question for Mr Bradshaw

Andre Cloutier

Firestarter. Wicked Firestarter.
as you've displayed as much knowledge as anyone I've spoken to about epoxy construction, do you have any experience with the system 3 products I've seen advertised in Wooden Boat, etc such as silvertip filleting products?
I used system 3 stuff when I built my sons boat cradle and it seemed fine, however I didnt have to fillet as it was strip construction - and i used polyurethane glue for the joints, then set the cloth in epoxy. The glue bonded, sanded and planed really well.
I'm going to knock this together
and as discussed I'll be looking to you for sails; wanted to know if the rumours about mixing filleting material being that bad are true, or marketing hype.
You're an ambitious dude, Andre - better build a three-bay box trailer for your trip to Clayton in March...:p
the mother of invention

Dan, save me the trouble and enlarge the cockpit on the 16/30 so I can take one of my kids in a year or two - or should I just strap the infant carrier to the hiking board?:eek:
and dont worry, the trailer is being built with expandability (is that a word? must be the shiraz talking) in mind
Andre, I don't really know much about Syatem3. I've been using West Epoxy ever since it first came out and the Gougeon brothers wrote their book explaining how to use it. I haven't ever had a need to try other brands as it's never failed me and I'm comfortable using it. I know people who use System3, Raka and others and don't remember any serious problems off hand with any of the major brands, but I don't really know much about their systems. I'm also not aware of any evidence that indicates that any one brand is clearly superior to the others and I suggest that people use whichever system they're most comfortable with. The biggest group of boatbuilders around here, by far, are the iceboaters and just about every iceboat in the area, including mine, has it's serious structural parts held together with West Epoxy - due in part to the fact that the Gougeon brothers are hard-core iceboaters as well as soft-water sailors.

Until I find something that I can't do with West, but can do with one of the others, I'm not likely to try them. West may be a bit more expensive than most brands, but resin cost is a pretty minor part of the total outlay of cash and labor when building or re-building a boat, so I don't worry about a few bucks.

For fillets, I use West 405 (normal fillets) or 407 (lighter, though not quite as strong). I usually use fast hardener, a plastic butter or cool-whip tub and a chunk of scrap cedar strip or the little black mixing sticks that West sells (great product for a lot of different uses around the shop and house, get some). I squirt the resin and hardener into the tub, mix then well, dump in spoonfulls of the filler, stir slowly at first to keep from creating a cloud of flying dust and continue until it's all nicely mixed. I will usually do a small test batch to figure just how many scoops of filler it takes to make a compound that will hold it's shape as it hardens and not sag and start flowing fifteen minutes after you apply it, but I can't remember ever having any any kind of serious mixing problems with any of the fillers. I suspect that anyone claiming that filleting compound is difficult to mix is more interested in marketing than the truth.

It can't hurt to buy a bit of anything being marketed as a great filler to try it out and see if it indeed does have some properties that make it work better, but I am not aware of a big need for such a product. The vast majority of epoxy related problems are caused by builders simply failing to follow the directions given, or inexperienced builders who ignore the designers specifications and decide to monkey around with the layup schedule. It's usually a matter of builders trying to cut weight by substituting materials and not knowing that their drastically cutting strength and durability in the process. I think that if you just follow the directions that come with any of the common brands you should do fine. The brand that's easiest to obtain when you run out part way through a job may be the best one to go with.
Thanks Todd.
That answers a bunch of questions, and i kind of figured if there was a terrific need for such a product it wouldnt have taken so long to be developed and marketed. I suppose it also would prevent one from mixing to their own liking, and tailoring the composition the way you'd want it. By the way I stand in awe of iceboaters; a buddy and I scared ourselves silly with an Icesurfer one winter years ago during our windsurfing craze. How many years ago? lets just say I had a Wayler and he had a HiFly and leave it at that....