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  1. One area where I've departed from West Systems is in my adhesive usage. They suggest a cotton floc fibrous reinforcing filler in adhesive mixtures. It's their "403" filler. It's okay, but not as strong as my alternative of milled glass fibers (1/32 inch). Add it in to a suitable level and the strength is pretty stout. I also like to add a smaller amount of fumed silica to make the adhesive thixotropic. The glass fibers won't do that, and the mix may sag without the silica.

    BTW: Don Williams had an article in Pop Wood a few months ago on making "fake urushu" with super polished and pigmented (West) epoxy. If you don't have access, let me know and I can dig it out and send a copy. I'll need an e-mail address for that, if you're willing.

    Good luck.

  2. Stan:

    First: Careful about that "soak into the wood" business. It doesn't happen. Well, a bit on end grain, but not much. AFIK, it's a way to thin the resin a bit so that the price point can be met. Or something of that ilk. Unthinned resin and neat hardener are harder to work with, but it's all going to be there when it cures; there's no thinner evaporating away. A mist of acetone over the surface will help it level after spreading it on. Another technique is to pass a torch very lightly over the surface - which also helps if you get air bubbles in your mix.

    Second: If one allows the varnish to crack, it's been neglected for a lot too long. It's no longer a uv barrier and the epoxy has begun to degrade. It may protect the substrate a bit, but the cosmetics go fairly quickly and can't readily be recovered. Not recommended.

    More follows.
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    Thanks for the insight. I will check out West Systems website.

    I had read a blog where the guy was using the penetrating epoxy sealer on exterior wood to soak into the wood, and then topcoat it with marine varnish. The reasons he gave were that the epoxy would not be a surface coating, and would receive less exposure to UV, but would provide a stronger sealer/primer effect for the marine varnish. It seemed like an interesting solution since marine varnish needs to be replaced every few years as you mentioned, but even after the varnish cracked, the sealer would contine to provide some protection. I just wondered if it worked that way in the real world. Thanks for your insight.
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    What do you think of penetrating epoxy sealers like Smith’s or TotalBoat’s for furniture exposed to weather? I have never used it, but have a client that needs exterior benches for which this material was recommended. Manufacturers are all hype. If you have experience, please give me a thumbs-up or down

    Thanks, Stan
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Jim Waldron


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