Stands and Blocks
Sm Wave Design
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Epoxy is, in most ways, superior to polyester. If you want
a durable and/or light board, try epoxy and "S" cloth.
For surfers who refuse to use more cloth than what is used
on production boards, it is worth the extra cost. Together
they will increase the cost of your materials approximately 20%-30%.
Epoxy will work with polyurethane or polystyrene foam, and with
"E" cloth. Using epoxy and "S" cloth in
place of the usual polyester "E" cloth (especially on
thrusters) is an easy solution to the disposable board problem.
As oil prices, and board prices continue to rise, so will the desire
for a durable board.
If two palm size disks, one polyester and one epoxy, are dropped
from chest height flat onto concrete; the polyester will shatter
and the epoxy will be whole. If a polyester "E"
cloth board hits an epoxy "S" cloth board; the polyester
"E" cloth board will be fractured, while it will be hard
to find the area of impact on the epoxy "S" cloth board.
This is because "S" cloth is stronger than "E"
cloth, and epoxy is stronger and more elastic than polyester.
Although, in today's market of disposable boards, it would be preferable
to have a stronger board instead of a lighter board, you could save
around 2 lb. by using epoxy and "S" cloth. It is
more damage resistant than polyester and 'E' cloth so you could
use lighter cloth, or a lighter blank such as polystyrene
foam, and/or a stringerless blank ).
For the ultimate in lightness and strength try epoxy on carbon
fiber. My friends and I have done a number of boards with
4.8oz.carbon ( www.fiberglasssupply.com
) on the top and bottom with a 4.8oz.carbon fiber deck patch over
stringerless extruded polystyrene foam (no suitable carbon cloth
is available in 2008, due to the war). It is pigmented white
to keep down the heat (carbon fiber is black) The gloss coat
takes a lot of extra work with carbon and adds weight. In
fact, a carbon board with a solid white gloss coat will be almost
identical in weight to an "S" cloth board with almost
twice the cloth weight, with no gloss coat. It is questionable
if carbon is worth the trouble. I now believe it is most practical
in a cool climate, where a white gloss coat would not be needed (See
GLOSS COAT). If you want a pretty, clear board use the "S"
or "E" cloth.
After trying over ten different epoxies, as of 2012, a number of us of us have switched to
www.uscomposites.com for epoxy and other supplies - cloth and epoxy is generally
cheaper. After trying all the uscomposites epoxies, the Klear Kote epoxy is the best buy. Although very thick, it works well for all surfboard building. It has good u.v. protection and is the clearest of all epoxies I have used. The two gallon kit - one gallon of epoxy and one gallon of hardener costs less than the one and a half gallons kit of surfsource or resin
reseach resin. The extra resin is good to practice with, and alows the smart first time glasser to have more than the minimum amount of resin available for each coat.
Also excellent is the ss2000
at www.surfsource.net - a very fast, and efficient company. ss2000 is as clear as polyester, and has good u.v. protection
Many shops are now using the
very good rr2000 epoxy from Resin Research. If you use this
epoxy, disregard the amounts of resin that you may have read numerous
builders claim is adequate. First time builders will find
it very difficult to reproduce the results of these experienced
glassers. If you want a finish that stays clear (epoxy
discolors slightly over years of sun exposure) it would be safer
to coat the epoxy with a u.v. blocker such as polyester resin.
I like 100% epoxy (no pigment, solvent, thinner, or additive).
Showroom boards that say epoxy on them are usually only epoxy in
the laminate (cloth). The hot coat and gloss coat is often
polyester (usually polyurethane gloss coat on Surftechs).
Using a polyester gloss coat over an epoxy lamination will probably
not save any money for one board due to the high cost of small units
of resin. Keep it simple on your first board; use all
polyester or all epoxy.
Pay close attention to the epoxy mixing percentages. If you
miss the percentage by more than 5% it won't harden reliably and
will be weak. Mix it for about 3 minutes, being careful to
mix any resin sticking to the container sides and bottom.
Thorough mixing is critical to good strength and hardening.
Pay even closer attention to the temperature. If the specifications
say that the epoxy will set up in 30 minutes (pot life), that usually
means at 78 degrees. With every 10 degrees of temperature
change the pot life will be doubled or halved respectively.
If it's close to 80 degrees, put it in the refrigerator before using.
Do not start an epoxy lamination at over 80 degrees (starting at
80 degrees, in the morning, with the temperature rising is ok).
At 100 degrees, epoxy can catch fire (it happened to me)!
Sand in between coats and wipe with alcohol for good bond when
putting polyester over epoxy (not recommended on your first board).
If re-coating epoxy with more epoxy, do not sand between coats if
it is applied within twenty four hours. "Fish eyes"
are a common bubble-like imperfection (dry spot) in an epoxy hot
coat. "Fish eyes" are less common in cooler weather,
and can be reduced on hot days by keeping a fan or fans blowing
on the wet surface as it gels. If you do this, turn on the
fan or fans before mixing the resin so any dust will be blown away
first. If you still have fish eyes in your finishing coat,
drip some resin in the fish eyes, over filling the area slightly.
If desired, sand the excess and finish (See GLOSS COAT). Some
builders claim that epoxy can not be made to produce a perfect,
shinny, gloss coat as can be done with polyester. It can.
It simply takes twice as much work to sand and buff it (use 100
grit at start). Some builders find an epoxy gloss coat with
no sanding or buffing acceptable. Gloss coats are not necessary.
Note that epoxy has the desirable characteristic of going from
slightly gelled to hard at a more gradual rate than polyester.
This makes it less likely the builder will be caught in the middle
of a procedure with resin hardening so fast he can not finish.
Consider the possibility that epoxy is, in most ways, superior
to polyester. Try it.