Thursday July 25, 2013
July 25, 2013 in Uncategorized
The Use of Epoxy in Wooden Boats:
There are “mixed feelings” among Ontario’s wooden boat builders/restorers, regarding the use of epoxy. Some traditionalists in the field shy away from any use of this “high tech” material, while others welcome epoxy as a powerful weapon in the battle against wood rot and deterioration. Two of the most important questions to ask regarding epoxy use are:
a) When is it to be used?
b) How is it to be used?
In discussions with two experienced professional restorers/builders…Dwight Boyd of Clarion Boats and Paul Hunter of Blackbird Boat Works… I learned that both companies use epoxy extensively on new builds. The use of epoxy in restorative work is another matter. Dwight commented that he would generally only use epoxy in a restoration as an adhesive; to scarf together sections of ribs, or a long keel , for example. Paul would also withhold the use of epoxy on a restoration, unless he was replacing an entire hull (as a “for instance”) in which case, the whole “shebang”… ribs, frame and planking, could be encapsulated. Both Dwight and Paul spoke of the necessity of creating a very strong, rigid, structure, that would resist bending and cracking.
The photos below show the Blackbird Boats system of hull construction…three cold molded layers of 1/4 inch marine plywood, epoxied together, with an under layer of mahogany planking, also epoxied to the plywood and reinforced by a layer of 10 ounce fiberglass cloth. In the hull of a Blackbird boat, no screws remain in the hull upon completion. There is virtually no flex in a completed Blackbird boat hull.
The use (and misuse) of epoxy in wooden boat restoration is an important topic. More will be written on this subject over the next few months. We welcome comments from any “woody enthusiasts” who have had experience with epoxy and/or polyester resins. Please email us….contact (at) portcarlingboats.com