A few minutes of searching online and you will find there are many types of epoxy and prices vary between brand and suppliers. So what epoxy should you use? Well here are the basics, followed by a list of products and suppliers.
1) Select an epoxy designed for use in boat building, meaning it is formulated to bond with wood and laminate both wood and fiberglass. (links below) Avoid craft epoxies like “5 minute epoxy” , “casting epoxy” , “table top epoxy” , etc.
2) Select the correct cure speed. The hotter the temperature, the slower the cure speed you need. Each brand is different and will have the recommended temperature ranges for each speed available. As a rule of thumb, you want fast hardener in cold weather and slow in hot weather. There are also minimum and maximum temperatures, which the supplier will also have published.
3) Have the proper equipment. You will want pumps or metered cups for measuring out your epoxy for mixing. When working with epoxy we recommend wooden craft sticks for mixing, old plastic containers or bowls for mixing in, nitrile gloves to avoid skin contact, disposable chip brushes , rollers and notched trowels for application. A steady supply of fresh air is important and a respirator can also be a great asset. Most of these items can be purchased from those selling epoxy, but we pick them up locally, links below.
See our FAQ for information about epoxy safety.
“Economy” Epoxies – For those on a budget we recommend US Composites “635 Thin” epoxy Link Here On this page you will see all their different formulations and cure times. This particular epoxy is suitable for any of the FRS models and you could use it for our cold molded designs too, but we don’t advise it (read below) There are several other brands that offer budget pricing but be sure you buy the right stuff (see items #1).
“Premium” Epoxy – West Systems 105 resin with matching hardener is the standard for epoxy in boat building. And for good reason, they literally invented the product and wrote the book on it! It can also be purchased from US Composites and you could also shop around online or locally and possibly find a better price. There is also MAS Epoxy, which has been around a while and is reputable. The recently popular, Total Boat Brand of epoxy is just MAS Epoxy with a different label. System Three is another brand that has been around for some time and makes a quality product as well. You can use these on any of our designs, however we strongly recommend a “Premium” epoxy if building a cold molded boat. The cost invested in those builds and the ability for these boats to be insured and sold within the custom sport fish and yacht market is why.
Stir Sticks – we found that the local arts and crafts stores (like Michaels, AC Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc) have the best prices, especially considering the 40-50% off coupons they offer. Link Here
Mixing Cups – Using left over food containers that yogurt, butter, sour cream, cool whip etc come in work great. Or you can purchase waxed paper or plastic bowls from most any grocery store. Link Here
Gloves – We like the 5 mil thick nitrile gloves and get ours at Harbor Freight. Link Here
Chip Brushes – We pick these up from Harbor Freight also. Link Here
Foam Rollers – Once again, Harbor Freight is the source, but be warned they dissolve in resin so life span is short, but they work great when you need them! Link Here
Notched Spreader – This can be tricky to find, but they are often in the grout and tile section of the hardware store. The compact size and how easy to clean mean you will get many uses from them. Link Here