Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 08-06-2008, 07:26 PM   #1
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
Epoxy vapor problem

In my spare time while spending the summer in WA near family (i.e. not on my boat in FL), I'm building a sea kayak. I've run into a substantial problem tolerating the epoxy vapors. Disposable masks don't do the trick. There are a lot of respirators on the market, but which one to use? I have borrowed a nice, big box fan to put in the garage, and now that the hull is put together, I can carry it outside to work on it, but I'm going to need a mask that will filter out the vapors and the fiberglass and resin sanding dust. I really, really, really want to finish this boat myself. Are there any 'sensitive guys (or gals) like myself' out there with any suggestions for me?

Mama Cat
owned by The Cats' Meow
MTOA newbie
__________________
Advertisement

Mama Cat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 09:36 PM   #2
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

The people who work in Boeing's paint hangars used to wear masks with the two round filters on either side of the face. These days they wear full face mask and hooded outfits with an air supply when they paint. We work in these hangars from time to time shooting paint operations but we can't do our work wearing the complete outfits the painters wear now. So we all have the kind of masks they used to use. They have replaceable filter elements and I can tell you that you cannot get a whiff of paint, solvent, etc. with one of these things on. They aren't fancy and I've seen similar respirators in good hardware stores (not Loews, Home Depot, Ace, etc. although they may carry something similar).

-- Edited by Marin at 22:37, 2008-08-06
__________________

Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2008, 10:58 PM   #3
Senior Member
 
Chris Foster's Avatar
 
City: Anacortes, WA
Country: USA
Vessel Name: Juz-B-Cuz
Vessel Model: 38' Rawson Trawler
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 278
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Marin's got your two options described.* If you're doing a lot of that kind of work, the outside air supply is the way to go.* They're not extremely expensive (less than 1/2 boat unit).* The homebuilt aircraft world deals with this a lot, so you can check one out at

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...s/hobbyair.php

For about 1/10 as much, you can get the respirator - you need something that's listed for "organic vapors and sprays," which must be marked on the respirator cartridge.* Here's a good example:

http://www.aircraftspruce.com/catalo...ntspryresp.php

Are you using epoxy or polyester?* Usually it's poly resin that people have breathing trouble with.* Epoxy is a skin allergy problem... if it is epoxy that you're using, be certian to use latex or nalgene gloves all of the time even if you don't currently have sensitivity to it.* You develop sensitivity with time and exposure - there are lots of homebuilt airplane kits half finished when the builders developed extreme epoxy sensitivity after a few months.

In any case, do NOT try to "tough it out" without some sort of respirator - the stuff is really not very good for you.
Chris Foster is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 04:44 AM   #4
FF
Guru
 
FF's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 16,515
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

if it is epoxy that you're using, be certian to use latex or nalgene gloves all of the time even if you don't currently have sensitivity to it. You develop sensitivity with time and exposure -

AND the biggest problem with Epoxy is the hardener will come to the surface , after hardening.

AND its the hardener that does most of the skin damage.

Good detergent , JOY or similar and a scrub pad will make the surface or joint safe to touch.
FF is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 09:42 AM   #5
Guru
 
2bucks's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 698
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Respirators have different cartridges which help capture certain specific chemicals in the air. Be sure you are getting one that is specifically for the chemicals you are being affected by. Many of the cheaper masks are only particulate filters and do nothing for the chemical problem.

Be very aware of the oxygen level of your workplace. What many people forget to account for is that air is typically listed as 78% nitrogen 21% oxygen and 1% other gasses. If you smell acetone, for example, those acetone vapors are displacing some of the oxygen and nitrogen in the air. Fortunately the aroma's of most chemicals are detectable by the human nose at very low concentration, and when they get too intense the person will self evacuate. Unfortunately the nose can also become overexposed and lose its ability to continue to detect the vapors.

Someone also mentioned supplied air respirators. Don't be tempted to use the air out of your regular air compressor for this. The oil mist from a regular compressor is bad for you to breath in that concentration. Oilless compressors are available and should be certified for breathing air.

You only have one set of lungs, take care of them.

Ken
2bucks is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 12:33 PM   #6
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Thanks so much, guys. It is epoxy I'm using, and I would never have thought to look in to aircraft hobby building supplies! All advice well taken. One more question: don't the vapors dissipate over time, like in 72 hours or so after applying the stuff?
Mama Cat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 03:34 PM   #7
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

FF's point is well taken. Make sure to keep the stuff off your skin. I remember reading years ago that at least one of the fellows who developed the WEST system (Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique) developed a serious allergy from contact with the epoxy and couldn't be around it anymore.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2008, 06:06 PM   #8
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

I am using System Three General Purpose Epoxy mixed 2 parts resin to 1 part hardener.

