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From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Best pain for hitch??
Date: Wed, 23 Feb 2000 14:00:25 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

JOE NEAR wrote:
> John:
> Just a note of caution for the DIYers. I'm not sure what "air-cured"
> epoxy is, but suspect it is not the two-part epoxy used on boats,
> airplanes etc. that cures after addition of a catalyst. Many of the
> two-part epoxies are toxic even when brushed or rolled on because the
> volatile components in the catalyst can be inhaled if a proper mask is
> not used. However, professionals often DO spray them, but employ the
> proper protective equipment.
> Some of these chemicals can cause nasty problems from allergic reactions to
> liver or  neurological damage. Be careful out there, and read the directions
> carefully so you'll know how.

This was the case  years ago but it is not the case today, for the
most part.  Especially for consumer epoxy products.  True, the old
amine-based epoxies were pretty nasty, as were the old polyurethane
epoxy paints (I have a bubble suit for spraying that stuff.)  Modern
epoxies are either water based or have been reformulated to be
non-allergenic and not particularly toxic.  Even the professional
polyurethane epoxy paints (Nitram, Imron, etc) have been
reformulated to not be acutely toxic.  A mask is still required but
there is no longer any need for a bubble suit. Rustoleum, among
others, makes a water-based epoxy paint system that is odorless and
doesn't require any protection for normal conditions.  Available
from Graingers and other MRO distributors.

The paint I recommended is available at Ace Hardware and the like
under the krylon brand as well as house brands.  Other than the
solvent, the paint is harmless.  It is designed for the housewifey
to be able to change the color of her refrigerator when the whim

> Steve Kizis wrote:
> > I would STRENUOUSLY CAUTION spraying any epoxy! Read the label before
> > doing so! Epoxies, generally, use a chemical reaction that causes the
> > mixture to harden. spraying releases small particles of uncured epoxy
> > in the air; when inhaled, they settle in your lungs and harden,
> > essentially suffocating those who have had contact.

This is false even for the old stuff.  The hazards from the old
stuff was in the rather strong solvents used and in the
cyanoacrylics used in the binders.  It could, under the wrong
circumstances, liberate cyanide.  Aerosol particles of any sort are
eliminated from the airways (or trapped and isolated by scar tissue)
by the body.  No additional issues over and above the hazards
associated with fine aerosols or dust.

If you're just chomping at the bits to play safety nazi, it would be
beneficial to read the relevant MSDS and/or consult with an expert


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Best paint for hitch??
Date: Thu, 24 Feb 2000 20:59:55 EST
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

JOE NEAR wrote:
> John:
> Sounds like you are an expert on epoxy paint, and have more up-to-date
> info ( and LOTS more real-world experience) on Imron than what I have.
> Still some caution - I know you can still buy amine-based epoxies from
> Dupont distributors, though you wouldn't want to paint with these
> particular products. Some epoxy bottom sealing paint I got from West
> Marine a year or so ago is in this category too. The suggestion about
> reading the MSDS is excellent. Thanks.

I don't know that I'd classify myself as an expert but I have used a
lot of the stuff.  I'll never forget my first encounter with Nitram
almost exactly 20 years ago.  Imron was having a chemistry problem
that was causing it to turn white and come off so our paint
distributor recommended Nitram.  We got all the lectures about how
nasty the stuff was but I didn't pay a lot of attention.  I was
living in Middletown, PA and working at Three Mile Island nuclear
plant.  I had built a large tandem axle enclosed utility/motorcycle
trailer from scratch and wanted it painted with that fancy epoxy
paint like we'd used in the nuclear plants (totally different
chemistry, as it turns out.)  My next door neighbor had a paint
booth complete with filtered air behind his house so we decided to
paint the thing ourselves.  The primer was fairly nasty but we could
stay in the booth with it with nothing more than a half-mask

Primer dry, we mixed the first batch of paint and catalyst.  Put it
in the gun, turned the air up to 80 psi as the instructions called
for, donned the half masks and fired a burst.  I was lucky to get
out of the booth alive.  That stuff went right through the half mask
and felt like sulfuric acid in my throat and eyes.  I coughed and
spit for a half hour.

