Compound for filling cracks in wooden quoins (corner blocks)?

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blueman wrote:

You didn't mention how big these gaps and cracks are. Nor how old. Age is important because if the gaps/cracks are largish and old then the wood surface on the interior of the gaps/cracks has aged and weathered and may present an adhesion problem with whatever you put in.
You really have only three choices (and probably only two practical ones)...
1. Clean up the gaps/cracks and glue in wood splines or dutchmen with weather proof glue. Probably not practical but if you decide on doing it you need to have fresh wood to glue to and the way to do that is to cut partially thru the quoin with a saw or router, choice dependant on width of crack. Cut wide enough to have fresh wood on each side.
2. Caulk. True, it isn't all that sandable but it *is* sliceable. Handles expansion and contraction well too. This would be my first choice for smallish cracks - up to 1/8" or so. Caulk *can* be applied smoothly.
3. Resin with a filler. Two main choices of resin: polyester and epoxy. Multiple choices of filler: saw dust, silica (Cabosil), micro balloons, talc and more. Silica wouldn't be good, too rigid and hard to sand. Micro balloons make a fairly easy to sand putty as does talc. Bondo is polyester resin and talc.
The problem you may encounter with any resin/filler combo is wedging; i.e., expansion/contraction of the quoin against the rigid filler may either cause the crack to crack more or push out the filler a bit.
I used to have a good sized wooden sailboat and used both Bondo and proprietary filled epoxies to fill gouges and dings (never a crack though). Both did a decent job, couldn't see any diffrerence between them; after a year or two or three areas filled with either were a smidge proud and needed to be sanded down again. Neither ever "let loose". I think Bondo is under rated.
The only cracks I ever had were on a teak transom I put on. I fixed them with teak splines as explained above.
--

dadiOH
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Good point. Given the age of the house and the fact that upkeep has been variable over the past 150 years, I would assume that most of the cracks are old and have weathered.
In terms of size. They vary in width from hairline to maybe 1/4" (or 3/8"), with most of the fillable ones being more like 1/16" to 1/8".

How would you compare the following resins: Bondo (cheap!) Miniwax High Performance Wood Filler SystemThree SculptWood Abatron WoodEpox
Thanks!

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blueman wrote:

I can't. The only one I've used is Bondo; actually, "automobile body filler" - Bondo is a trade name.
I suspect the Minwax one is Bondo revisted. The System Threee would be an epoxy with some type of filler, I know not what. Ditto the Abatron.
Just as a general thing, anything with epoxy will have better adhesion than one with polyester resin (Bondo). However, beaucoup tons of polyester have been used...both now and over the past 50+ years to repair/fabricate boats and fix dings in cars. Seems to last pretty well :)
--

dadiOH
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I've used Bondo and Minwax. Minwax is a better product for your application. It appears to me to be just an epoxy mixed with some sort of filler, possibly even wood dust. You add a hardener just like you would with regular epoxy. It sets pretty fast so it's not a good idea to mix a lot at once. It's paintable, sandable, water proof and easy to shape. The only reason I haven't used the other products mentioned is cost and availability. (Minwax is available at the Borg)
Max
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blueman wrote:

You saiid it, also poor adhesion.

?
Takes the mystery out of mixing up fairing.
Pricey but convenient.
It will also get the job done.

?
HTH
Lew
Lew
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sticks to any type of tool you use to apply it and shape it). I also have noted that when it is sanded thin it can sometimes peel off (probably what you mean by poor adhesion).
But it is cheap and I have used it successfully for interior, non-structural uses.

more like a SystemThree epoxy. The fast setup time and mention of drawing out a thin bead of hardener plus the description of a noxious volatile odor reminds me more of Bondo.

- It's pricey (as you mention) - It is also hard to tool but it's the opposite extreme of Bondo -- I find that it is not sticky enough and that it is hard to lay out a thin layer with a putty knife - though it is great for filling bigger gaps or for shaping missing pieces.
On the positive side, it is easy to mix (just knead together two equal size balls), it has minimal odor, and it has a longer setup time than Bondo (actually I would love to have something between the 5-10min pot time of Bondo and the 8 hours or so it takes SculptWood to harden enough to sand)

Homebuilding and other mags.

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"blueman" wrote:

I've got better things to do than waste my time on Bondo.

So buy a gallon kit, (5 gal bucket if it's a big job) of epoxy (Slow hardener), a bag of mico-balloons and mix your own putty to whatever consistency works for you as well as reduce cost.
You will get at least 30 minute pot life.
If working outdoors, don't work in direct summer sun.
HTH
Lew
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OK - Now you have tickled my interest. - How would I make up a SculptWood equivalent using epoxy and fairing? - What products would you recommend? - What proportions? - Would the epoxy+fairing mixture have the same workability when mixed? Would it have the same sandability and wood-like machineability when cured?

Last time I looked, the West System hardener and Resin were not exactly cheap either. Just to keep the comparisons apples-to-apples, I looked at Jamestown Distributors online and used similar volumes (i.e. I didn't compare pints of one to gallons of another)
System Three Sculpwood: $34 for 2 pint kit (1 each hardener & resin)
West System Epoxy Resin (1 quart) $34.95, Hardener (0.44 pint) $16.25, West Low Density Filler (12 oz) $34.45
So, it seems to me that if anything, making it yourself using West System is even a little more expensive. Am I missing something obvious here?
Thanks, Jeff
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"blueman" wrote:

See response to previous post.

