Alternative to Epoxy for Monte Carlo

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clearlakepelican
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Alternative to Epoxy for Monte Carlo

Post by clearlakepelican »

In my world of antique boat restoration, epoxy and encapsulation are rapidly passing from the history books in favor of 5200 adhesive.

In building the Glen-L Monte Carlo, although I have epoxyed up the frames I am considering (considering, not decided yet) relying on epoxy for structural members-- frames, scarfs, laminations-- and 5200 for stringers to frames, applying plywood to frames, plywood laminations to plywood laminations, and 1/8th (or 1/4th) veneer to the plywood for the final finish. More flex, similar strength.

After disassembling and assembling several classic plywood Higgins that were glued and screwed, not epoxied, that have lasted 50 years or so-- perhaps this would be a better solution than the "if it's wood, encapsulate it" methods that have worked in the past.

It is already common to use 5200 in plywood laminations on bottoms with classic restorations, why not extend the process to sides and decks in a Glen-L plan and get on with it.

I don't think there are really cost improvements- epoxy isn't cheap but neither are cases of 5200-- but to my logic there is an advantage to the flex and more forgiving nature of 5200.

The only possible negative I would imagine is that the frame structures in Glen-L plans are formulated to provide the requisite strength as a "system" as epoxied but would have to be changed for an alternative method.

Although it shouldn't really matter, this is planned as a trailer boat that will spend 99.9% of it's life on a covered lift or a covered trailer, not subject to work-boat stresses. But, as a trailer boat-- the flex characteristics of a 5200 boat might be better suited to be jostled down the highway out of the water.

In other similar hobbies composites are part of the day to day construction methods-- and few (if any) rely on the rigidity that is apparent in epoxy construction-- most seem to build in the concept of flex and bendability into develop strenght. Wingtips of composite aircraft wings flex in "feet"-- I would expect that epoxy would tend to "snap" rather than flex.

To me the jury is still "out." I have a month or so until warm enough to put the frames on the building forms, but would appreciate and advance feedback.

Gary Baker

RonW
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Post by RonW »

Very good clearlakepelican. All will not agree with you, there are those that think epoxy is the best, but it is not the easiest to use, and just a little on the toxic side toboot. Last year I did test samples on a lot of glues. And as far as epoxy goes, I will say that I like glen-l's poxy grip the best. There are 2 wooden boat shops in cincinnati and both of them use 3m5200. Check home depot, they sell 3m 5200 in white only for $8 a tube, lot cheaper then the catalog price of $14. There is some controversy as to the lifespan of 3m5200, and it does seem to break down when exsposed to direct sunlight, or at least this has been reported by some builders. The boat I built last summer and fall, I used 3m5200 to glue all the framimg, including laminating the stem and transom knee, Then I used glen-l' epoxy grip for scarfing the plywood together, and I used a stepped lap joint instead of a straight scarf joint, Then I used P.L. premium construction adhesive to glue and nail the plywood to the framing. Like I said I experimented with a lot of glues last year, and the winners are glen-l epoxy grip- 3m5200 and P.L. premium construction adhesive. I took 2x2's about 2 feet long and lapped them about 8 inches, after dried tried to beat them apart - shock- then tried to pry - stress - and for those that where still in tact used a hood chisel to seperate and see which one ripped the most wood off. Some where actually a joke, such as gorrilla glue, I consider it the greatest advertising scam of the 20th century. If I build another wooden boat ( and don't go to welded aluminum, which I think I will ) I would use exclusively P.L. premium construction adhesive fro $2.75 for a 10.6 ounce tube. It takes 12 tubes to make a gallon, for about $36. Do not confuse this construction adhesive with other pl glues, it is relatively new and I have experimented with it on laminating plywood, it works great. It is 100% waterproof and claims to last as long as the surfaces glued together, it is also thin enough to be spread with a putty knife or thin notched trowel. It is a urethane and does exspands slightly, which fills voids, but it doesn't exspands all over the place like gorrilla glue does. I am very impressed with this glue, I have used pl 400 in the construction business for over 30 years and it does work and last, but it is way to thick and requires way too much pressure for laminating. Get a tube of 3m5200 and a tube of P.L.premium construction adhesive and exsperiment and make your own determination. Let us know what your results are. There is also a pl product called chimney and roof caulk, that some claim to be the same stuff as 3m5200, but i have not tried it, yet. Anytime they add the word boat or marine to a product , they have a habit of tripling the price, not a good thing for back yard boatbuilders, but proceed with caution when subsituting. That is my opinion, good luck..

