Cruisers Forum
 


Join CruisersForum Today

Reply
  This discussion is proudly sponsored by:
Please support our sponsors and let them know you heard about their products on Cruisers Forums. Advertise Here
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Rate Thread Display Modes
Old 03-06-2020, 13:11   #1
Registered User
 
StoneCrab's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2019
Posts: 221
Are more expensive epoxies better?

I'd like to hear from others about their experiences with different brands of epoxy. It seems that West Systems is the default for marine builds and repairs. It is expensive, but is it worth it?

There are many companies out there that just repackage epoxy from the big three. So who has the best epoxy at the lowest price?

Have you ever bought an off brand and wish you hadn't?
__________________

StoneCrab is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 13:19   #2
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,473
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

No. Most epoxy is equivalent for most projects. There are some special features (no blush, low viscosity for infusion, fast/slow, hand lamination formula), but basic epoxy is basic epoxy for most every use.

Any reasonable brand name for mission critical stuff, any brand at all for not so critical.

For instance, building my boat I used:

Mas Infusion Epoxy
System Three Silvertip Hand Laminating Epoxy
System Three General Purpose Epoxy
Raka Epoxy


I used the right one for the right job. Silvertip is formulated for lamination. So that’s what it was used for. General Purpose is a little more bendy/soft so it was used where that’s an advantage. Fairing was a lot of epoxy with no structural use at all so I gave Raka a try for that. Mas has a damn good infusion epoxy. It worked flawlessly.

I’d stay away from West for big projects. Not financially worthwhile.

If you’re looking for cheap, general purpose, it’s hard to beat Raka.
__________________

Chotu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 16:57   #3
Senior Cruiser

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: May 2013
Location: Oregon to Alaska
Boat: Wheeler Shipyard 83' ex USCG
Posts: 2,794
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

I only use West Systems because of experiences with the cheap stuff. I use to buy in 55 gallon drums so I used a lot and built whole hulls with it. Oldest ones are still going strong with no blisters, delamination, and other FG hull problems like you get with the cheaper epoxies and polyester resin.
Lepke is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 17:13   #4
Registered User

Join Date: Nov 2019
Posts: 1,521
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chotu View Post
No. Most epoxy is equivalent for most projects. There are some special features (no blush, low viscosity for infusion, fast/slow, hand lamination formula), but basic epoxy is basic epoxy for most every use.

Any reasonable brand name for mission critical stuff, any brand at all for not so critical.

For instance, building my boat I used:

Mas Infusion Epoxy
System Three Silvertip Hand Laminating Epoxy
System Three General Purpose Epoxy
Raka Epoxy


I used the right one for the right job. Silvertip is formulated for lamination. So thatís what it was used for. General Purpose is a little more bendy/soft so it was used where thatís an advantage. Fairing was a lot of epoxy with no structural use at all so I gave Raka a try for that. Mas has a damn good infusion epoxy. It worked flawlessly.

Iíd stay away from West for big projects. Not financially worthwhile.

If youíre looking for cheap, general purpose, itís hard to beat Raka.
I agree

You only need expensive , specialist resins for technical work

For general work go cheap

Viscosity is an issue ... check you chosen resin viscosity

Thin viscosity resins run out of heavy fabrics and are best for light weight fabrics and finish work
slug is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 17:23   #5
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,473
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepke View Post
I only use West Systems because of experiences with the cheap stuff. I use to buy in 55 gallon drums so I used a lot and built whole hulls with it. Oldest ones are still going strong with no blisters, delamination, and other FG hull problems like you get with the cheaper epoxies and polyester resin.
I’m sorry, but it’s nearly all the same stuff. It’s just BPA (the resin) and an aliphatic amine hardener. Only the tiniest of tweaks are made.

All the brands (except Raka) I listed are used in the absolute top of the line racing boats with carbon and pushed to the edge of their physical properties routinely. Especially Mas who has seen a lot of their product go into making carbon masts and 200’ tall wind turbine blades.

These products are all independently tested in labs for physical properties. These properties are on the spec sheets. Elongation, etc... They meet or exceed these properties.

There are no epoxy failures except user error.
Chotu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 17:29   #6
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: at home
Boat: no longer cf member
Posts: 254
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

I have been using system three for 20 years now, have literally used hundreds of gallons. Regular epoxy, silver tip and clear coat as well.
Early on I had a crazy mechanical engineer friend who had issues with west (Crazing in a barrier coat application) and he went deep into the research and found the elongational failure of west to be low. He put me onto system three and his word was good enough for me.
20 years and hundreds of gallons later and I believe it was good advice.
Merton's supply up in MA has been my supplier all these years and he is great.

I do not care to argue with trolls or those that do not agree, I simply do not care, just answering the OP.
Allied39 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 18:19   #7
Marine Service Provider

Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: St Augustine, FL
Boat: Woods Vardo 34 Cat
Posts: 3,543
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

I find all the resin it self to be basically the same. I have used very resin with many different companies hardener and it all works together. To me the hardener seems to be the main difference between companies.

Not sure I've every seen a hull built with "cheap epoxy" that had blistered. Does the previous poster have any pictures of that and records of the "cheap epoxy" used?
__________________
@mojomarine1
Boatguy30 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 18:31   #8
Registered User
 
snort's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Trunk (boot) of my car
Boat: Tinker Traveller...a dozen feet of bluewater awesomeness!
Posts: 1,147
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Raka was cheaper and worked just as well, so I've kept buying it.
snort is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 18:36   #9
Moderator
 
a64pilot's Avatar

Cruisers Forum Supporter

Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Jacksonville/ out cruising
Boat: Island Packet 38
Posts: 30,610
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

I think a lot of it has to do with the experience of the user. It’s sort of like Sailrite, a professional knows exactly what they need and don’t and can pick what they want in an old used way less expensive machine, but those of us who know next to nothing really benefit from Sailrites videos and customer support etc. it doesn’t make us a pro of course but can reduce a lot of the rework and disappointments.

