Balcotan v Epoxy

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neil
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Post by neil » Sat Sep 18, 2004 10:02 pm

I have been musing about using Balcotan instead of epoxy as a glue for some work on the newly purchased Tideway.

Has anyone got any opinions/experience of Balcotan?
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Rupert
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Post by Rupert » Mon Sep 20, 2004 11:27 am

I redecked Saskia with Balcotan. Need lots of clamps as it foams. Best for large area not too high stress joins, I feel. Deck not fallen off...yet! Very easy to use compared to epoxy, and no waste.
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Ed
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Post by Ed » Mon Sep 20, 2004 11:38 am

Yup.....used it lots....should of asked yesterday!

I really like it.....but it is a very differnt kind of glue....and you use it in a very different kind of way.

I would always use Epoxy for any structural part, especially if contact area is small. You can fillet epoxy but you can't fillet balcotan. Negatives are as we know, you have to have a really clean joint. It has to be really dry (and prefferably warm). Epoxy is great for gap filling, in fact one danger with epoxy is 'glue starvation' you must make sure that you dont' clamp so hard as to remove all glue alltogether.......

On the other hand, Balcotan needs at least reasonably well fitting parts. It will expand to fill any holes which can be useful, but it won't have any structural strength....in other words you can't use it to build a fillet. It is great for joints with large contact areas, especially when you are unsure how much has perfect contact.....but most does.....like decking.....gunhauls, inhauls, hogs etc. It appears to work well, when conditions are not great.....so if joint is dirty.....even a little damp....or cold it works fine. The Slow takes a nice long time to work.....great when putting on decks....on the other hand the fast is just that, which is also useful at times.

Both Epoxy and Balcotan are good 'bodging' glues....both fill gaps....but you can't put Balcotan where you want it....on the other hand Balcotan is great for getting in where no other glue will get ....as it expands. Be careful when using Balcotan, you might well need more clamps than you thought, especially on decks, replacing veneers etc. I have rarely had a failed joint with Balcotan, although I have had a few with Epoxy, mainly from glue starvation.

You should wear gloves when working with epoxy because of worries about getting super-senstitivity to the glue.....you wear gloves with Balcotan because it makes them go really dirty....and you just can not get it off afterwards!

Personally I would have and use both glues in the workshop......if I had to choose one.....I would most probably use Epoxy, just because it is so versatile......but on the other hand if you were making everything entirely by the book with fitted joints etc.....I dare say Balcotan would look more original.....and it is much much easier to use.

Well that is my bit, I am sure that someone else will have something to say.

I have been thinking about doing a section for the to-do pages about 'glues' like the stuff I did on varnish.

Only glue I am not really too knowledgable on is Resorcynol glues......and for that matter the Urea formalyde glues.....all the 'ites' glues.....anybody know enough about using these to give some sage words?

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Post by Rupert » Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:11 pm

I've used resorcynol glues (Cascophen) when re builing fairey boats. Great for cold moulding, as it is easy to spread and doesn't expand. Very similar to the Phenol formaldehyde glues, but sets at room temp. Used to use Urea Formaldehyde glue a lot. Cascamite by another name. Wouldn't bother now with Balcotan around!
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Post by chris » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:05 am

Cascamite... now called Extramite.
Supposidly offered as suitable for small boatbuilding. I think it has problems! It may say it has some small gap filling properties but it doesn't. As it is a powder that you mix with water but sets by a chemical reaction the moisture is slowly released and shrinks the hard glue which will then craze if more than about .1mm thick. I don't think it makes a good enough bond (it doesn't penetrate the timber nearly as deeply as epoxy for instance). It is also prone to failure if subjected to a sharp impact.
It used to be used to make the wooden propellers for old wartime aircraft. It is made from made from casein which is a milk derivative. One snag they found is that, under certain circumstances, it turns back to cheese! So propellers came flyng off.

