Stained CLC Camper Build Progress
October 12, 2017 at 1:15 pm #1376
I’ve finally made progress with my camper! It’s been slow going with the heat and humidity in Houston, TX. My first long strip of fiberglass got messy because the epoxy batch kicked in about 15 min in 85deg weather. Until it cools off a lot more I will stick to <4 ounce batches.
All pieces needed to be conditioned and stained prior to any epoxy work. I used the Hickory color Behlin Solar Lux dye and Minwax pre-stain conditioner. I’m also taking video of the process and will keep you all posted on the progress.October 12, 2017 at 7:53 pm #1382
if you keep the resin and hardener in your house, and dispense and mix it in the house, you might get a few more minutes out of it than if you start with the two parts at 85F.October 13, 2017 at 12:34 pm #1383
Thanks for the great idea faithie999. I may give that a try and start storing the resin in the house. I started mixing it while holding the container right in front of my portable AC to help cool it down too. I may even try putting my mixing container inside another larger container with ice water to prolong pot life. Either way in a few more weeks I shouldn’t have much more of an issue with heat.October 15, 2017 at 7:01 pm #1389
That is what we did. Our townhouse has a 1st floor bathroom right inside from the garage we built in and the sink was relegated the last 4 months as our epoxy storage and pumping station. We also store the marine varnish/CA glue/etc in there and only took it to the garage as needed.
A few other heat related ideas as we built for weeks with it in the high 90s here:
- If your garage door is not insulated get some bubble wrap based radiant barrier rolls. We get full sun on a metal garage door for the hottest part of the Maryland day and this dropped our temperature by 10 degrees! I considered adding some foam boards with radiant barrier as well and only didn’t to save time as the extra weight likely would mean I needed the tension adjusted professionally. The weight of the double thick bubble wrap sandwiched between 2 radiant layers did not effect the garage door.
- Radiant barrier is good all year round so I plan to maintain it going forward regardless of the project.
- If you can get some air conditioning in your garage over night you can often to the epoxy etc early the next morning before the sun is in full effect. We cooled by leaving the door open in to the house and blowing air in with fans. From my memories of living in El Paso years ago, that might not be viable with Texas heat!
- Epoxy especially does not seem to need a super slow cure time so we would let the temperature come up after epoxy applications and often it was not tacky after 4-6 hours and in 12 we could even sand it.
- Make sure every place you can do the fiberglass/epoxy in multiple steps that you do it! We did the top/left side/right side in 3 steps over 3 days. This was great with maybe 3 bubbles! It fooled us in to thinking we had this. We did the bottom in one step, as the hymnal never mentioned splitting it up and we were naive. With the heat rushing the epoxy that was a HUGE mistake. In hind site we should have spread that bottom glassing over 2 days and it would have been MUCH better. Bubbles all over the butt block. Hours of grinding them out and filling them. Luckily this was the bottom and we painted it.
- The trickiest part we had was with marine varnish. It is supposed to be applied between 60-80 and even at 78 we has issues with being able to tip it. If we build another one (yes we had that much fun) we have talked about a supplemental AC just for the garage at that stage. We might end up having to get creative and put a unit on our balcony disguised as a planter with a disguised in/outlet running down due to our HOA!
Timing is critical. With the varnish we rushed on 3 coats with only scotch bright clean up between them to make our trip this weekend. No one noticed, but we did. As the temp drops over the next month or so, we have enough varnish and we plan to wet sand and do 2 more to get it more beautiful. Maybe 3…October 16, 2017 at 11:12 am #1401
Comccoy, thanks for the ideas. Its funny you mention insulating the garage. After 2 days of working in this heat I went out and picked up 1″ foil backed rigid foam to insulate the garage door which helped a little. I’ve also installed a portable AC which vents out to the soffit. You can see the AC unit on the right in the first photo of my previous post. I will need to install an inline duct fan on the extended exhaust pipe to help pull the hot air away from the AC unit. It currently only runs for a few minutes before it shuts off from over heating.
Until i can get it cooler in my garage I’ve been resorting to keeping the resin cool before use. I’m also only do small batches at a time (8 pumps or less) and bright an early in the morning. I hope to be working on the large glassing steps in the dead of winter where heat wont be an issue.
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