Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?

 
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Old 04-14-2009, 09:24 PM   #1
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Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


So I've started picking up quite a few jobs doing wood repair for a paint company - which in turn has garnered several more jobs via referrals... Which is also helping me sell built-ins & other work - which is pretty good for the old bottom line.

Living in the Midwest we have lots of Victorian style homes, columns, shutters, etc. We also have pretty severe weather & concurrent wood rot. So it seems like this is a pretty good revenue stream.

Anyway, I generally use Minwax wood filler for these type of things ( along with their wood hardener to stop the wood rot before I fill the holes. I like these products - but want to know what others are using. (The Minwax isn't cheap).

I was a bit surprised to learn how many people are using Bondo for jobs like this. I've used the stuff for car repair - but don't really like it for wood (because after a few seasons, it always seems to crumble / fall out). I tried Elmer's wood filler for one job - but it took too long to set up that I ended up having to dig it out & refill the spot with the Minwax. Golf-ball deep & four inches long on a column capital. The Elmers was still plastic after an hour, while the Minwax sets up in minutes - and I can shape it & get out of there...

So - to other folks doing this type of work; what are your thoughts re: the Minwax vs Bondo vs other wood hardeners / fillers?


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Old 04-14-2009, 10:52 PM   #2
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


try this: http://www.abatron.com

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Old 04-15-2009, 02:14 AM   #3
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


auto body bondo smells bad but thats my suggestion, never seen it crumble unless your mix isnt correct.
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:12 AM   #4
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Quote:
Originally Posted by TrimmanVa View Post
auto body bondo smells bad but thats my suggestion, never seen it crumble unless your mix isnt correct.

Bondo DOES NOT "crumble". Nope! No siree! (see above)
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Old 04-15-2009, 07:26 AM   #5
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


I have used bondo on exterior siding and architectural details and agree with Malco, the mix has to be right.

The best stuff I have ever used and will only use is the WEST System. It is not cheap but it is awesome and offers three filler products. Warning; do not try to cheat the WEST system, the mix has to be exact. My largest use of it was to stiffen a three story handrail in a historic City Hall Building. Filled and bonded our way to stability,


www.westsystem.com
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Old 04-15-2009, 08:10 AM   #6
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Epoxy is your best bet & will outlast the column / woodwork

as I recall Bondo shouldn't be used for exterior work, I just can't seem to recall why
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Old 04-15-2009, 09:49 AM   #7
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


have never heard bondo cant be used for exterior work as it used to patch and fill dents and dings on cars , which obviously is exposed to the weather daily.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:31 AM   #8
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Correction re: the bondo - I've not used it for external wood repair myself. What I have done is fixed a lot of bad repairs - where I've been told the product used was bondo & either they didn't kill the wood rot / harden the area properly & the bondo started to either chunk out (and yes, I did find one that was pretty crumbly) - or the repair job was just so sloppy it looked like a fourth-grader's art project.

The big thing for me in this type of work is time. The painters call me out, generally on the same day they want to paint. So I've got to get in there, remove the bad wood, kill the rot / harden the area & fill the resulting gaps, then shape, sand & finish the job by the time they get to that section in order to paint. So I like the Minwax for that (but not the Elmers - because it stayed plastic way too long) because it sets up pretty fast.

Any idea how soon after applying either the West putty / epoxy or the abatron that the product is dry enough to be shaped / sanded?
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:39 AM   #9
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Bondo DOES need to be covered. It will degrade when exposed to UVB light rays! But it takes a REALLY long time to break down.
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Old 04-15-2009, 10:41 AM   #10
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


The SINGLE best product that I have ever used is Marine Tex!


https://www.oceanairsports.com/image..._marinetex.jpg


Ask Teetorbilt!
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Old 04-15-2009, 03:17 PM   #11
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


