Saturday, September 6, 2008

Epoxy Again

This Sunday is Father's Day in New Zealand, so it was a leisurely start after a nice breakfast out at Verran's Cafe (French toast with bacon, berry coulis, grilled banana and maple syrup, if you're interested). When we got back to the house I lifted the tarp at the top of the driveway and un-piled the bricks and boards from the ply. What I found didn't look good, it was almost like a continuous bubble had formed between the ply and the glass, and I was able to lift the glass off with nothing more than a firm pull.

I got myself appropriately dressed and protected and sanded off all the epoxy from the previous day and then set about preparing to re-do the job. Knowing that the wet time and the cure time are two totally different things, I wanted a place that could be left undisturbed and where I could shelter the parts from the weather. As it happens the bit of deck outside the back door is just wide enough for all four planks, and is mostly covered by the house's wide eaves.

I laid down some flat boards, covering the centre one with food wrap, and then laid out and aligned the parts. The far ends I held in place with boards and bricks as before, but near the join to be made I used ply off-cuts nailed down through the board below. Before getting on with the epoxy, I lashed the four 8' fence posts to the deck rail to hold a tarp up when I was done.

I was almost better prepared this time, wetting out all the parts with neat epoxy before adding the microfibres to get a gap-filling strong bonding agent. Then I realised that I'd forgotten the glass tape, so I charged down to the garage, past a bemused neighbour (I was in a white chemical protection suit, dark glasses and medical style disposable gloves remember) got the glass and was back again in less than a minute. I cut generous lengths of glass tape and laid them over the wetted joins before squeegeeing the thickened epoxy over and into the tape and joins. When I was happy that all the tape was properly wetted, I laid another board covered in food wrap over the top and then piled on a few bricks to try and get the ends of the fairly springy ply to sit flat and level.

This was a fairly frantic process, and I carried on by putting the tarp over the fence posts and tidying up before stopping to get the camera out. But you should be able to see that I negated any chance of the ply moving until I decide its time. Hopefully this join will be good and I can turn the pieces over and tape the other side tomorrow evening.

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