Aerolight 306 Is a MUCH better urea-formaldehyde glue. ( twice as expensive)

The only time I consider using either of these glues is for laminating when using a vacuum bag as you can't use a glue that needs air to either dry or cure.

last tip...
Axminster Power tools do a good variety of super glues. Zap CA is a very runny one that with creep into the most hairline of cracks. V useful in the emergency tool box! http://www.axminster.co.uk

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Post by Garry R » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:35 am

I used epoxy West System with microballoons on my all varnished Merlin. It has great space/gap-filling and sanding properties, it flows well into cracks and gaps and as a bonus it is a brown colour and then takes up stain pretty well - a good all-rounder I feel. It takes about 10hours to set here in the far north, so plenty of time to get the cramps in position. DO measure out carefully - I used a couple of graduated cylinders and I managed a complete restoration - decks, gunwhales, centreboard case, thwarts, transom repair and a couple of split planks with a 1kg tin by measuring carefully and using excess scraped out on another joint. Quite soon you can judge how much to measure out. It's expensive stuff so getting the amount right pays off!! You really don't want to be left with a £50 tin with a few millilitres taken out of it. So far nothing has fallen apart!!

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Post by neil » Tue Sep 21, 2004 1:16 pm

Thanks for all the feedback. The idea of Balcotan stems from an experience I had at the weekend when i was too lazy to reconsitute my crysallised epoxy that had blocked the pump. No problem I thought - measure by eye. Result was an epoxy volcanoe.

So a single pot approach would be more cost effective - Balcotan it is.
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Post by hensoa » Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:30 pm

A good word for cascamite

Back in about 1972 I helped my father complete a composite Wayfarer from a Moores kit. All wood work was held in place by cascamite glue.
This boat is still going strong with no repairs to failed wood joints.
I do remember though the glue being a swine to mix took ages to get all the powder to dissolve.

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Post by Ed » Tue Sep 21, 2004 2:48 pm

As long as you have reasonable joints you will be fine!

Just remember the gloves......don't say I didn't warn you!

cheers

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Post by Garry R » Tue Sep 21, 2004 4:10 pm

Remember Ed - the amount of glue stuck on the end of your fingers is directly proportional to the amount of sanding that you are going to do thus a good layer can help avoid lost skin at the later stages of the project!!!!

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Post by Ed » Tue Sep 21, 2004 9:23 pm

Indeed and of course there balcotan has the edge.....

it is much easier to sand than epoxy.....and you can sand it any time after it has set, not like epoxy where you have to wait so long.....but if you leave it too long....it becomes a nightmare.

Just been downstairs to look at fix I am doing on Stu's IC.....thought I would be able to pull the tape and sand this evening....but looks like I will have to wait till tomorrow, by which time it will most probably be real hard work to even get the tape off. Spose I could stay up late.....but that would be pushing the boundaries of friendship a bit far!

cheers

eib
Ed Bremner
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Firefly F2942
IC GBR314 ex S51 - 1970 Slurp
MR 638 - Please come and take it away
Phelps Scull
Bathurst Whiff - looking for someone to love it

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Post by stu » Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:21 pm

Stay up late, I'll still be your friend......or is that not what you meant :D
The only canoe sailor in MY village too !

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neil
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Post by neil » Tue Sep 21, 2004 10:34 pm

<blockquote id="quote"><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id="quote">quote:<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"><i>Originally posted by chris</i>
<br />last tip...
Axminster Power tools do a good variety of super glues. Zap CA is a very runny one that with creep into the most hairline of cracks. V useful in the emergency tool box! http://www.axminster.co.uk

<hr height="1" noshade id="quote"></blockquote id="quote"></font id="quote">

Ooooops, went to axminster.co.uk for a look and bought a pair of very nice Japenese saws. There's some good tools on there - the japanese chisels next.......
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roger
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Post by roger » Wed Sep 22, 2004 8:39 am

Are you on comission Chris. I bought two of those saws as well.
Hornet 191 Shoestring,
Hornet 595 Demon awaiting restoration
Hornet 610 Final Fling
Hornet 353

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Ed
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Post by Ed » Wed Sep 22, 2004 9:56 am

Maybe if we all got together and bought in bulk we could bring the cost down a bit.

cheers

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Ed Bremner
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Jollyboat J3
Firefly F2942
IC GBR314 ex S51 - 1970 Slurp
MR 638 - Please come and take it away
Phelps Scull
Bathurst Whiff - looking for someone to love it

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