Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Great Epoxy Fiasco of 2008

That is how it will be remembered by those of us who were there.

I ordered my epoxy in bulk back in March of this year. Because of the enormity of the project I knew I'd be buying the stuff every few weeks if I went with smaller amounts, so buying in bulk just made sense. Since I was buying large bottles buying the pump set to get accurate measuring when mixing the resin and hardener was a no-brainer. Unfortunately for me, the no-brainer part caused me a lot of problems. You see, on the resin bottle it says mix 2:1 with hardener (that's 2 parts resin to 1 part hardener) and on the hardener bottle it says mix 1:2 with resin (that's 1 part hardener to 2 parts resin). So I had this whole 2 to 1 thing going on in my head. And when I received my epoxy and pump set nowhere on the packaging does it say that the pumps are calibrated to be 1 pump each. I didn't notice the little plastic strip glued to the pump to keep it from pumping all the way down, and there was no mention of it when I ordered or received the product. Since my epoxy containers said mix 2 to 1 and my pumps had no directions at all I assumed wrongly that that meant 2 pumps resin to one pump hardener.

I probably would have caught on sooner that my mix was off were it not for two factors. One, the stuff I mixed cured, though a bit more slowly than I was expecting, but it cured rock-solid. The tackiness stage lasted longer than I thought it would, but it is a slow/medium hardener so I figured it was geared more to the slow side. The other factor that kept me from catching the mix-up sooner was that I kept both the resin and hardener containers with pumps installed in a big plastic tote that also had my rolls of fiberglass tape, my acetone, and my assortment of epoxy tools. So I just kept pumping out my wrong mix, over and over again....not noticing anything was up until I took them out to clean out the tote and noticed there was all this hardener left and almost no resin. Oops. Had it not been for that I would have kept on going for several more batches...mixing wrongly with no clue at all.

Well, needless to say I was pretty pissed off initially as all the epoxy work I had done since March is suspect,, meaning we would have to grind it all out and start all over again. Ugh. So after a few days of seriously feeling very down about it all, I recouped and Pam and I got almost all of the bad epoxy out this weekend, everything except the non-structural fillets. Those will be fine as they are. But seriously, the wrongly mixed stuff cured hard, like really really hard. Like we had to buy a new corded angle grinder because the battery-powered one couldn't keep up. Seriously, I don't even understand how epoxy mixed with only half the hardener could get that hard, but it did.

So now we're back where we started, but with a lot more knowledge about epoxy and especially about mixing epoxy. ;)

Thanks to the 2 of you who saw my 'freak out' post and gave me encouragement. It was very much appreciated.

Happy to be back on the right track! Cheers!


Ocean Escape said...

I had been wondering where you would go from here so it's great to read you re-grouped and the project goes on. Yay! :-)

force ten hurricane said...

Something bad happens. Karen freaks out. Then Karen regroups and starts over. Then something bad happens again. The Karen freaks out again...you get the picture.

I guess I'll always freak out, but then I'll always regroup and get back at it, so it's all good.

Thanks for the yay! :D

Hugs from Minden,