Contact dermatitis has not been an issue: I've been using double gloves to make sure of that. The vapors are a different story. Hopefully a break from boat building and a good respirator will take me back to level ground. One thing that concerns me about the respirator from Aircraft Spruce & Specialty is the 'medium size facepiece fits most wearers' description. I have been told that a close fit is paramount for proper protection.
Mama Cat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2008, 09:06 AM   #9
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 10
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Hi Marin,

Back in the day (late 80s), I was director of marketing for Gougeon Brothers (WEST SYSTEM Epoxy), and I know both Jan and Meade Gougeon, the founders, well. I still see Meade at least once a year. To my knowledge, neither of them became sensitized to epoxy, and to this day, both are active boat builders in their semi-retirements using their products on a regular basis. That said, the hardeners certainly can cause sensitization and you have to be careful. But the Gougeon brothers are living proof that if you're careful (wear gloves, keep the epoxy off your skin, make sure you've got good ventilation, etc.) there's little to fear.

One other little bit of epoxy trivia. It's true that the brothers did pioneer boat building with epoxy, and some called it wood epoxy saturation technique. In fact, they started out as boatbuilders, primarily building DN iceboats and C-class catamarans. Their boats were so competitive, that other builders started knocking on their door, asking if they could buy some of "that new glue" from them. It didn't take the brothers long to figure out that there was a lot more money to be made selling glue than building boats! So their epoxy was trademarked and marketed under the brand name of WEST SYSTEM Brand Epoxy. But the old West technique issue has haunted them...I was involved in a lawsuit defending the WEST SYSTEM trademark when another epoxy company infringed on the mark. We were successful, but the time and legal fees involved were astounding.

Despite my obvious bias, I believe they're one of the best companies in terms of product support, technical information, and safety promotion. Anyone thinking of using epoxy (any brand) would do well to visit their Web site. They also sell very inexpensive manuals (they used to be $3) and how-to videos that address general epoxy use, fiberglass repairs, etc. And best of all, they have a full time staff of technical experts (many of them experienced boatbuilders) who you call and talk to, free of charge.

Sorry if this sounds a little promotion. I have no interest the company any more, but I am an avid user of their products!

Best,

Ted Hugger
Sequin, GB32-126
thugger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2008, 10:12 AM   #10
Newbie
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 4
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

The last couple of posts on this issue have been very encouraging! I'm working with System Three epoxy because that's what the Pygmy Boat company out of Port Townsend, WA uses and recommends to the people who buy their plans and/or full kits. For pictures of the finished product(s), see their website: http://www.pygmyboats.com/. Being 5'3, the 14' Arctic Tern is going to fit like a glove. I'll work on posting some shots of my work in progress - looking very rough at this stage but taking shape! Thanks for all the very helpful input and support. I needed that. http://www.sparkimg.com/emoticons/smile.gif

Onward and forward,
Mama Cat
Mama Cat is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2008, 03:10 PM   #11
Scraping Paint
 
City: -
Country: -
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 13,748
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Ted---

I used to subscribe to Wooden Boat magazine and in the early 1980s "fixed up" a girlfriend's dad's old wooden 16' cruiser. I used WEST products to seal up the parts of the plywood hull that needed sealing up. Anwyay, it was at this time when I was reading a lot about WEST that I saw the reference to someone who used it a lot becoming sensitized to it. It apparently wasn't the Gougeons themselves but I sure recall that it was someone who was closely associated with the company. But regardless of who it was, the advice to protect one's skin while using it is worth following.
Marin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2008, 09:34 PM   #12
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 10
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Getting sensitized is really nasty. In the worst cases, folks who are sensitized don't even have to touch the epoxy...the fumes alone can cause a reaction. Reminds me of one technical call that came in while I worked there. A guy who drank Perrier while working on his boat had decanted some hardener into an empty Perrier bottle. You guessed it...he accidentaly took a big swig of hardener. I've often wondered what effects it might have had on him!
thugger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-09-2008, 10:39 PM   #13
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 10
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

Mike, Golden Dazy pre-dated me, but I've seen a lot of photos of her. The boats they built have really stood the test of time. Adagio was a trimaran that Meade built bqck in the early 80s, I think. She's still sailing strong, which is really something considering how highly loaded they are. In fact, Meade raced her in the Port Huron/Mac up until a few years agao.

When I was there, the brothers designed and built Adrenalin, a Forumla 40 trimaran. The owner took her to Europe to campaign in the Formula 40 circuit. At the time, she was the only trimaran in a fleet of catamarans, and was so competitive, they ended up outlawing trimarans!
thugger is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 08-11-2008, 06:09 AM   #14
Senior Member
 
marinetrader's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 301
RE: Epoxy vapor problem

You need to use an Organic Vapor rated cartridge. Your best bet is to find a safety supply house.
__________________

marinetrader is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Fiberglassing and epoxy Salty Bear II General Maintenance 15 09-05-2012 03:23 PM
Epoxy Polyamide Paint Bluetide General Maintenance 3 01-06-2012 03:53 PM
best epoxy wood to fiberglass? Woodsong General Discussion 9 01-03-2011 09:47 AM
What finish over epoxy plugs? Keith General Discussion 10 06-04-2010 07:28 AM
Epoxy Questions Forkliftt General Maintenance 25 05-03-2010 11:44 AM




All times are GMT -5. The time now is 10:34 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.0
Copyright 2006 - 2012