FAQ for types of epoxy resin?

Hi again folks, where can I find a good FAQ for the types of epoxy resin and when to use them?

Also - where to source them?

I see in the other thread I started it is recommended not to use polyester resin. Well, I just about finished a refurb on a canoe where that is all I had available (standard “Bondo”) so that is what I used.

Is this going to be a disaster?

It was a free canoe so no big loss to me. But before I go further with other canoes I’d like to learn a bit more about resin types.

Call or write West Systems
and ask for their free literature.

Ask for their “user manual and Product Guide” and any other info they have available

Their phone is: 866-937-8797

or e-mail Tom Pawlak at TPP@gougeon.com

I would never use bondo

Jack L

Not in Canada

– Last Updated: Aug-18-15 12:04 PM EST –

West Systems "where to buy" link does not seem to include Canada

EDIT: whoops, nix that, they are in Canada


What is the deal on Bondo?
OK so is my canoe going to fall apart now once I put it in the water?

Too late to warn me not to use it. Should I re-do the whole works now?

I note a substantial price difference between Bondo and the West Systems stuff. Like 4x to 5x the price.

This is a beater canoe for me. I’ll be sure to use the proper expensive stuff when I need it on one of my good canoes, but is this going to matter to me in any real way on this one?

polyester resin

– Last Updated: Aug-18-15 12:45 PM EST –

Polyester resin is much weaker than vinyl-ester and epoxy resins. That alone would be a reason not to use it, but the real problem is that polyester resin may not cure properly when applied over epoxy resin and I believe the same is true for vinyl-ester resins.

Most gel coat is a polyester material, however and stuff like bondo is OK for filling in gouges and scrapes in gel coat that you are then going to sand smooth and paint over. I would not use a polyester material for structural repairs or wetting out cloth.

Yes, epoxy is much more expensive but the advantages outweigh the cost. Epoxy can be used for repairs to boats constructed with polyester or vinyl-ester resins. It has an excellent shelf-life, much better than vinyl-ester resins.

I have used West Systems epoxy most often, partly because of excellent customer support but also for consistency in cure times, color, transparency, etc. I have also had good luck with System Three and MAS epoxy. I have heard good things about Raka epoxy, but have not used it.

If you are relatively new to working with resins and cloth, an excellent resource available as a free download is "The Epoxy Book" published by System Three. The information is applicable to use of other epoxies as well;


There is quite a bit of technical info available on the West Systems website as well.

Try Fiberglass Supply Inc
For epoyy and a very useful guide booklet. I used West and System Three on some strip canoes about twenty years ago and preferred the system three. I have used polyester from the auto store for quick and dirty repairs without problems.

What canoe?

– Last Updated: Aug-18-15 1:31 PM EST –

Wenonah told me a few years ago that the auto repair resin from any hardware store was good enough for surface coating for a roughed up skin coat ultra light Wenonah. I think it's the dreaded polyester resin.

A quick search on epoxy, vinylester, and polyester gave:






Thanks all
Thanks everyone. I will just keep things like they are and if it falls apart I’ll redo it with the correct stuff :slight_smile:

This is my practice canoe anyway. I was lucky to get it for free, and it was really good practice to do it up the way I did. Was a great learning experience.

I’ll post some pictures in a few moments …

Here are some pictures
First some pictures of where the canoe had been living the last few years (top of an old barn that is almost falling apart)


And now some pictures of my handywork … there is still some fine sanding required in a few places.