west system

Discussion in 'Boat Yard Basics' started by david_saito, Sep 9, 2014.

  1. david_saito

    david_saito I Love microskiff.com!

    Why is the west system fiberglass so expensive ? Boat builder central has the marinepoxy and their cloth is much cheaper.
  2. trplsevenz

    trplsevenz I Love microskiff.com!

    west system is severely overrated. And from what I hear, the chemistry is very old school(blushing) that uses amonia as a key initiator in the curing process. Much better and cheaper solutions to be found, as you have done. Check out UScomposites.com also. many great vendors available.

  3. timemachine

    timemachine I Love microskiff.com!

    west system cloth is insanely expensive and they want you to buy whole rolls. I've got 1708 and 10 oz cloth from us composites for super cheap. For quick buildup, 1708 is great.

    I've only ever used west system epoxy, but maybe it's time to look into alternatives.
  4. firecat1981

    firecat1981 BBA Counselor

    West systems is expensive for the same reasons some other products are (ie. Hells bay boats, apple computers, Lexus cars.....), because they are very good at marketing their products. It doesn't mean you can't find similar, or in your case better products for much less. It means the average Joe who shops exclusively at west marine or bass pro will keep buying it cause he recognizes the name and assumes it means quality.

    BBC is a good place with good people to buy from. I also like FGCI, and really like to use their 2:1 or 4:1 laminating epoxy for just about everything.
  5. WhiteDog70810

    WhiteDog70810 Mostly Harmless

    "Why is the west system fiberglass so expensive?"

    Because it is the first brand you buy locally for some weekend patch job. If that job turns out well, you stick with what you trust. They also make it color-by-numbers simple.

    Once you take on a big project like a boat build, you are generally forced to try something more affordable and you get pissed off when you find out it is a better product. You also learn that mixing your own fillers isn't a big deal and you can buy wood floor and flumed silica in gallon buckets for a fraction of the cost of a quart of the WS premixed stuff.

    West Systems is okay epoxy to work with, but it blushes like crazy. Marinepoxy is a much, much better product. I never had any significant blush with it even when using fast hardener. Lots of guys really like Raka epoxy also.

  6. tomahawk

    tomahawk Well-Known Member

    My boat is built almost entirely with marin epoxy and FG from BBC. Absolutely no complaints and for sure no blushing. They are fairly local to me so I just drive up and pick it up.
    I have also used some glass from Fiberglass Supply Depot and Ebond epoxy from there as well. No issues there either. They are local to me as well.
    I really like the Marinepoxy and prefer it to the Ebond. The Ebond is very thick. FGSD sells Raka as well, but I have not used it. I am going to use the Raka UV resistant epoxy as the final coat on my CF grab bar though.
  7. DuckNut

    DuckNut Brandon, FL

    The above statements are from opinions, some are quite accurate and not misleading.

    However, that is only part of the answer. West Marine products were the first ones on the market and they changed the way boats are built. They have spent millions of dollars on testing and that testing has proved valuable over the years.

    Their products have undergone lab tests to verify every aspect of the product and with that assessment comes engineering specifications. They are the only epoxy products that are spec'd in construction and in many cases when repairs are necessary the engineer will specify the use of their products.

    Over the years there may be other ones that have been tested, but they were the only ones for 25+ years. Their products are exactly as they claim- they are excellent.

    That does not mean there are not alternatives that can be used for general applications. Epoxy is a simple chemistry mixture. You can even save more money by doing it yourself. http://pslc.ws/macrog/eposyn.htm

    I have used several of the alternatives available and have asked to get a spec sheet on their products and not a single one has the ability to produce an independent test result.

    Also, they are made in the USA. Bay City, MI to be exact.

    Moving on to the cloth- all of the glass they sell is 100% compatible with epoxy. Very little of the glass from the big manufacturers are completely compatible. Yes they will work but there is the risk on failure. Also, if you be very careful when using mat.

    Here is an article that sums up my comments.
    Just so you are aware JR-Shine is the owner of boat builder central/Bateau. Make sure you read how he uses scientific proof to ensure compatibility.

    Not dissin' Shine, as he has built a good reputation- but lacks scientific proof and that proof costs a lot of money to obtain.

    Choose whatever products you want but make sure they work harmoniously.
  8. CurtisWright

    CurtisWright Light, Strong, Cheap. Pick Two.

    Chopped strand matte comes with a binder on it that holds it all together. The binder is usually soluble in Polyester resin only. If your buying choped matte for epoxy resin you have to buy it with an epoxy soluble binder on it or it will not lay flat once you wet it.
  9. jasonrl23

    jasonrl23 Plays with Glass...

    Im not bashing USComposites but their epoxy is one of the oldest formulas you can buy.  Ive used it and it works great..but Im not gonna say its on par with a zero VOC epoxy like Cass/AdTech. No blushing, UV stable, no VOC, etc..... but expensive and you get what you pay for with CASS. No rebadged EPON brand epoxy like USC.

    Cloth wise US Composites has great prices and cloth. No reason to buy expensive stuff if you dont have to.
  10. timemachine

    timemachine I Love microskiff.com!

    That's a nice tip, Thanks- Merritt Marine has this epoxy on their website in gallons that are about the same price as others, and cheaper than west.
  11. jasonrl23

    jasonrl23 Plays with Glass...

    No problem.

    Just have to pick the right hardener for your project. High CPS for bagging or wet layup. Low CPS for infusion.
  12. trplsevenz

    trplsevenz I Love microskiff.com!

    My plug for USC had more to do with price vs. west than anything. I use their slow hardener and haven't had an issue with blushing. I still prefer polyester resin, though not for wood work.
  13. jasonrl23

    jasonrl23 Plays with Glass...

    Oh yeah I've worked with their Poly a ton. I like USC other than the fact that they dont like walk in customers. I mean I live 8 miles from there. Why would I pay for shipping?

    Heres the question you have to ask yourself with Poly. Do I want this to last 30 years? Or 25? Thats the difference between good or bad Poly. All of it will eventually need repair but will you still own your boat by then?