Epoxy economics:

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by bjl_sailor, Mar 25, 2005.

  1. bjl_sailor
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 66
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: MASS

    bjl_sailor Junior Member

    Hi All.

    I'm a cedar strip builder who has always used West Marine 105 epoxy. As my projects get larger and I start buying in the 'C' size I've been hit by the cost of this crucial component.

    Going by a well discounted Jamestown Dist Pricing SChedule, I can get:
    (5:1 mixing ratio 205 fast)

    (http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/ak/Epoxy/WEST_System_Epoxy/WEST_System_Epoxy_Hardeners/index.html)

    105C (4.35 gal) $266.40 + 205C (.94 gal) $96.90 = ~5gal @$363. or $73/gal
    105E (52 gal) $2210.80 + 205E $773.40 = ~55gal @ $2983. or $ $54/gal

    However:

    If I use US Composite Epoxy, their "635 Thin Epoxy", the price points are as follows: (http://www.shopmaninc.com/epoxy.html)
    (4:1 ratio Fast)

    6.25 gallons resin/catylists @ $182.00 or $29.00/gal
    25 gallons @652.00 or $26.00/gal


    Obviously the cost savings are huge. My questions are these:

    Are these truelly comparable products? ( i've heard most epoxies come from 1 or several industiral suppliers and then its 'reblended' by the Sytem III's, MAS's and the WEST's out there )?

    Has anyone have any hands on experience with this specific US composite E635 thin resin?

    Are there other better/cheaper sources for resin in 20 to 55 gallon buying increments?
     
  2. Rod T
    Joined: Mar 2005
    Posts: 10
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    Location: Olympia, WA

    Rod T Junior Member

    After reading your post I came up with more questions than answers. Are you doing clear stripped cedar canoes? If you are -what are you using as a UV inhibitor for the epoxy? By West Marine do you mean West Systems?

    Afew comments- In your case as I percieve it the brand of epoxy and strength of epoxy is not critical. The West System has always seemed like exspensive epoxy to me and has the most amine blush of them all. I used system Three which you can buy straight from (Seattle) but they are also a little more exspensive than some others. they do have a good clear coat that has UV inhibitors and they recommend for cedar stripped boats. I do not know the price. Regards thick versus thin epoxy- I would get a little of each and try them and see which meets your needs, watching for good fill of weave, good wet out, and no resin starvation and UV protection . I know some one who coated a wood mast with West system and a couple of years later was cussing like crazy as UV tore the epoxy up .

    I hope this is some help
    Rod
     
  3. bjl_sailor
    Joined: May 2004
    Posts: 66
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: MASS

    bjl_sailor Junior Member

    I'm doing a 19' strip planked sailboat right now. ( and prior to that a 12' =cedar strip dinghy) it will be finished clear with spar varnish over the clear fiberglass and epoxy for UV protection. The hull is finished and I am now epoxy-ing the bulkheads, stringers and sub deck. Next project: I am about to under take a 40' Dudley Dix designed radius ply boat and this will require several hundred gallons of epoxy -- so I am looking for the best price performance point.

    I've been working only with low viscosity WEST system, thckening as needed for fillets and fairing. I work in only a party controled climate in MA so the coldness requires me to keep the resin warmed by means of a rigid foam insulation box and a 60 watt light bulb.
     

  4. rustnrot
    Joined: Aug 2002
    Posts: 6
    Likes: 0, Points: 0, Legacy Rep: 10
    Location: Augusta, GA

    rustnrot Junior Member

    I have been using US Composites epoxy for some time now and it is a good product. I have used the "thin" resin for laminating fabrics and the "thick" for mixing in fillers for fillets and glueing together scantlings. In the winter here (in Georgia) I use the medium cure and in the summer (+90 degrees in my shop) I use the slow cure. Keep in mind I mix a quart or so at a time for laminating and must still work fairly quickly with such a large mass in the pot. Their slow cure is the best I have used for the high temps we get here in GA in the summer. I would say US Composites medium cure compares to slow in the West Systems arena as far as kicking off. I was thinking of going to vinylester but US Composites epoxy is comparable in price..........or even slightly cheaper.
     
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