Hastening Epoxy Cure

My daughter is coming down from NH Friday to continue work on her S&G kayak. She cut out all the panels on her last visit. This weekend we want to stitch them together and sheath the inside of the hull and deck. Unfortunately, the weather forecast calls for cold temps here on Cape Cod. I have an electric heater that will get my shop up to about 50 degrees, and we can tolerate a long curing time for the sheathing. We want the tack welds to cure overnight, though. Can we hasten this process with a hair dryer?

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RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

I don't know about the hair dryer.  However, you could string up a few shop lights and direct them at the tack welds to warm those spots.  Or you could drape a plastic tarp over the boat with the lights underneath, and even set the heater under the tarp/boat to get it really warmed up.  I successfully did all my fiberglassing this way, with a bit more of an elaborate set-up, this winter in an un-heated space. If you search you can find links to photos of my and others' similar set ups.  

The only thing to be careful of is that you don't start a fire by getting the plastic tarp too close to the heater or lights.  I never ran the heater under the tarp unless I was close by, and did not leave the lights on when I left the house just in case. I did leave the lights on overnight though, and the epoxy was cured by morning. 

Good luck!

RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

As KathyD suggested a plastic tarp will do wonders. My ten dollar plastic tarp kept the the temp at 70F in a spare room with a fan in the window pulling out the fumes. With an eletric heater or a few drop lights you should be able to heat the area to around 60F.


RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

I'm working in Chgo and majority of the last couple of months have been in the 30's and 40's.  I bought 6 heats lamps I picked up at local hardware store and thick plastic draped over either a wooden frame like I made or I heard someone made from 2 inch diam PVC frame?  If you keep the plastic fairly low the work area will heat up quickly, but like Kathy says, I would not leave it alone and use caution.  My work area heated up to almost 6o degrees in less than an hour.  I am giving kayak inside a second coat and the epoxy dried to the touch in hours.  I don' think the hairdryer would dry it faster than the heatlamps.

RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

I use an electric, oil filled radiant heater in my normally unheated garage with a plastic tent. The heater elements are inside the oil bath so no danger of fire. It has a oil thermostat that keeps the oil in the radiator at a constant temp. The air in the garage stays at 65 or more even when the temp out side is in the 30s.

I think I paid about $30 at Lowes or Home Depot.

RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

I'll throw my vote in with the plastic sheeting and worklights crowd. A 10-15 degree differential above ambient is fairly easy to obtain given enough lights and restricting, as much as possible, the volume of air you are attempting to heat.

RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

   It sure is cold here on Cape Cod. Rain at 8 am, snow at noon, but has warmed up to a nice 36 degrees at 4:30.

   I have a small electric heater that I used on cold days on my cruising boat. It is small but at 1500 W rating will warm up a small space such as the inside of my kayak. I am building my first stitch and glue kayak and used the heater to great affect for the filleting. I put the heater in one section, set the thermostat to 75 or 80 , turn it on, and covered it with a drop cloth with a scrap of wood if necessary as a tent pole. It is safe and is called a disc furnace, it even turns off if it tips over. I have an older model but I just saw the new model when I googled Pelonis disc furnace.

                 Good luck and spring is always slow on CC,  I hope your daughter gets some good work done on her boat in this weekend.

                                                           Stay warm,  Pete.


RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

Thanks to everyone for your comments. I guess nobody has tried the hair dryer idea. Kris got here late yesterday afternoon. Outside temp was 32 but it was 50 in the shop. I turned on the electric heater while we had dinner and it warmed the shop to 62 in about two hours. We stitched the boat together and tack welded the seams with thickened epoxy. This morning the shop is back to 50 and the welds are still somewhat soft. I turned the heater back on and expect that we'll be able to remove the stitches and fillet the seams later this morning. This afternoon we plan to sheath the inside of the hull and deck. -Wes

RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

By afternoon the tack welds seemed pretty hard so we started pulling stitches, but the seam opened up. We stitched it back together, set the deck on the hull, put the heater under the boat and covered it loosely with 4-mil polyethelene. It's now 70 degrees inside the hull so it ought to cure okay. We'll try again tomorrow to fillet the seams and sheath the inside of the deck and hull. Photos and more details can be found at http://twofootartist.com/ganymede-construction-notes/

RE: Hastening Epoxy Cure

The tack welds cured hard yesterday, but we woke to 20 degree temps (40 in the shop), so didn't even try to do any more work on the boat. Next weekend is forecast dry with temps in the the high 60s, so we'll try again then. -Wes

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