So here we are, $200 worth of paint catalyzed and we can't get near
the booth.  I got a brilliant idea.  I hopped on my motorcycle,
whizzed over to the Island and grabbed a couple of Scott Air Packs
(SCBAs), same thing the firemen use.  Slung one on my back and
carried the other across the tank.  Donned the full mask and waded
back in.  Still got enough fumes past the mask to blur my vision
because it is a demand mask that requires a slight vacuum to trigger
air flow.  I ended up holding the gun with one hand and pressing the
purge valve on the mask with the other to give me positive pressure
in the mask.  Got the trailer painted just as the paint started to
gel in the pot.

My next learning experience was just how tenaciously the stuff
sticks to your skin.  I painted in old jeans and a long sleeved tee
shirt.  Mist went right through the sleeves.  Miserable experience. 
My arms had a slight metal flake gold tinge for a week!

The final trick was convincing my boss that metalflake gold shading
over Scott Air Pack yellow really was a fashion statement and not an
abuse of company property :-)  I did buy two new faceplates.

Next time I sprayed the stuff I bought a bubble suit complete with
supplied breathing air.  never even got a whiff of the stuff on that
job.  Well worth the money.  BTW, I still have that trailer and the
paint looks like the day it was sprayed, other than some scratches. 
Worth the hassles.

Getting back to the original question, a couple of other options for
the trailer hitch include powder coating and hot dip galvanizing.  

Powder coating involves spraying a dry powder paint onto the object
using electrostatic charge to make it stick. Then it is baked in an
oven which melts the paint and flows it to a solid, thick plastic
coating.  Very tough.  Most cities have jobber powder coaters who
will do small jobs if you're happy with the color they're running at
the moment.  There is also an about $300 home powder coating kit
available, aimed at the custom car builder.  Eastwood's sells the
kit, among other places.

The other option and the best one for salt water is hot dip
galvanizing.  Check the phone book for galvanizers.  In our area it
is Tennessee Galvanizing, Inc in Jasper, TN, (423) 942 1020.  I
don't have any experience with any other galvanizer but these guys
are really nice to deal with.  They have a zinc tank large enough to
dip a semi trailer frame.  They do a BUNCH of boat trailers.  They
also don't mind running small jobs such as trailer hitches.  When I
helped a friend sandblast and galvanize his bass boat trailer a
couple of years ago, the price was about $75 to do the whole
trailer.  Very reasonable.


From: John De Armond
Subject: Re: Roof coating for fiberglass
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 15:33:07 EDT
Newsgroups: rec.outdoors.rv-travel

Stan Birch wrote:
> I would also recommend Dupont Imron. It's a two-part polyurethane
> paint, used not only for boats, but also by some of the better RV
> manufacturers like Winnebago for finishing fiberglass. It's probably
> the toughest, most durable "paint" available, and will last forever.
> It's probably the most expensive too! :-)

Yup.  If Imron is unavailable in your area, there is a competing
product that I like as well called Nitram.  Can't remember who makes
it but it seems that a lot more auto body stores around here stock

> The biggest drawback of Imron, is that it is rather nasty stuff to
> work with, and is somewhat incompatible with human longivity and
> quality of life. For spraying, positively pressurized space-suit-like
> attire is recommended. If you roll it on, use gloves and other
> protective clothing to avoid getting it on your skin.

So true.  Take this one seriously, folks.  It's not just a bunch of
safety nazi babbling.  

A couple of other things to be aware of.  First, the paint solvent
dries in a few hours but it will take as much as 2 weeks for the
epoxy to fully catalyze.  It remains fairly soft during that time,
certainly too soft to walk on.  Be prepared to have your RV under
cover/out of commission for that long unless you can figure out a
way to put the vents and stuff back on without getting on the roof. 
Second, unlike regular paint, the overspray mist from urethane paint
remains fully wet and sticky over a great distance.  This means that
you can apply a tremendously adhering mist coat of paint to objects
far downwind of where you're painting.  Just ask me how I know :-(  

I still have the first thing I ever painted with Nitram - a large
homemade motorcycle trailer.  Going on 22 years old and the paint
(where not gouged off from abuse) still looks new.  Wonderful stuff.


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