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maccauley123 04-27-2011 02:00 PM

3M VHB Bonding Tape
Has anyone used or even heard of 3M Very High Bond (VHB) tape? I saw it mentioned in an article in Good Old Boat about bonding new windows to a new companionway door and it sounds like great stuff. A bit pricey but for what it sounds like it is capable of it sounds awesome. If it lives up to its description I wish I had known about it when I was installing new windows on my boat.

From link below:
Extraordinary strength, conformability, versatility and UV- and weather-resistance makes 3M VHB RP great for bonding:
Glass Painted Surfaces
Metal Many plastics
Sealed wood

3M™ VHB™ RP Tape - 3M US

hellosailor 04-27-2011 02:21 PM

Yes, I think that's the one they use to install huge windows in skyscrapers. Exceptionally good stuff and very well suited for jobs like boats.

shogan50 04-27-2011 05:34 PM

Yes, it works as advertised if you strictly follow the instructions, paying particular attention to surface preparation/cleaning. We use it quite a bit. I've never put it to the test in a marine environment, but I've heard that they build a lot of commercial box truck boxes and residential vinyl windows with it.

GaryHLucas 04-27-2011 09:44 PM

I am planning on using it to install my new windows without using bolts in about 3 weeks. I bought 1/8" thick. I plan to to recess it about 1/8" behind the plexiglas all the way around. Then I'll fill the gap to a nice bead with sealant all the way around. That should allow the plexiglas to expand and contract without breaking the seal. I'll let you know in about 5 years if it worked!

Gary H. Lucas

DonScribner 04-28-2011 01:43 PM

We use it extensively in our industry. Don't count on taking anything off once the tape has cured. Check out the video. I especially like the part where they haul away a few dinning cars with VHB. And the smoking semi tires is cool too.

YouTube - 3M™ VHB™ Tapes tug of war

svHyLyte 04-28-2011 08:59 PM


Originally Posted by GaryHLucas (Post 724740)
I am planning on using it to install my new windows without using bolts in about 3 weeks. I bought 1/8" thick. I plan to to recess it about 1/8" behind the plexiglas all the way around. Then I'll fill the gap to a nice bead with sealant all the way around. That should allow the plexiglas to expand and contract without breaking the seal. I'll let you know in about 5 years if it worked!

Gary H. Lucas

Gary. Perhaps I'm dense but I don't understand what your are describing above. In any case, some friends of ours with a sister-ship to our boat that replaced their fixed port lights with 3M VHB 5962 several months ago just finished a passage from Rodriguez Key to the Dominican Republic through the Bahamas and Turks and Caicos, sailing hard on the wind for almost the entire trip. Except at one approximately 1" long spot where our pal admitted he skimped on primer (between the tape and the side of the coach roof), he had no seepage or leaks on the port lights at all (and he did not use "caulking" or "sealents" of any type other than the tape) despite the entire yacht being immersed more than several times. The "primer" is not needed between tape and the Plexiglas but is between the tape and the ship's skin. Note, however, one only gets "one try" to position the "Plexiglas". If it isn't aligned properly to begin with, there'll be no adjusting it.


DonScribner 05-02-2011 05:18 PM

VHB Tape Use
If I were to write instructions for our manufacturing personnel, they would sound something like this:

LEAVE the paper on one side and press it to the glazing. Roll it on with a rubber wall paper roller. Peel the paper off of 1/2" at one corner letting the little tab hang outside the edge of the glazing. Position the glazing on the hull, bare-tape corner last. Mark the opposite top corner for reference. Now, with that 1/2" adhered to the hull, pull the little tab slowly, revealing the tape to the hull. You have a locked location but can pivot it slightly to get the location perfect. By the time you complete one edge, you'll have a hinge point that will keep the glazing accurately positioned and allow it to be about 1" from the mounting surface. Slowly remove the rest of the paper and roll the glazing into place. VHB tape is designed as an adhesive, not as a sealant, regardless of how well it seems to perform. Also, some glazing materials break down when exposed to the elements. I would highly recommend the silicone. Use masking tape around the perimeter and around the edge of the glazing to make a really nice looking shape similar to a sealed gasket. Shoot in the silicone and tool it. Un-tooled, the silicone's seal is questionable at best. GE makes a spray that works really well. Spray it on the silicon, and use a plastic spoon to tool it, one, continuous movement around the perimeter. Then, remove the masking tape immediately. Now, grimace because you just got silicon all over your hands! Use the GE spray to get it off.

This method works well, at least it did for my four port lights.

GaryHLucas 05-02-2011 08:23 PM

About 15 years ago I had a greenhouse customer that wanted to silicone the joints on hundreds of glass panes on his greenhouse. He had already bought a case of silicone in caulking gun cartridges. The first window took him about half an hour, and what a mess. I then took the gun from him and sealed the next window in under a minute, with a real nice looking bead. The secret to silicone is that you must PUSH the bead ahead of the nozzle! You want to point the nozzle in the direction of travel, and allow a small ball of silicone to ride just in front of the nozzle. I don't use masking tape and I try not to tool it unless I really goofed. Usually a wet finger tip is better than any tool too.

Gary H. Lucas

asdf38 07-16-2012 12:50 PM

Re: 3M VHB Bonding Tape
I've been using Scotch Exterior Mounting tape, 4010 (clear "2lbs"), and 4011 (Grey "5 lbs") for a couple years on various projects. I recently used 4011 to mount my VHF to the celing of the boat, mount the winch handle holder, mount the fuse panel to the inside of the hull liner and mount numerous adhesive wire tie wraps (having scraped off the cheap white foam tape). So far I've been really happy with it. I'm also pleased to know that worst-case a knife or paint scraper will always be able to slice through the foam for removal.

Two days ago I noticed "20lb" Extreme exterior mounting tape in Home Depot which prompted me to do a little more research into it. The important thing I discovered is that the entire line of "industrial" VHB tape is available at McMaster-Carr (If you haven't used McMaster, they are a fantastic website)

What's still not clear is how these in-store versions compare to the industrial marketed VHB tapes. But 3M has these documents outlining their industrial line of VHB tapes at this website:


A few notes:
-They range from 55 to 160psi
-As mentioned, 3M does specify them as holding up to weather and UV
-The various version come in different colors, foam thicknesses and foam firmness.


Originally Posted by 3M
Resists all of the following:
- High temperature
- Cold
- Temperature cycling
- UV light
- Moisture and solvents
• Seal against environmental
• Prevent bi-metallic corrosion
• Damp vibration to prevent
metal fatigue
• Compensate for differential
of thermal expansion

Another interesting feature:

They behave stronger with relatively faster rate of stress load (dynamic
stresses) and will tend to show creep behavior with stress load acting over a long period of time (static stresses)
This is actually something I'd noticed which is a nice feature for mounting applications. For example if I bang my VHF with my elbow the tape will be at its best at the point of impact (the flexible nature of the foam helps as well), but if I want to move the VHF a sustained pull will probably be able to free it.

Basically the entire line of VHB tape is available at both McMaster and Digikey. I'll be trying out some true industrial VHB as soon as I put in my next mcmaster order (Note: McMaster won't tell you shipping charges until they actually ship but I'd expect $5-$10 for the tape based on my previous orders of small items)


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