Good info on UHMW - what about phenolic?

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DanG wrote:

I imagine half the cost of R&D in that field is developing surfaces that are resistant to Sharpie markers.
Now if you could just get people to install them with the doors opening out (like the handicapped stalls), so I don't have to back up into the toilet just to get out.
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Santana partitions are pretty good and reasonably priced compared to competition. The School District I work for has used it extensively as it does a good job of resisting the efforts of the little bast... er, little darlings to write on it, carve on it, burn it and otherwise trash their schools. It also doen't rust (even when regularly peed upon), doesn't absorb odors, is easily installed, holds well to fasteners, etc. I have a nice sheet of their stuff in black from when a renovation was done. Many years old (I think it was in that restroom for about 25 years) and still in great shape. Have had it for several years and haven't quite decided what to use it for... For the prior poster, a decent set of stalls in a reasonably sized public restroom that are designed to take this kind of abuse for 30 to 40 years will most definitely cost more than $5,000 when you include hardware and installation. Material cost differences between a good product like Santana and some painted steel stalls that will be ready for the dumpster in 5 years (if they can even last that long) is really minimal to the overall project cost.
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I have installed 3/4" Corian as partitions. Can be refinished, impervious to acidic fluids, easy to clean. Mind you, the installations were in a community college, so the abuse was somewhat less than the abuse younger, more energetic little snowflakes seem to impart on shithouses. No more pricey, at the time, than phenolic. I'm not even sure DuPont makes 3/4" anymore. I also installed some smaller partitions at a Holiday Inn. The were 1/2" material and were installed between urinals. Colour matched to a series of 4-bowl vanities. Looked great years later.
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I found UHMW at a local "rubber & gasket" supply house. I've bought it in 3/4" and 1/2" cut to order VERY reasonable. I later found that they offer recycled UHMW it was even cheaper, but it is bright green.
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Most of the higher-end washroom I've seen use Corian, which is absolutely beautiful stuff, if you can afford it. (Runs around $200 square foot for a 3/8" thick piece.)
I am looking into the possibility of carrying phenolic in my store online, but only if I don't have to cut it. One of my suppliers for the other materials has Phenolic cut-offs, but I don't know how much, what size, yada, yada yet and I'm up to my ears in other stuff to do right now.
I would suggest a really good alternative is Delrin, which I do carry. It's rigid, as slippery as UHMW, and pretty easy to shape.
Another good alternative would by Nylon, although it's a bit more difficult to work. You have to slow your saw down a bit and there's a danger of chipping the material instead of cutting it, so use very sharp bits, but it's within the range of workability for any home shop. Oil-filled Nylons, like Nylon 6, Nylon GSM, are just about as slippery as Phenolic.
A last alternative is Acrylic or Lexan. If you go to a thickness of about 1/4", it's reasonably rigid, and cuts quite well ( especially Lexan). You can usually find it fairly cheaply at any plastics supply store ( I don't carry it for online sales because I can't get a regular enough supply for my wholesale market yet, but I'm working on it)
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For inserts, etc., a polycarbonate such as "lexan" is a very good alternative. You can usually get scraps from sign shops if you live in a decent sized city.
And, the solid surface counter top materials, such as corian, also work well. But, they are a bit more brittle than the polycarbs.
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