Epoxy: U.S. Composites Vs. RAKA

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jem
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Epoxy: U.S. Composites Vs. RAKA

Post by jem » Sun Mar 26, 2006 9:28 pm

As you may know, RAKA is the JEM Watercraft prefered brand of epoxy. But I get requests from time to time for advice on the cheapest epoxy available.

The only "inexpensive" brand that I've heard builders used is from U.S. Composites.

Their prices are less than RAKA but not as much as you might think. To get a baseline comparison, you need to compare it on a volume-per-dollar basis.

Example: From RAKA, you get a total of 6 quarts for $87.00. JEM customers get it for $82.65. Let's just call it $83.00. A comparable sized kit from U.S. Composites is 5.3 quarts for $53.

So on a per quart basis, it's:

RAKA: $13.83 per quart
U.S. Composites: $10 per quart.


Difference of $4. So is it worth it?

I've used RAKA almost exclusively for a while but decided to try U.S. Composites. Note: This is for their medium hardener speed 635 Thin Epoxy System.

The temp has been cool here at about 55 degrees (F) during the day. My work area is indoors but not heated.

The U.S. Composites hardener is thick. So pumping it in cooler temperatures was not easy. I filled a small bucket with warm water, put the hardener jug in it for a few minutes, problem solved. No pump "burping".

Working with the resin was about the same with RAKA except it has a much stronger smell. Usually my family doesn't mention anything when they come through my work area and resin is curing. But they noticed it immediately this time. I suspect folks with allergies or sensitivity to epoxy might find this more offensive.

Also, the mixing ratio is 3:1 instead of the 2:1 RAKA has. So that means the mixing ratio has less room for error.

The resin seems to have same the cured properties as RAKA although it's too early to see if amine blush is an issue. I've heard U.S. Composites resin blushes more than average. We'll see.

My conclusion: For the extra $4, it's worth getting the RAKA resin for less smell, easier dispensing, and more forgiving to mixing errors.
-Matt. Designer.

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jem
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Post by jem » Mon Mar 27, 2006 8:33 am

Follow up: The $4 difference is $4 per quart. So on a 1.5 gallon kit, that's $24 (6 quarts) additional.

Still worth it in my opinion.
-Matt. Designer.

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Post by Chalk » Wed Apr 19, 2006 1:47 pm

I mixed about 6 gallons of US Composites.....Like you said, it does smell, but the smell is a small reminder that you better be getting it laid out.
Eat.Sleep.Fish[Be the Fish]

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