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  #1  
Old 06-10-2008
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Bubbles in my epoxy

How do I get rid of the suckers? Or not create them in the first place?

This is thickened epoxy for potting hardware holes in my deck. I'm using MAS with medium hardener, mix in cup with wood stirring stick, stir in silica, it looks fine. I've tried carefully pushing in hole with syringe and sort of dribbling it in to fully fill--in any spot with decent access this is after filling and draining with unthickened. Still, I'll find a bubble at the top of some of them when it has cured. Should I be using slow hardener for this?

Tom
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May be due to the heat. If possible, try to use the epoxy when temps are falling or reasonably cool (Late evening, Early morning). You may have to "tend" the holes you're filling, watching over them to pop any big bubbles that develop below the surface, and then adding a bit more filler. Mix small batches and rest the mixing cup in a small container of ice water to slow down the catalyst so it doesn't kick too quickly.

It can be tough and unforgiving working with epoxy in the kinds of temps we're having right now in Chesapeake country.
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Old 06-10-2008
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If you have been filling these holes in the past few days and are anywhere on the east coast, it is way to hot to work with epoxy. If these holes are on deck, I think the temperature be will above 100F.
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Actually heat is one of the recommended ways to get rid of bubbles in epoxy:

http://www.epotek.com/SSCDocs/techti...%20Tip%204.pdf

(if you convert the recommended temps in that to F it is about 95-104)

My guess (and that is what it is since I can't see exactly what you are doing) is that you are sealing a hole and air is still coming through it or that you are filling such a small hole that you need your slurry a little thinner.

There is a boat builder in GA that has a special heated room where he does his epoxy work.
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One technique to try:

Use the Green 3M tape and tape around the holes being filled or tape over them and cut out with an exact-o knife the holes to be filled.

Wait until about dusk, mix your epoxy and slightly overfill so there is just a bit of a bubble (thats the reason for the 3M tape so it doesn't secure to the deck).

The Deck will have absorbed the heat but as the temp gradually decreases and the moisture content increases the air bubbles will rise to the bubble top above the 3m Tape which is now easily sanded.

When injecting the Epoxy try to do it like you would when pouring beer into a glass at the angle and down a side as well - that will allow for air to escape as its going down versus injecting straight on top.

Hope that helps...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arbarnhart View Post
Actually heat is one of the recommended ways to get rid of bubbles in epoxy:

http://www.epotek.com/SSCDocs/techti...%20Tip%204.pdf

(if you convert the recommended temps in that to F it is about 95-104)

---

There is a boat builder in GA that has a special heated room where he does his epoxy work.
Arbarnhart,

My own experience is that epoxy gets very tricky at high temps, although it may not bubble as much as at lower temps. I think you're right that the air bubble here is just air trapped in the hole.

The builder in Georgia that you refer to, Robb White, would heat up his boat barn with his wood stove and get it REAL hot in there. But he did not apply epoxy until he had doused the stove and allowed temps to begin falling. In this way, the hot wood (Rob preferred Tulip Poplar), now cooling, would soak up the epoxy like a sponge, making for a nice, even, bubble-free, clear finish.

I hate to deliver bad news via internet, but Robb passed away in May of '06, during an operation to clear a blood clot. I expect his son Wes still uses the same techniques, but he's not a full-time boat builder to my knowledge.

Robb was an amazing raconteur. If you haven't already read it, pick up a copy of How to Build a Tin Canoe. Or find yourself some back issues of Messing About in Boats. Many good nuggets in there for the would-be builder.
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Interesting. I may have found the answer looking for the article on the boat builder I mentioned. It's Robb White, who unfortunately passed away not long ago. But read the article and you will find something about out gassing. he heated up but then turned on the air right before applying it:

RudderPosts: Robb White Article
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Looks like we simul-posted about Robb White. I think warm to hot epoxy is fine (ever made the mistake of making more than a little quick cure? I have - it will melt the mixing cup) but I guess the stock you are applying it to may need to be at a lower temp than 100 or so.

I am glad to have stumbled on this. I am going to start repairing deck cracks soon.
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I get bubbles in polyurethane too.

Just don't worry about it and don't let anybody get too close to your work.
If they start looking close, just grab em by the ears and hold them at the proper distance for optimum viewing.

Then offer them beer. That makes things more beautiful too.
Soon they will be complementing everything in your boat.
gh
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Hog,

PU is another story; it bubbles more readily than champagne, which will make things even more beautiful.
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