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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

What exactly is 3M 5200, I mean is it an epoxy, PU, silicone etc...?
Graham in Shepperton, England

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clearlakepelican
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Post by clearlakepelican »

I had hoped not to muddy the waters but since you opened the door-- in our neck of the woods we use a brand "VULKEM" as a direct substitute to 5200-- as an ACBS Chapter we have at least 4 bottoms and 5 years on the oldest without problems and have tested them too. 8 colors and $3 something a tube-- also trowels, etc. Acts the same too, cures 4-6 days, has to be cut apart. You can fillet, form, etc .

It's a polyurethane caulk/exterior adhesive/sealant with the same chemical composition (we're told) as 5200. (Both polyurethanes)

Stated more clearly on my part, I am thinking that for my project:

Any joint to joint (butt, scarf, laminate) where the only reason I am gluing is to be able to bend the wood or I because I can't buy long enough pieces-- I would epoxy (I have a gallon to use up regardless).

Anything that would typically use a fastener - ply to frame, stringer to frame etc that in traditional construction would have simply used a screw or nail-- I would use 5200 AND a screw or nail to help set-up and to aid in reducing end-grain moisture absorbtion.

I don't think there is a bonding strenght issue here, but there may be others I haven't thought of.

clearlakepelican
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Post by clearlakepelican »

I had hoped not to muddy the waters but since you opened the door-- in our neck of the woods we use a brand "VULKEM" as a direct substitute to 5200-- as an ACBS Chapter we have at least 4 bottoms and 5 years on the oldest without problems and have tested them too. 8 colors and $3 something a tube-- also trowels, etc. Acts the same too, cures 4-6 days, has to be cut apart. You can fillet, form, etc .

It's a polyurethane caulk/exterior adhesive/sealant with the same chemical composition (we're told) as 5200. (Both polyurethanes)

Stated more clearly on my part, I am thinking that for my project:

Any joint to joint (butt, scarf, laminate) where the only reason I am gluing is to be able to bend the wood or I because I can't buy long enough pieces-- I would epoxy (I have a gallon to use up regardless).

Anything that would typically use a fastener - ply to frame, stringer to frame etc that in traditional construction would have simply used a screw or nail-- I would use 5200 AND a screw or nail to help set-up and to aid in reducing end-grain moisture absorbtion.

I don't think there is a bonding strenght issue here, but there may be others I haven't thought of.

sailors

epoxy or 5200

Post by sailors »

Hey - are you guys saying that 5200 is as strong as epoxy for frame mem
ber joining etc...???

I've used 5200 for years on things like throughbolting hardware on glass boats, for backing plates, etc..

I would love an epoxy alternative but I didn't think that 5200 was it. I HOPE it is, I like to work with it although has it's own messy qualities.

sailor

Barry
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Post by Barry »

I'm replying, but don't have much to add. I am not familiar with this adhesive, but am concerned with the phrase "More flex". The joints are not meant to flex.
It is possible that Woodenboat magazine has had articles dealing with this type of adhesive, but I haven't seen one. I guess before using it on a boat the size of the Monte Carlo, I would want to hear something authoritative from someone who had long term experience.
It would be nice to have a cheaper alternative, but not if it threatens the integrity of my boat.

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kens
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Post by kens »

OK, here is my 2 cents. I agree with Barry and the flex joints. I agree with you guys looking for more thrifty glue and new ideas. I am doing a lot of filleting on my Double Eagle on the edge of all gussets. Why not use the high dollar epoxy on the structural joints, then follow up with the 5200, or PL Construction glue, on things like the fillets and non-structural parts. The motor box, baitwell, helm station and fillets are all candidates for the PL construction adhesive.
I hate to mix up fresh $$$$epoxy just for fillets.
Just my 2 cents.

RonW
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Post by RonW »

