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Old 12-01-2012, 09:30   #1
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Fiberglass Help

Hello group,

I'm looking for a little help in the fiberglassing department.
I have an 8ft fiberglass dinghy that is in need of some repair. I have will be using West System for the resin and was told by several people I need to buy a special or certain type of cloth when using West System. Can someone shed some more light on this subject for me. I'm also looking for a good place to purchase cloth online to start making the repairs. Any suggestions?

Thanks for your help
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Old 12-01-2012, 09:38   #2
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Re: Fiberglass Help

West Marine.com BnC
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:04   #3
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Re: Fiberglass Help

I have built two fiberglass over wook kayaks and never heard of a special type of cloth that needs to be used with West Systems (which I used for both projects). Fiberglass cloth and tape were used in these boats. I also used chopped matt in a recent rudder repair with west with good results. Surface prep in any repair is key, you want to makes sure to get plenty of surface area of good glass roughed up all around your repair for the patch to stick to. West has lots of good on-line tutorials to review. Check out www.jamestowndistributors.com for supplies too.
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Old 12-01-2012, 10:07   #4
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You do not need to use West System cloth with West System Epoxy. All maker of resin will say that you need to use their products. I've been doing fg work for many years and have always used the same brand of fg with all of the resins. The only time that it really maters is of you are doing vacuum infusion. Then the products need the have the right formula. If you have any other questions pm me I would be glad to help.
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Old 12-01-2012, 12:12   #5
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Re: Fiberglass Help

Thanks all for the help!
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Old 17-01-2012, 10:53   #6
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Re: Fiberglass Help

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric M View Post
I have built two fiberglass over wook kayaks and never heard of a special type of cloth that needs to be used with West Systems (which I used for both projects). Fiberglass cloth and tape were used in these boats. I also used chopped matt in a recent rudder repair with west with good results. Surface prep in any repair is key, you want to makes sure to get plenty of surface area of good glass roughed up all around your repair for the patch to stick to. West has lots of good on-line tutorials to review. Check out www.jamestowndistributors.com for supplies too.
Not advised CSM (Chopped Strand Mat) usually has an emulsion to bind it that the styrene in polyester is designed to dissolve, since epoxy contains ammonia and not styrene that emulsion becomes a comtaminate.
Any woven glass mat without additives can be used with epoxy, however there is a catch if you use a different manufacturer of mat and a different manufacturer of resin and it all goes pearshaped, you'll not have a leg to stand on.
If you follow manufacturers guidlines to a tee using all their products and it still goes pearshaped at least then you have some sort of warranty, resin manufacturers can get it wrong too from time to time!
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Old 17-01-2012, 11:28   #7
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Re: Fiberglass Help

Volan coated glass is recommended with epoxy but all the manufacturers make it.
+1 on chopped strand mat. Do not use with epoxy. See here.
Fiberglass Information - Fiberglass Warehouse
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Old 17-01-2012, 11:48   #8
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Re: Fiberglass Help

Chopped strand mat used to have a binder that was insoluble in Epoxy. Believe they have long ago changed the type of binder they are using so it is now compatable with Epoxy. I haven't had any problems using mat with epoxy in the last couple of years, in any case. Have always used alternating layers of mat and cloth/roving. Wouldn't use mat by itself except in very limited circumstances where only it would conform to the shape.

Doing a layup without mat is foolish IMO. The matt fills in the little dips in the weave of the cloth, especially with roving, and makes for a much stronger layup with less resin.

There is a cloth/matt combination that has the matt stitched to the cloth. Way easier to lay up and it's epoxy compatible. It's the only material I use, now. Believe it's called Biax
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Old 17-01-2012, 12:00   #9
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Re: Fiberglass Help

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Chopped strand mat used to have a binder that was insoluble in Epoxy. Believe they have changed the type of binder they are using so it is now compatable with Epoxy. I haven't had any problems suing mat with epoxy in the last couple of years.

Doing a layup without mat is foolish IMO. The matt fills in the little dips in the weave of the cloth, especially with roving, and makes for a much stronger layup with less resin.

There is a cloth/matt combination that has the matt stitched to the cloth. Way easier to lay up and it's epoxy compatible.

The binder in CSM is and always has been starch. It is NOT incompatible with epoxy, ie it will cause no problems with bonding. The problem is that starch as a binder was developed for use with poly resin, not epoxy. Poly resin dissolves the starch slowly, giving you about 5 minutes to get it to lay down and begin to roll out nicely. However, epoxy dissolves the starch almost instantly, which means your CSM will not want to stay in a "sheet" form any more and will quickly start to stick to your air roller and clump up, as it has no binder anymore. The fact that matt fills the weave in a laminate is one reason most epoxy layups are vacuum bagged, you can't use matt (at least no proffesional would), and bagging causes there to be no gaps in the weave which the CSM would normally be needed to fill. We have had this conversation before.
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Old 17-01-2012, 12:12   #10
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Re: Fiberglass Help

Some subjects are worth repeating as new information is shared by new members. I've always wondered why there was such a controversy about using mat with epoxy. Now I know. It's the binder. I've always used epoxy with alternate layers of mat, cloth or roving and never had a problem so I must have been doing something right. I did try a roller on the mat once or twice and found it to be a "no go" pretty quickly. Now I roll the cloth on top the mat and it works fine.
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Old 17-01-2012, 12:44   #11
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Re: Fiberglass Help

Starch Emulsion to stabilize or Binder, same thing, it depends on which side of the Atlantic you're on.
One of my lectrurers was a guy who was a troubleshooter for a major marine paint and resin company. Whenever anything went wrong, professional or DIY, he dealt with it.
His first demand was a work journal, materials, sequence, ratios and working environments.
75% of the professionals he went to visit as they mostly played by the rules.
75% of the DIYers he hung up on as the didn't follow the tech sheets or guidelines therefore he had no obligation to pursue it further.
If you want a successful repair, modern resin methods are a science and have to be treated that way.
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Old 17-01-2012, 12:45   #12
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Re: Fiberglass Help

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Some subjects are worth repeating as new information is shared by new members. I've always wondered why there was such a controversy about using mat with epoxy. Now I know. It's the binder. I've always used epoxy with alternate layers of mat, cloth or roving and never had a problem so I must have been doing something right. I did try a roller on the mat once or twice and found it to be a "no go" pretty quickly. Now I roll the cloth on top the mat and it works fine.
Yes, as long as you encapsulate the matt between layers of cloth it can work out OK. The real issue here is squeegeeing. Most people doing an epoxy laminate are not using a dedicated laminating resin, so they are using a relatively high viscosity multi-purpose resin like regular WEST or System 3 or MAS. With any epoxy lam, but particularly with lams done with these resins, you must squeegee out excess resin in the laminate. Proper sqeegee work can be difficult to do on a laminate with any matt in it, as the matt will cause bunching in the weave and a rich laminate. Basically if you do it right you'll be sqeegeeing matt out of the laminate around the edges. It also provides relatively little strength for the much higher weight of laminate it creates, ie the equivalant amount of resin required to wet out the CSM could be used to much better effect in a laminate with woven fibers. I use a dedicated laminating resin from WEST for epoxy layups, Proset, and I still would never use even a stitch matt DB1708 in an epoxy layup. There's just no "up" side to it in a good epoxy laminate. And I burn test my laminates myself.
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