Fiberglass and epoxy slabs

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Fiberglass and epoxy slabs

Post  William Feldman on Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:19 pm

I have been reading articles about building artificial slabs using chicken wire, fiberglass matting, and fiberglass resin. Several articles talk about adding detail using "epoxy resin". I haven't been able to find "epoxy resin" at Lowes or Home Depot. Does anybody know if "epoxy resin" is the same thing as "epoxy glue"? Or is it something like auto body filler?

William Feldman
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Re: Fiberglass and epoxy slabs

Post  Jim Doiron on Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:39 pm

Hey William, you should be able to find it and fiberglass mesh or lose "hair" fiberglass at auto parts/supply places. It is primarily used to create auto body parts/repairs and comes in something like quart size I think? Epoxy glue is similar but you would have to buy 25 tubes of it to do even a small slab. I don't think you can use "Bondo" type resin unless you have something (preferably metal) to mold it around? Be sure to get the best respirator you can, this stuff is nasty even outdoors.

Jim Doiron
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Re: Fiberglass and epoxy slabs

Post  bisjoe on Thu Jan 28, 2010 12:34 am

What you want is molding resin. I have a local source but they are only on the west coast, Tap Plastics. perhaps look for plastic suppliers in your area. They may also have it at better craft stores but probably in smaller (& more expensive) sizes.

http://www.tapplastics.com/shop/category.php?bid=33&PHPSESSID=20100127163405657896067

bisjoe
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Re: Fiberglass and epoxy slabs

Post  Kevin Yates on Thu Jan 28, 2010 11:32 am

I have used epoxy many times and trust me; you do not want to get into using it!
While Polyester Resin and Epoxy will both work equally well with Fiberglass Cloth or Chopped Mat, they are both extremely harmful to your health, environment and not to mention the potential danger of placing it next to the bonsai roots.
As an artist, I've used these plastics many times; I've even had horrible plastic sculpture courses at university with one of the developers of Polyester resin! We were told that it was safe, not once told to wear a respirator, and I’ve since become extremely sensitive and can't even be close to the stuff without being sick for days! Epoxy while more pleasant smelling is even worst, and was designed to not smell as toxic. Wearing a respirator gives you a false sense that you are protecting yourself and in fact over 80% of vapors entry our bodies through our eyes every time we blink!
I have seen many incidences where it wasn't mixed properly and never sets up and cures, I've seen even small areas not while everything else does. Apparently it is safe only if it chemically reacts with the proper amount of part A and B, otherwise it off gasses and leaches and could harm the plant and introduce chemicals around your yard and home.
Sorry for the rant, if you still want to use it, it is sold in larger quantities through boat supply and repair companies. Polyester in generally used because it's cheaper, but it yellows in the sun, while epoxy is used by boat builders to coat wood boats and it doesn't yellow, both are water proof. You will find though that they are much more liquid than the epoxies you use as glue because they need to be painted onto the fiberglass cloth to fully wet them out otherwise the cloth will have no strength and may delaminate.
Personally, I would stick to cement fondue or high alumina cement mixed with Chopped Fiber Glass (wear gloves and mask) it looks more natural than epoxies and will weather in time.
Hope this info helps.

Kevin Yates
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Re: Fiberglass and epoxy slabs

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