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Old 01-09-2020, 08:59   #1
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Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

Ok. I built this hatch from oak, cedar strips and plywood. It has two layers of fiberglass too top and bottom.

I installed the hatch this spring and gave it at least 3 coats of varnish. I was going to give it some more but never got around to it with all the other work I'm doing.

Now, the hatch is sun bleached and it's hard to see the cedar strips any more. HELP! I tried sanding it down with 100 grit sandpaper yesterday and put a new coat of resin on it but it really didn't bring back the full appearance. Is there any hope to restore the hatch to it's original beauty without stripping it all the way back?
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:43   #2
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

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Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
Ok. I built this hatch from oak, cedar strips and plywood. It has two layers of fiberglass too top and bottom.

I installed the hatch this spring and gave it at least 3 coats of varnish. I was going to give it some more but never got around to it with all the other work I'm doing.

Now, the hatch is sun bleached and it's hard to see the cedar strips any more. HELP! I tried sanding it down with 100 grit sandpaper yesterday and put a new coat of resin on it but it really didn't bring back the full appearance. Is there any hope to restore the hatch to it's original beauty without stripping it all the way back?
Iím sorry. There is no hope aside from stripping it all the way back.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:52   #3
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

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Originally Posted by Bigjim View Post
Ok. I built this hatch from oak, cedar strips and plywood. It has two layers of fiberglass too top and bottom.

I installed the hatch this spring and gave it at least 3 coats of varnish. I was going to give it some more but never got around to it with all the other work I'm doing.

Now, the hatch is sun bleached and it's hard to see the cedar strips any more. HELP! I tried sanding it down with 100 grit sandpaper yesterday and put a new coat of resin on it but it really didn't bring back the full appearance. Is there any hope to restore the hatch to it's original beauty without stripping it all the way back?
That stinks. Nice hatch though.

How thorough was your sanding? No expert here but I might try a very thorough sanding working my way up to 220 grit, then seeing how it looks wet w/ mineral spirits, if it's still cloudy then I'd get onto material removal.

I like using a heat gun and a flat blade scraper to bomb through varnish but i've never done that with wood that has fiberglass over it, I suspect that might be a challenge.
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Old 01-09-2020, 09:54   #4
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

No, sadly. You will have to sand it down to bare wood and start over. I would suggest a heavier grade of sandpaper for this. 60 or 40 grit to start. I like to coat with epoxy then varnish for UV protection. Actually, that's not true. I like to paint and forget it, but I understand that it hard when you have a beautiful piece of work like your hatch.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:01   #5
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

You can give it one over with tinted varnish. It will cost you next to nothing.


Alas, in my limited experience the way to do it is strip GENTLY all old coats and start from ground zero.


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Old 01-09-2020, 10:33   #6
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

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No, sadly. You will have to sand it down to bare wood and start over. I would suggest a heavier grade of sandpaper for this. 60 or 40 grit to start. I like to coat with epoxy then varnish for UV protection. Actually, that's not true. I like to paint and forget it, but I understand that it hard when you have a beautiful piece of work like your hatch.
Side question: what paint would you use for this? How would you prep to have it come out beautiful? How long would the paint last?
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:41   #7
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

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Side question: what paint would you use for this? How would you prep to have it come out beautiful? How long would the paint last?
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:48   #8
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

UV damage is permanent, you may need to grind the fiberglass off all the way back to bare wood and build up again.

Note that you need to use a special hardener for this: 207 https://www.westsystem.com/207-special-clear-hardener/which has UV inhibitors but still needs protection from quality varnish like Epifanes or Awlgrip.
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:56   #9
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

hard to tell what happened. has the base coat lifted from the wood? i can see it is much lighter but the sun can bleach wood even thru the varnish. clear epoxy is not good by itself since it has no UVA stabilizers like varnish
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Old 01-09-2020, 10:58   #10
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

The top cells of the wood are sun bleached. You really need at least 8 coats of a good varnish to slow the bleaching, and recoat a couple of coats at least one a year. To restore, you need to remove all surface coating, including the glass cloth, and sand the wood until you get close to the color. You can use a heat gun to remove the resin and glass cloth. Once to the wood, sand with 80 grit. Anything more coarse will just grind through the wood to quickly. You could, if you wanted to, stain it with Mohawk Ultra Penetrating stain, which is a stain that is compatible with epoxy. You would have to sand to 220 to remove swirl marks. The key though, is to get many coats of a good UV protective varnish on it. Worth the effort to preserve your woodworking.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:54   #11
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

Nice woodworking.
Which epoxy, which varnish, how much fiberglass?
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:30   #12
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

I’ve spent hours removing West System 207 which after a year began to lift and discolor. I will never use that system again. Some was applied in a controlled environment and failures showed up almost as much as that done in the marina.
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Old 02-09-2020, 08:40   #13
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

Heat gun and scraper works well to take all the varnish and resin off the wood. Then sand as necessary up to 220 grit.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:00   #14
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

3 coats of varnish wasn't enough, but you know that now.
I've seen recommendations for 6-8 coats as a minimum.
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Old 02-09-2020, 09:38   #15
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Re: Screwed up the epoxy. Help?

A beautiful piece of woodwork. I wonder if you might do well to take it down to the wood and forget the epoxy. Varnish it and maintain the varnish annually with crocus cloth and a fresh coat.
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