Like those mixing pumps for instance
a64pilot is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 19:59   #10
Registered User
 
Jammer's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,446
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

I have used WEST and Total Boat (house brand at Jamestown Distributors). They are both good.


I can get WEST resin and hardener anywhere and it will always perform predictably.


For a $2500 boat project of which $500 is epoxy I am unwilling to experiment to save $100 or $200. I do a major project every couple of years and don't work with enough volume for it to be worth keeping up with vendors and products that come and go or that are cheap for a while and then get priced up. Total Boat is now very close to WEST in price, so why bother.
Jammer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 20:05   #11
Registered User

Join Date: Oct 2015
Posts: 927
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by StoneCrab View Post
I'd like to hear from others about their experiences with different brands of epoxy. It seems that West Systems is the default for marine builds and repairs. It is expensive, but is it worth it?

There are many companies out there that just repackage epoxy from the big three. So who has the best epoxy at the lowest price?

Have you ever bought an off brand and wish you hadn't?
CLEAR FG Coatings is just as good as WEST and has more varied selections. That Smith stuff is a regret. System 3 stuff varies in quality from can to can.
geoleo is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 03-06-2020, 21:35   #12
Registered User

Join Date: Dec 2011
Location: New York
Boat: Columbia 50
Posts: 387
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

I’ve stuck with system 3 silver tip, as it doesn’t blush (never has on me, anyway)

Last year I bought some cheap stuff from us composites - long cure, for a club boat-building project. The stuff practically NEVER set - took weeks.

Matt
mlydon is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 00:24   #13
Registered User

Join Date: Jan 2018
Posts: 2,473
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlydon View Post
Iíve stuck with system 3 silver tip, as it doesnít blush (never has on me, anyway)

Last year I bought some cheap stuff from us composites - long cure, for a club boat-building project. The stuff practically NEVER set - took weeks.

Matt
This is probably the most significant difference in epoxies used for hand lamination. Getting a non blushing formulation is key.

I have so much experience in this area, buying resin by the 55 gallon drum, that I can no longer go near epoxy as Iíve developed a severe allergy to it. Lol
Chotu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 05:03   #14
Registered User
 
Spot's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2019
Location: Minnesota, USA
Boat: 21' trailer sailor & 8' sailing dinghy
Posts: 398
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Here is what I have used:
-AdTech Probuild Marine (1 quart, gateway drug from polyester to epoxy)
-Resin Research Kwik Kick (3 gallons)
-Greenroom Old Number 7 (3 gallons)
-Custom Polymer Designs (same company as MAS) (1 gallon)

The last 3 are considered 'surfboard' epoxies, clearer formulations with some UV resistance and the Resin Research and Greenroom have optical brighteners so the leftovers in the cup end up looking light blue or green. I have been happy with all of them and try to follow the basic safety things as far as avoiding skin contact: gloves, not sanding until cured, and not using acetone for cleanup.

If I had to choose a lifetime supply of one at this moment I would pick Greenroom as it seems to be the most forgiving especially for clear top coats as used on surfboards. I like the CDP too, made locally, but I am not going through it enough to justify the minimum order of 7.5 gallons for a custom formulation.

The Greenroom was used on my dinghy that sits upside down outside. The epoxy did fine for 3 years in the sun provided there was cloth as part of the mix. Places where I had used the epoxy as 'paint' over bare wood gradually failed over the course of those three years, which has been attributed to lack of skin thickness (thanks to the member of CF that offered this theory) and the movement of the underlying wood causing the epoxy film to crack and allowing the wood to see moisture. I have seen this failure mode on other wood pieces with epoxy only too. Painting that boat should be on my list...

I have yet to try West, Raka, and System3.

I have thought about doing sample boards of each of the 3 I have left and leaving them outside for a year but I have not done that yet either.
__________________
Big dreams, small boats...
Spot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 04-06-2020, 06:13   #15
Registered User

Join Date: May 2014
Location: USA
Boat: 41' yawl
Posts: 937
Re: Are more expensive epoxies better?

Why is West is considered a premium epoxy?

I end up using it a lot because local hardware stores have it, but when I have projects planned I order "Basic No Blush" from Progressive Epoxy Polymers.

West System blushes - you need to wash before sanding to get rid of it so that your subsequent bond doesn't fail, and this washing step can be a pretty serious burden in certain tasks. I've had bonds fail when i skipped this step - i thought i'd get away with fairing some dips without washing first. The repairs, west on west, plopped right out.

I feel like I must be misunderstanding something significant because I can't imagine why we choose to live with blush when non-blushing epoxies with similar strength are readily available.
__________________

chris95040 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes Rate This Thread
Rate This Thread:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Underwater Epoxies thinwater Construction, Maintenance & Refit 3 08-10-2019 08:55
Epoxies snort Construction, Maintenance & Refit 9 12-06-2017 21:18
OceanMaster paints & epoxies Alii Construction, Maintenance & Refit 5 13-07-2014 19:18
mix and matching different epoxies northerncat Construction, Maintenance & Refit 7 06-05-2008 00:25
Expensive SSB Comm...? Any better...? CSY Man General Sailing Forum 8 26-12-2006 20:31

Advertise Here


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 12:58.


Google+
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Social Knowledge Networks
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

ShowCase vBulletin Plugins by Drive Thru Online, Inc.