August 24, 2007

West System G/Flex

gflex.jpgWe use West System Epoxy all the time and even though it's our go-to goo, there are some usability issues with it. First, the proportions of resin to hardener need to be dead on or the epoxy starts having issues with drying time and adhesion (we screwed up one batch so badly that it just never set up). And it's not just a 1:1 ratio; it's either 5:1 or 3:1 depending on which hardener you're using. If your pumps aren't working, this is not an easy ratio to 'eyeball'. But if you are using your pumps, it's difficult to get just a small amount mixed. Even the smaller sized pumps can leave you with a lot of epoxy left over if all you need is a just a little bit.

West System has just released G/Flex, a new user friendly, two part epoxy system that deals with all of these issues. It uses a simple 1:1 ratio, making mixing much easier and eliminating the need for the pumps. And with the easy ratio, it's going to be no problem mixing up tiny amounts if that's all that's needed.

G/Flex is designed to be used on be used on hardwoods, metal, ceramics, fiberglass and damp wood (it can even be used underwater, if used correctly). It has a working time of about 45 minutes and a dry time of 7 to 10 hours. Additionally, all of West System's standard additives and fillers are compatible with G/Flex, making it just as versatile as its bigger brother.

According to West System, G/Flex out performed traditional West System in the area of heat resistance and matched it in the area of adhesion. But still, there are things that the original epoxy is better at. Because G/Flex has a higher viscosity, it is more difficult to spread over flat surfaces and this same characteristic reduces it effectiveness with some of the fillers.

These differences really only enter into things of you're doing some serious boat-building. If you need a good epoxy for rot repairs, sealing end grain, and gluing chunks of ipe together, this could be the ticket. It's far more portable than West System and it looks much easier to deal with.

G/Flex is available both in standard form as well as a pre-thickened version. Here's a video of the epoxy in action. The guy demonstrates how it can be used underwater.

Available at Jamestown Distributors

Read More in: Glues and Adhesives

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at August 24, 2007 5:46 AM

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