2022.12.07 - Epoxy and the Cold

One of the disadvantages of working on a boat during the Winter season is that it is cold. This has two main effects. Firstly, your hands and fingers get cold making it troublesome to use sharp tools possibly leading to blood loss and secondly, paints, varnishes, glues and epoxies take long to dry/cure. Much longer.

I have a 20kW workshop heater that runs on diesel that does a fairly good job of heating up the workshop but the cold weather does a pretty good job of cooling the workshop down again once the heater is turned off. Besides which, Naiad is outside at the moment. So, I lit the charcoal heater in the cabin for a few hours and also set up the small electric heater to blow warm air on the stem from the inside before I tried to do the epoxy work on the stem.

Having screwed the wooden locating pad on the outside of the stem I used a commercial piping bag to put the epoxy into the hole from the inside. I bought a roll of the piping bags from a catering supplies company a few years ago. Before piping in the epoxy I made a small hole in the plastic sheet that I placed between the wood pad and the stem. Once the hole was almost full of epoxy I screwed the inner pad in place and pushed an 8mm brass rod through the stem from the inside.

This is the result from the outside and you can clearly see the plastic sheet.

There was some squeeze out most of which fell on the ground but some oozed out of the side.

This is the view from the inside. Having done this I left the whole thing over night to start curing. I didn't leave the electric heater on but the charcoal heater burned for some hours during the night.

First thing in the morning I relit the charcoal heater and withdrew the brass rod. As you can see, the resulting hole is pretty good.

With the pad removed you can see the dark of the copper grease I used to ensure that the wooden pad did not get epoxied to the stem.

This is the inner pad and I think I may have overdone the grease a little but I doubt that any of it got into the epoxy.

The outside pad came off easily and left behind the squeeze out which I was able to pull off by hand. The hole has come out pretty well, not completely centered in the epoxy but more than close enough especially since some of the epoxy will have been absorbed into the wood.

Now I just have to resist doing anything heavy as the epoxy will take quite some days in order to fully cure. The bonding reaction slows down a lot in the cold but does not stop, meaning that it will not be able to resist a lot of stress until fully cured. I will be able to dry fit the eyebolt, fit the interior backing pad and the exterior ones as well if I decide to make them but I won't be able to put the eye bolt in place with sealant and tighten it up for a couple of weeks. I may even wait until the boat is in the workshop and has been warmed up with the heater in there before completing the task.

Still, I am happy at the result so far. now I have to wait for the eye bolt to arrive.