They are selling you a form of fairing putty.

Yes.
It's all in the packaging.
You are looking at small repair kit pricing.
Buy a 5 gal bucket (45 lbs) of resin and a gallon of hardener and watch the price drop.
A 30# bag of Dicaperl (HP-500) (micro-balloons) was less than $25 the last time I bought a bag.

Yes.
Lew
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much more expensive? (15oz for $30, 14lb for $300!!!!)
(BTW, when I googled, Dicaperl HP-500, I mostly got articles about nuclear waste disposal and couldn't find any online sites selling it -- where can I buy it?)
Also, if I go with West Systems and had to choose one hardener to start, would you recommend the Fast (205), Slow (206), or Extra Slow (209)?
Finally, other than experience and trial-and-error, how do you figure out how much fairing to add?
Thanks

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"blueman" wrote:

Sounds like phenolic balloons which are super light weight for the race boat crowd.
They are VERY expensive and unneeded for this application unless you plan to race your house in a sailboat race<G>..

Try "Dicaperl" to find a distributor in your area, then ask them for HP-500.
Corporate hd'qrs are here in Torrence (Los Angeles). HP500 mis mined in Colorado, New Mexico area.

You want slow or extra slow.

Ever do any cooking?
You get a feel for it in a hurry.
Mix up 3-4 OZ of resin, then add balloons, mixing until it feels like what you want.
It ain't rocket science.
Just make sure you wear protective clothing such as gloves.
Got a Harbor Freight around you?
Lew
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They are getting close... just started entering New England but not Boston yet -- but I plan to take a ride out to one about 50 miles away one day... What do they carry that I should look for?
Thanks Lew
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"blueman" wrote:

Boxes of non sterile surgical gloves ($5/100 max) and boxes of 2" chip brushes($0.25 ea/max) when on sale.
Check their web site.
BTW, find a restaurant supply house, you are going to need paper cups.
Lew
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Lew Hodgett wrote:

And save things like Cool Whip containers. Cured epoxy pops right out of them.
--

dadiOH
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It's amazing how many kitchen implements and recycled food containers I have in the shop. I can tell which room I'm in by the smell - the shop smells better! I am one lousy cook and I love the smell of shop. ;)
R
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You might consider replacing the compromised quoins (good usage by the way - almost everyone incorrectly calls them 'coins') with something like Azek or another expanded PVC product? The stuff holds paint wonderfully well and is very easy to work.
R
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True but....
- The quoins have a raised-panel like profile that I would need to match and machine. Also, being 150 years old, they are not likely to be standard dimensional lumber (or synthetic) thickness so I would probably also need to plane it to thickness. Finally, since nearly all the quoins have some cracking, it would be a lot of work given 4 corners (times two sides of each corner) time 2 full stories.
- Given the "historical" nature of the house, I am a bit "snobby" about trying to do a faithful restoration using the original materials like wood (though sometimes I do think that I should just swab the whole house in vinyl siding, vinyl windows, PVC trim, etc. and be done with all the upkeep :)
Thanks
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Get the comparison and the low-down over here at my website:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/library/OHJEpoxy2004/OHJEpoxy2004.htm
then see the Report on Wood-Epoxy Repairs:
http://www.historichomeworks.com/hhw/reports/reports.htm#Wood-Epoxy%20Repairs
and join the epoxy discussion at the Forum:
http://historichomeworks.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=4
There is a lot to be said for traditional woodwork repairs too. See the current Report from the Field:
www.HistoricHomeWorks.com
take care, work safe and keep in touch.
John
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You wouldn't be planing the PVC down, you'd be building it up if anything.
Here's the matching and machining process. Buy a sheet of expanded PVC (comes in plywood sized sheets and thicknesses up to 1"), run sheet through table saw and cut blocks to size, tilt blade to required raised panel angle, run blocks through table saw on all four sides.
Without seeing your situation, and not knowing the exact dimensions, but being an expert with a lot of experience in wild assed guesses, I'm guesstimating one or two 1" 4x8 sheets per corner - that's about $140 - $280 per corner. The stuff also comes in 16" (nominal) width plank, if that fits your needs better.
The sheets are available in much longer lengths. From the Azek site: "AZEK Sheets are the perfect trim product for pop-out bay window, raised panel, dormers, soffit and other trim applications over 16 inches wide. AZEK Sheets are available in 3/8, 1/2, 5/8, 3/4 and 1 inch thicknesses and in sheet sizes from 4ft x 8ft up to 4ft x 20ft."

I understand the desire to remain faithful, but using expanded PVC trim and painting it, well, you're the only one who would ever know, and the main ways you'd know would be the reduced amount of required maintenance and the extra time and money. Then again it isn't my money and I shouldn't be saving it for you. ;) You also should remember that the guys that built your house would have used a weatherproof and maintenance free product if there were any available back then. Frankly, it would be no different than using Ice and Water Shield under the shingles when you reroof - it's an improvement that doesn't compromise the quality or look of the house at all.
BTW, if you have white trim, you don't have to paint the Azek at all. If you have dark painted trim, you don't want to use expanded PVC - it doesn't like dark paint and strong sun as it expands too much.
R
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What you want is an epoxy make for wood repairs like Abatron. I've also used MAS epoxy with wood powder added. Bondo and Minwax wood filler won't be flexible enough. on this old house last season or so, they used stuff from Advanced Repair Technology http://www.advancedrepair.com/architectural_epoxy/architectural_epoxy.htm
hth Eric
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