How to clean epoxy from brushes?

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by sandman1984, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Ssor
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    Ssor Senior Member

    When you have an empty can, mark it "used" and when you clean a brush pour the solvent into the "used" can. Then next time use the dirty solvent for the first rinse and pour it back into the "used" can and do the final rinse with fresh solvent and save it. It makes the solvent go a lot farther.
     
  2. SuperPiper
    Joined: Jan 2003
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    SuperPiper Men With Little Boats . .

    Into The Freezer

    On a long day of glassing, I store the brush in the freezer during beer breaks. It is stiff when I pull it out, but it softens again as it warms up.

    One brush can last the whole day even though the first applications have hardened. This implies that the liquid epoxy acts as a solvent to keep the brush soft.
     
  3. Ssor
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    Ssor Senior Member


    Freezing just delays the cure. you may even place the unused portion of your mixed epoxy in the freezer to delay the cure.
     
  4. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I use a similar trick with paint, though with the 'fridge. I've kept acrylic and oil based paint soaked brushes for several days in the beer storage device. I rarely mix more epoxy then I need, so keeping a brush wet, or saving a lump of unused goo usually isn't necessary.
     
  5. BOATMIK
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    BOATMIK Deeply flawed human being

    vinegar works!

    But any traces of it left in the brush will stop the next lot you apply from going off!!!
     
  6. Ssor
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    Ssor Senior Member


    A very good reason not to use it(vinegar).
     
  7. BOATMIK
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    BOATMIK Deeply flawed human being

    Maybe not for brushes, but often quite useful for other items that can be rinsed or dried easily. A couple of good examples are clothes or self.

    Boatmik
     
  8. Ssor
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    Ssor Senior Member


    Granted.:)
     
  9. wdnboatbuilder
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    wdnboatbuilder Senior Member

    Lacqure thinner will do it every time. you will have to clean two or three times but works well.
     
  10. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    I usually work the resin out of my brushes with vinegar, then let them soak in an old fridge in the garage in a can of laquer thinner or paint thinner. This gets rid of the vinegar affects.

    Steve
     
  11. jonsailor
    Joined: Sep 2005
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    jonsailor Boat designer/builder

    We use vinegar but on a quality control and workshop efficiency, toss them, it costs more in labour and materials to clean them. Home builders...go for it, vinegar if used quickly works great on hands and tools, the trick is to clean early.
    Best trick is to start moving up a step and use peel ply and a squeege to stop the use of brushes. Most work can be pre wet out on a table when a small tabing job is required, or lay-up with a squeege. You will get a better resin ratio job and less air in the mix from froth
     
  12. War Whoop
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    War Whoop Senior Member

    The Guys who recommend Acetone are right also clean the brushes of excess epoxy with a roller and squeegee then acetone leave them submerged in a deep Metal container with a metal lid …plastic forget it!! They will keep a very long while.
     
  13. LP
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    LP Flying Boatman

    I'm going pull this thread out and "brush" the dust off of it. :D

    I've been using the "dirty acetone bath", "clean acetone rinse" method in cleaning my chip brushes of epoxy. Typically, it takes less than an ounce of fresh acetone to clean a brush. Recently though, I started getting some solids in my dirty can and was concerned that I was introducing particulates into my brushes (even though they were getting a "clean" rinse). I started looking for a cheap method of filtering my dirty acetone to keep it particulate free.

    I tried a coffee filter, but it proved to be rather slow. I eventually tried a folder paper towel and it worked very well. I folded it on the diagonal and again in half. Then opened it into a funnel. I can strain the acetone as I pour it into my cleaning dish and as I pour it back into the can. As an added bonus, I have a nicely wetted paper towel to wipe the epoxy off of my gloved hands. Maybe, I'll get some added life out of the goves, too!

    One comment on saving materials. To me, the best way to build epoxy thickness is with a foam roller. Coverage is very uniform and runs are almost non-existent. The problem is that cleaning a roller is not possible. I've been using the freezer technique to extent the life of my foam rollers. Generally, I run a series of three build coats so the roller goes into a baggie and goes into the freezer. The roller comes out before I start mixing and it stays in the baggie until there is no more condensation formation. I use it and throw it back in the freezer to wait for the next coat.
     
  14. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    A good grade of lacquer thinner cleans epoxy from brushes perfectly. Lacquer thinner conains a mix of a ketone solvent (like acetone or MEK), an aromatic solvent (like toluene or xylene) and an alcohol. But with boxes of disposable chip brushes as cheap as they are, how many times can you clean a brush before you've consumed its value in solvent? If you cleaned it out perfectly after every use, it would still probably only last though 3 or 4 layups anyway, before it is simply worn out. My 2 cents.

    Jimbo
     

  15. Frog4
    Joined: Oct 2011
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    Frog4 Proletariat

    thanks ALL for the tips on the Harbor Freight chip brushes and the vinegar trick ...
     
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