Hey Kens. to clearify a little, neither the 3m5200 or the pl premium is suitable for filleting. They are not that type of glue.For example it would be a dissaster to try and build a stitch and tape boat using one of these glues.They do not have the hardness or ridgidity to form fillets like epoxy does. They are designed for sandwich construction, glueing one piece of wood to another. These both have a consistency about the same as bathtub and tile caulk. Easy to spread out, easy to smooth with your finger or whatever, yet enough body not to run and sag but thin enough to work with. The pl has a working time of about 45 minutes, while the 3m has 2 or 3 hours of working time. As a alternative to epoxy, it is not price.3m cost about $13 a tube of which it takes 12 tubes to make a gallon, or around $150. a gallon, while pl cost $2.75 a tube or $36. a gallon, that does save. BUT neither of these are TOXIC, no measuring, no mixing, longer working time, and comes in a standard 10.6oz. caulking tube. Very easy to pick up caulking gun, spread glue, put a nail in the end of tube and lay it down till when ever. I think both of these glues are excellent for plywood on frame, I would still use fasteners,but I prefer to overbuild then underbuild. As I understand clearlakepelican's post, he says they have boats that are now over 5 years old, where the bottoms are laminated, using 3m5200 instead of epoxy. These glues may be a alternative for those who can not or do not wish to work with epoxy, even on laminated on frame const. or strip planked hulls such as the eagle or their big launch. Could be the next step in boat construction. Do not confuse the P.L. glues, the one I am referring to is P.L. Polyurethane Premium Construction Adhesive. Water and weatherproof and 100% polyurethane. Oh yea, neither one of these come off your hands very easily. And the 3m5200 is kinda rubbery, as I understand it , this was to give it more shock resistance.

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Post by bronk »

Before stating that a new glue or other material is non-toxic, it is best to read the MSDS and find out what is in it.

Polyurethane caulks and adhesives contain isocyanates. Eye and skin toxicity plus allergic sensitization are issues.

Most of the mfrs. do not place the warnings on the tubes, but I noticed it last spring on a tube of Sikaflex.

Look at the MSDS at or Google for "<product trade name> MSDS":
PL
http://www.osiliterature.com/image/pdf/sP20130.pdf
http://www.osiliterature.com/image/pdf/sP20205.pdf
Vulkem 116
http://www.tremcosealants.com/fileshare ... _040_U.PDF

To avoid mixing batches of epoxy for filleting, fillet incrementally at the end of each glue up session with your left over epoxy. This worked for about 60% of my fillets.

I agree with Barry, you want a rigid monocoque construction for these boats. Flexing joints will only be a problem for these designs, least of which is joints loosening and joint lines tegraphing though your finish as well as finish cracking (and moisture penetration) at the joint lines . For old conventionally planked boats the flex may be an advantage due to the seaonal swll and shrink of the "relativley unprotected" wood.

The thing I don't like about the polyurethanes of this type as an adhesive is that they are very viscous and will slowly ooze from the joint over 2-3 hours. Hard to clamp securely. This is aside from any issues of joint strength.

If you are mixing up too much epoxy at a time, switch to using pumps. This greatly reduces mess and waste and also imporves the accuracy of the mix. I normally look at the amount of stuff to glue up and think in terms of a 1, 2, or 3 pump batch.


btw. Vulkem 116 is GREAT house caulking. I have used it for the last 10 years and it works great. No deterioration even if unpainted in our extreme weather (-30 to 100F).
Mark Bronkalla
www.bronkalla.com - 50 mph furniture

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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

Mark, have you had any experience with the foaming PU adhesives? I just bought a new one (to me) made by Wudcare Products CLICK in the UK, their Fast Grab PU. I'm using it at work to assemble a plank on frame model boat and it's quite impressive, not as good as the Balcotan that I've been using on my Squirt decking though because it foams too much, the Balcotan is specially formulated to foam less.
Both adhesives are claimed to resist complete immersion in salt water, and are both recommended by their respective manufacturers for boatbuilding.
As someone who obviously does a lot of high class woodwork, I'd be interested to hear your opinion of these relatively new adhesives.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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bronk
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Post by bronk »

I have used the "foaming" polyurethanes on a couple of furniture projects. The brand that I used successfully was ROC Custom Bond. Thisis a very thick, minimally expanding PU.

It has some nice charactersistics - long open time, not too much foaming, and the foam is quite rigid.

I am finishing a large dresser / wardrobe that I made with it. This had a lot of sliding dovetails for the case and dovetailed drawers. The leisurely pace of working with this glue was very nice. Final "kick off" by moisening the outside of the joints speeds things up.

The big downside of the "foaming " PUs is the tendency to harden in the container. 6-12 months and the whole thing is rock hard. The other thing is once it sets up on your skin it only can wear off. I had some very funny looking hands for a few days after doing a day long glue up session (good thing I did not have any customer presentations to do). Yes, I should have worn gloves, but got lulled into being sloppy. The stuff is not very noticeable on your skin at first.

I would consider these for boat frames, but not for the hull laminations. You still need a tight fitting joint and high clamping pressure.

