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Sanding epoxy tips

By Thistle1040 - Posted on 08 January 2012

I really like Progressive No-Blush epoxy and no, I'm not paid by them for this endorsement. I've worked with different brands of epoxy over the last 30 years and have developed a sensitivty to several of them. Not so with No-Blush. I also like the way it sands. Epoxy gets harder as it cures. Try to sand it too early and your paper will gum up and the epoxy will heat up and turn to gunk on your sand paper. Wait too long after the cure and it will be hard and difficult to sand. If you time it right, you'll have easy sanding without clogging and No-Blush seems to have a good two-week window where it's easy to sand.

Last week I sheathed the inside of my Thistle with 3.7 oz fiberglass cloth and epoxy. Before this can be varnished, it must be sanded smooth, first with 80 grit and then eventally up to 150 or 220. Areas in the boat that will get epoxy paint (right next to the keelson where the crew's feet go) will be painted and the rest of the boat will be left natural. The cloth will be transparent under epoxy and varnish.

Some general sanding tips:

  • Buy rolls of sanding disks from ebay. Change your disks often. Life is too short to do anything else
  • Wear a mask. Epoxy has some nasty chemicals and you don't need to be breathing that stuff.
  • Use earplugs. Hearing loss is cumulative. That means that the more you use those power tools without earplugs, the worse it will get. I learned this lesson too late and at 54, already have hearing problems.
  • When sanding epoxy sheathing over wood, your goal is to level out the epoxy and avoid going into the cloth. The next layer of epoxy or varnish will make the cloth transparent again so don't worry if you can see a little of the weave after your sanding.
  • For your final coat, use a low-viscosity epoxy that will flow and level some. This will make the final sanding easier. Progressive makes a version called Low-V and this works well. 

Best Marine Epoxy

My favorite epoxy? Progressive Basic No-Blush Epoxy

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