre
  6. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    How about having the boat wrapped? More and more small beach cats are being wrapped instead of painted. It actually weighs less, and you can get incredibly detailed and elaborate 'paint jobs' for the same price as a basic color.

  7. keysdisease
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    keysdisease Senior Member

    The friend you have that can spray may have experience with an appropriate product like Imron. Ask him what he uses, he'll do a better job with a product he has experience with and Imron is a common high end catalyzed automotive paint, but very suitable for boats.

    545 is an excellent primer or conversion coat, you want to sand it at just the right time in the cure cycle where it will sand and powder off easily before it completely cures hard. For a small project like yours not a big deal, but will make sanding easier.

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