One of the guys in our woodworking guild made a tea cart with a butcher block top. Glued it up with Gorilla glue. Came back and it had literally foamed apart. Not a nice surprise. He did not apply enough clamping pressure to keep it together as the glue foamed.
Mark Bronkalla
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Graham Knight
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Post by Graham Knight »

Your experience with these glues seems pretty similar to mine, I would definitely avoid the high foaming varieties for boat use, Gorilla Glue is the worst that I have come across in this respect. The specially formulated low foam ones like Balcotan are excellent, but like you I wouldn't use them anywhere that I couldn't guarantee a good fitting joint.
The problem is that although the glue foams to fill voids, the foam has no strength, so you could have hidden weak pockets between laminations. It worked well for my decking because I was able to clamp the planks down firmly, and decking veneer isn't structural anyway, but I would always stick (pun!) with epoxy for attaching ply skins.
Graham in Shepperton, England

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Dave Grason
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Post by Dave Grason »

Often times when a thread on any forum gets started on one subject, by the time several posts have been made, the original topic has become diluted with other conversation. Such is the case with this thread. Personally, I see nothing wrong with this because I like the input from a lot of different angles. Really, forums are nothing more than online think tanks. I like that.

But I found this particular thread because I was doing a search for any discussion of 3M 5200. Since I've never used it, I cannot speak from experience but I can also see that it doesn't look like anyone else here has used it either..... at least not in NEW construction. But I've become such a nut on the subject of wooden boats of all types that I voraciously read anything and everything. I recently got a copy of Don Danenberg's book: "How To Restore Your Wooden Runabout." This book is cheap on Amazon.com and is an absolute WEALTH of information about any and all old wooden runabouts. It is worth every penny and one can clearly and quickly see that the new boats that we're all building have many many things in common with the old boats. I thought that I might share what Don Danenberg has to say about epoxy encapsulation and 3M 5200 in his book:

"The concept of encapsulating the wood has several good effects on hull structure. The wood retains strength and dimensional stability when it is kept dry. The lack of seasonal expansion and contraction of the planks protects not only the plank stock but avoids yanking the fasteners back and forth in the frames. Decreasing the movement of the framework and planks helps keep dirt, debris, moisture and rot out of the joints. And decreasing the movement of the planks at the joints saves finishes like paint and varnish. Unfortunately, hard epoxy resins will not last on hulls built with traditional scantlings. This is not just my opinion, it's my experience after restoring several hulls that had been epoxied within the previous 10 years." (page 28, paragraph 1)

Again, I emphasize that his dislike of epoxy apparently only applies to the restoration of OLD boats. Obviously, the use of epoxy in NEW boats is an entirely different matter. If one were to take a little license with the first part of Don's paragraph, it would appear that epoxy is just the ticket for new construction as it would prevent virtually all of the problems associated with antique and classic boats, from ever starting.

However, here's another excerpt from the same book talking about 3M 5200:

"The exterior of the boats bottom should be further sealed with a non-permeable barrier coat but the bilge and interior must be allowed to gas excess moisture through proper hull ventilation. The only way to keep water from wicking into a wood joint is to pay the joint with a compound that will remain in place to displace the water (dirt, rot spore, etc.) This compound must remain flexible and well-attached in order to take the jarring vibrations generated by these small speedboats. By far the best long-term bedding compound I have used is 3M 5200. This one-part polyurethane adhesive/sealant provides strong flexible bonds,yet, if repairs need to be made, is easily cut with a sharp knife. I have used this product for 20 years for frame and plank installations on hulls more than 100 feet in length, and have never seen a joint failure. I believe this and similar products immensely improve plank-on-frame construction by helping to create a flexible monocoque structure, distributing hull stress and loading rather than fracturing individual frame members. This type of adhesive bedding is also the only thing that will stay in place while allowing expansion and contraction to occur.
Bedding planks in 3M 5200 is not a new idea-- it was the standard method of construction at the Trumpy yacht yard going back to the 1960s....
.....As you may surmise, I am attempting to find a happy medium; somthing that allows traditonal construction to coexist with current materials and provide estalished service with extended life, while the boat remains "restorable" by a future generation with better materials, tools and knowledge."
(page 29)

So in the end, I would have to say that it all comes down to a matter of personal opinion and what one is willing to try as far as NEW construction goes. If I ever restore and old boat, I'll go with Mr. Danenberg's suggestions and not use any hard epoxy at all.

I'd cerainly like to hear from someone who has built a Glen-L boat with 5200 and then giving that boat hard use over several years.
Isn't it amazing!! The person that never has the fortitude to pursue his own dreams, will be the first to try and discourage you from pursuing yours.

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