winter repairs

Thread starter #1
I'm located in the north east and the temperature is already in the high 40s and low fifties. My boat is located in a unheated and uninsulated garage. I would like to do some Gel Coat repairs to it but i have a couple of questions. First question does gel coat cure properly when the temperature dips below 60 degrees? Question 2: If gel coat does not cure properly at low temperatures would it be unsafe to use a space heater to heat my garage while using the gel coat, would the fumes cause a fire?
If you use West System epoxy in the winter or fall, you should use the "Fast Hardener," which has a minimum recommended temperature for use of 40 degrees F.
Can you get the boat into the living room?
Some folks on here recommend that you store it there! LOL

You can get Polyester to cure this time of year by mixing a little extra hardener and exposing it to some heat, like a light bulb. But doing, this I'd question the ultimate strength of the repair. It always seems more brittle.

If you are just patching up little dings you should be all right.
The chandlery/ Boat repair place I used to manage just had a big electric heater to keep the workshop warm. It wasn't particularly pretty, but it did the job fine. Even using the west slow hardener was ok. One thing you can also do, if the temp is borderline and you're only doing small dings, is to put the mixed epoxy in the microwave for a few seconds!! Dont put a large pot in there tho, or it'll be a rock when you get it out again. and dont get caught or divorce could be on the cards! :D
I can't vouch for the safety of the practice, but I have used a space heater in a garage where I was working with resins, in order to keep the temps up.

The other thing I've been known to do is point a hair dryer or heat gun at a small repair to warm it up so it'll kick off.
Thread starter #7
Sounds good. We just had two days where the temperature was in the 60s. I took care of about 60 percent of the repairs I needed to do. For the rest, I don't believe that the space heater actually gets the temperature in the garage up more then plus four or five degrees, so I guess I will give the hair drier a try and let you know how it works out. Thanks for all the advise it has been very helpful.
Yeah, it's hard to heat the whole garage much; when I used a space heater, I placed it close to the work, so that it was blowing warm air right onto it.
In our workshop we allways used to build a small 'tent' over the repair and blow warm air in from a small electric blower heater being carefull not to cover the inlet point for the heater. I'm not sure what the HSE police would say but it worked well for us. Set the thermostat quite low!
I use a shop light, aimed at the patch. The kind with a round aluminum reflector. Heat the part before you patch for an hour or so. Forget warming the whole shop.

Just finished gel coating the bottom of my boat - 7 layers - kept the temp around 65 - 70 - but you have to remember that you should get the temp up there first and shut the space heater off before you start with the chemicals -especially acetone - there is a very present danger of vapour explosion from too much fumes and various types of space heaters!!!