What is the Best Respirator for Epoxy Application?

What is the Best Respirator for Epoxy Application?

The Bay Area abounds with many wonderful old things. Vintage boats and Victorian era houses are two that often end up benefiting from a product called penetrating epoxy. For the owners of old houses, this epoxy seeps deep into damaged or rotten wood creating incredible strength while eliminating the possibility of future rot on gingerbread, bay windows, dentils, and lentils. It is seen as almost a miracle in an age when traditional woodworking crafts have largely disappeared. For classic boat owners, wood penetrated with epoxy bonds and repels water like nothing else.

But all this wonderful repairability and protection comes at a cost. Penetrating epoxy is toxic stuff.

And not just a little toxic. Take a look below at the material safety data sheet (MSDS) for one of the most popular penetrants - Smith’s Penetrating Epoxy.

One of our website programmers here at PK Safety sent some photos and knowledge about using penetrating epoxy that adds information to a boatyard safety blog we posted earlier this year.

Here is her report:

If you own an old wooden schooner, Smith’s Penetrating Epoxy is your friend. I needed to treat the scarf I’d cut around a rotted area, before adding a West system epoxied, cold-molded, replacement section to hold things together until I could replace the plank at next winter’s haul-out.

But, with an MSDS only a chemist would love, you don’t want to work unprotected near Smith’s.

This was the first mask and cartridge set (the 3M 7500 series silicon mask with 3M 60926 Multi-Gas Organic Vapor cartridges) I’d ever used that I didn’t smell even a teeny whiff of chemicals – just fresh, clean air. Worked just as well with the marine filler I used on a cosmetic repair in the aft head Saturday. No reek of Bondo.


Thanks for the update Nancy. And glad your repairs have been performed safely. Cyclohexanone is no joke. You really don't want to come into direct contact with any of that stuff. But if you have architectural elements that need repair, or a boat with wood, like Nancy says, Smith's is your friend.

If anyone has questions about safety gear for boat repairs, DIY projects, or architectural repair, please send us a line. Chances are we have the answers for you. And if we don't, we will contact 3M or Moldex for you and find out. The same goes for just about any work safety equipment out there.

Aug 15th 2012 Justin McCarter

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