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Old 12-09-2018, 06:49   #1
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West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I am working on getting my new old boat back up to snuff. I have several fiberglass repairs ahead of me. So, I'm wondering, does anyone have experience with both West Systems and Total Boat epoxy?

West Systems has the history and reputation, but also a higher price.

Is it worth the difference in cost?
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Old 12-09-2018, 07:54   #2
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I've used both without issue. I also have used a lot of the 2 part fairing epoxy from TotalBoat and really like it.
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Old 12-09-2018, 08:43   #3
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I have used both. I prefer US Composites 635 THIN resin for all major layups and blister repair. It is all I keep on the boat, 3-gallon kits with pumps. This is professional grade for boat building. Lower cost too. I used this to fabricate a new rudder and to repair wet core using 3M micro balloons as filler. Photos on CF. Member Galleries - Cruisers & Sailing Photo Gallery


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Old 12-09-2018, 09:11   #4
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I've never used West system, but have used total boat 5 to 1 epoxy, and also their 2 to 1 penetrating epoxy, for numerous repairs.

I've always had great results, and no issues whatsoever. The epoxy is very strong, and sets up predictably.

I plan to keep using the Totalboat epoxy, and can't really see the benefit in paying more for West system myself.


Totalboat also has a lot of great repair and fabrication videos.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:05   #5
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I've used WEST System 105 epoxy extensively. It is super easy to get the correct proportions using the correct mini-plungers. What I like most is that it does not off-gas like some of the other epoxy/vinylester/polyester resins I've used. Works well with glass cloth and various fillers for different applications. The repairs I've made are much stronger than the original construction.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:15   #6
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

Epoxy is epoxy if it comes from a reliable source. The reason that West is so popular is that they have created a whole system of products, provide good literature on use, and itís widely available.

Iíve used West extensively and have a whole kit of various fillers and hardeners so I stick with it. If I run out or run low on one part I know I can easily get more.

That said I would not hesitate to use another brand if I needed a large quantity and was starting from scratch.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:20   #7
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

WEST System is 100% reliable and available just about everywhere. I've been using it for 40 years.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:34   #8
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

They are fully compatible with each other, it says something to that effect on the labels, as long as you are sticking with the same ratio (5:1) family. I recently blended WS & TB resins and hardeners for a project & used them with no issues. I had even blended WS fast hardener with TB slow.
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Old 12-09-2018, 10:49   #9
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

There are many brands of marine epoxy systems. I am looking up Total-boat online right now and what I am seeing is that it is about the same price as West. West systems "wrote the book" on epoxy construction and repair technique but that doesn't mean that they have a superior product. All of the brands provide engineering data for their marine epoxies that fall into the same parameters. There are subtle differences in cure time, viscosity, blushing, toxicity, and odor. There are different mix ratios, 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, 4:1, and 5:1 are all common. The important thing is to follow the mix ratio exactly, and treat every cured surface for amine blush before you continue. There are some specialty products worth using and for small repairs it is nice to have some West Gflex, which is 1:1 making it easy to eyeball very small batches. It can also bond most plastics but is harder to laminate with and has a long gel time. West is convenient because they have distributors everywhere, and the products are sold in different sized tins. I like to have some fast hardener and some extra slow hardener on hand. The West pump kit includes the 5:1 and 3:1 pump so you only need one pump kit to use the fast and extra slow. Or instead of extra slow, the 207 hardener which sets a little faster but has clear coating, anti blush, and some UV resistance (expensive though!). I would go with the West in this case because it is more convenient and about the same price. If I was doing a larger project I would look into Entropy Resins, Resin Research, or Mas. If you are doing a large budget project then look up E-Bond epoxy which you can get for less than $40. per gallon. The prices for West brand fillers are ridiculous. You can order generic bulk fillers online such as phenolic microballons, fumed silica (cabosil) and industrial talc. You can make your own chopped fibers and use sawdust in lieu of some fillers too. I hope this helps.
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Old 12-09-2018, 11:04   #10
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I have used West Systems, Total Boat and East Systems. Each one worked perfectly..

I've even used West Systems hardener in East Systems epoxy and vice versa. It worked absolutely fine. I would not recommend doing it, but I was curious and it was on a non structural component (I really should have been using polyester resin instead of expensive epoxy).

I don't think you can go wrong with any of those brands.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:00   #11
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1affiah View Post
They are fully compatible with each other, it says something to that effect on the labels, as long as you are sticking with the same ratio (5:1) family. I recently blended WS & TB resins and hardeners for a project & used them with no issues. I had even blended WS fast hardener with TB slow.
Never combine systems or add anything to WEST epoxy that was not specifically recommended by the formulator. This is just foolhardy and Mickey Mouse, a science experiment.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:22   #12
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

Quote:
Never combine systems or add anything to WEST epoxy that was not specifically recommended by the formulator
West system is only going to recommend using their brand of fillers (although they do endorse wood flour). Exclusively using their fillers is a good way to go broke!
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:35   #13
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
I am working on getting my new old boat back up to snuff. I have several fiberglass repairs ahead of me. So, I'm wondering, does anyone have experience with both West Systems and Total Boat epoxy?

West Systems has the history and reputation, but also a higher price.

Is it worth the difference in cost?

I have used both. I did not observe a difference in performance.


I have found that with careful shopping, there is little difference in the price of resin and hardener. Some of the best deals on West resin and hardener, for me, are local.


Similarly, I have not found that the Total Boat finish products are materially cheaper to purchase than e.g. Interlux if an effort is made to find the best deal.
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Old 12-09-2018, 12:57   #14
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

I forgot to mention that the US Composites 635 THIN is blush free. This means you can apply consecutive layers without washing, sanding. Better bonds between layers
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Old 12-09-2018, 13:16   #15
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Re: West Systems or Total Boat Epoxy?

If you miss the recoat time window, it is still crtical to sand to get a good bond even if you have a blush free epoxy!
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