Safe Boatbuilding

Posted by CLC on Dec 15, 2005

Like virtually everything, common sense prevails in safe boatbuilding. Keeping epoxy off of skin is pretty easy with disposable gloves. Vinegar works but personally, the smell makes me barf. We strongly advocate soap (such as Lava soap) and cold water for removing epoxy. The cold water closes pores and makes it harder for chemicals to penetrate skin. Solvents thin the epoxy and allow it to penetrate skin more easily.

Cured epoxy is literally food-safe. Epoxy dust is very bad for your lungs, however. An ordinary paper dust mask helps; the respirators are more comfortable.

From my peculiar position at CLC I've watched thousands of people work with epoxy for the first time and my observation is that about 4-5 people per 1,000 experience some sort of allergic reaction. Of those, many weren't wearing gloves or didn't wear a simple dust mask while sanding. The number who really have a problem being in the room with epoxy is very small.

I know one former professional boatbuilder who falls into that category, but he spent years forming fillets with his bare fingers and dumb things like that.

Dave Carnell, a chemist, wrote a comprehensive guide to the chemicals found in boatbuilding. You can read it here:

Safe Boatbuilding

In Response to: ditto Terrys comment by LeeG on Dec 13, 2005



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