Which epoxy glue

For laminating GP’s do you use West Marine epoxy? Something else? What about smooth-on epoxies?

what to use in laminating GP

– Last Updated: Aug-01-08 6:46 PM EST –

You can use any name brand marine epoxy (don't use discount store 5 min. stuff). If you use the correct ratio and mix throughly they all work. Avoid very thin epoxy; you want some left in the glue line. In West's favor, they have the best and most active research facility of any epoxy producer. I use MAS because that's what I learned to use when starting with epoxy. I also like System Three T-88 for small projects and their very thin epoxy for coating bare wood. I doubt any is better than West or other brands. Measuring carefully and mixing correctly are what count.

I used Gorilla Glue when making the hollow shaft Greenland paddles and the Aleutian that I have been using for 5 years. With Gorilla Glue be sure to wear gloves as it stains your hands purple. Brush one surface with glue and wet the other surface with water. You must clamp very tight with Gorilla glue, as it will otherwise foam out.

The four Aleutian paddles I made this spring were made with Tightbond III because I read in a Fine Woodworking test that Gorilla glue came in last. With Tightbond III, lightly coat both surfaces and clamp tight. Gloves not needed.

Use gloves with epoxy. First lightly coat the two surfaces with epoxy to prevent the wood from absorbing too much of the epoxy and starving the joint. Then mix some thickener into the rest of the epoxy, coat and clamp with some pressure but not extremely tight. Avoid using silica as the thickener as it dulls your tools. I favor milled fibers, but wood flour will also work.

Most glues that are listed as waterproof will work when used correctly. Any can fail when used incorrectly. Gorilla glue and Tightbond cure much faster than standard epoxy, so they were better when I was glueing up multiple blanks. For an occasional paddle I would use epoxy. Think out ahead of time how you are going to keep the parts in alignment before you apply the glue. The glue will act as grease and they will move all over if you don't have a way to maintain the alignment. As a worst case situation, I had to jig the hollow shaft blanks in three dimensions to maintain alignment.


Good advice, Dave, thanks.
One thing I would add is that West with the fast 205 hardener is still slow enough to glue wood laminations in a hot summer carport, but I would strongly suggest the 206 to be sure.

I use some left over Raka, and work
really fast in this heat.