The West system is by fat the best way to go however the set times can be REAAAAAAAAALY long depending on the temperature, thickness of the patch, which hardener you use and ambient temperature. for quick repairs I use Git ROT which is a wood hardener/epoxy to stabilize the rotten stuff and then use another marine product called Formula 27 which is similar to the bondo and will set pretty quickly. Any of these products will need to be protected from UV.
The down side to the West system is if you don't wait several days and sand and scrub before painting the paint will fail due to what is called an amine blush which is kind of like a wax that floats to the surface and will make the paint fail.
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Old 04-15-2009, 04:13 PM   #12
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Quote:
Originally Posted by naptown CR View Post
...The down side to the West system is if you don't wait several days and sand and scrub before painting the paint will fail due to what is called an amine blush which is kind of like a wax that floats to the surface and will make the paint fail.
Sounds like a pretty big downside - considering my client is a big painting company with a good rep that needs fairly quick repairs done the day they intend to paint.

Thanks for the heads up on that; I may try it on a project where there's no need to apply paint for a couple of days.

@ macatawacab: did you take any pics?
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Old 04-17-2009, 05:24 PM   #13
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


I used Bondo the other day that had fiberglass shavings (kinda like sawdust) in it. It made a great filler for a large hole in box window sill. The only time I have seen Bondo fail is when someone didn't properly clean out the damaged wood & the Bondo couldn't get a good grip. A few nails or screws into the good wood will ensure that the Bondo plug never comes out.
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Old 04-17-2009, 08:28 PM   #14
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


I favor the minwax, I think it is one of the better products out there. I have fixed several porch posts that had checks, gouges, an other general wear and tear with some form of bondo, says exterior use. After several years all the posts still look as good as the day I repaired them.

I think epoxy is the only thing to use on window sills and window trim though. Never once though about using 'bondo' where water could actually accumulate.
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Old 04-17-2009, 09:19 PM   #15
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


do what you want, i still stick to using auto body bondo, never had a problem with it. good luck.
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Old 04-17-2009, 11:28 PM   #16
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Marine Tex is impressive stuff. Incredibly strong once it sets up. "sands like wood" is a bit of a stretch. I'd say sands like cast iron. Very messy though, like working with sticky and thick pancake batter. If you have the patience you can get a smooth finish with no sanding and have plenty of time to do it. I thought it was reasonably priced for what it did but it isn't cheap like wood putty.
I've wanted to try CPES but heard West is as good or better. I have not tried either. These are not cheap and are mainly wood hardeners but I've heard they can be used as a filler if mixed with sawdust. Makes sense but I've never tried. A little could go a long way in that case. These products should restore some of the strength lost by the rot. If you just want a cosmetic fix, go with plaster or bondo.
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Old 04-18-2009, 08:49 AM   #17
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


We've had a couple of occasions where we've had to repair rotted exterior millwork. Wholesale replacement with a rot resistant wood (cedar or mahogany) is preferable. But where we couldn't do that, we've used a penetrating epoxy system called "WoodEpox" that ships out of Wisconsin: Seach for WoodEpox or Abatron Co. and you'll find them.
I saw this stuff in the back of "Preservation" magazine some years ago; apparently they have an array of products for fixing old rotted house parts.

We also had a painter do the porch on our house last year. He used a similar product from these guys: "RotDoc.com"
and it seems to be holding up just fine.

In our cabinet shop, I do use Bondo to patch paintable materials, but usually limit its use to either small repairs or use on inert panels, such as MDF. Real wood, in an exterior environment, is going to exppand and contract; Bondo won't. Sooner or later, you're going to know where the Bondo is.
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Old 04-19-2009, 10:07 AM   #18
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


I found this a while back but never got around to ordering it. THE ROT DOCTOR
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Old 07-18-2010, 02:46 PM   #19
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Re: Wood Repair - Minwax Vs Bondo - Other Suggestions?


Scott,
As we all know if you want things to last it needs to be done right. When there is wood rot, one thing to consider is it usually has taken a few years or decades to get to whatever state of decay it is in when the decision is made to repair it. We are talking about wood decay fungi. There is a learning curve as with all things we are not familiar with and that is definitely the case with wood rot. In order to be able to stand behind your work knowing you did your best, it will take a little research and dedication to learn a few basic techniques.

The process includes a few simple steps along with choosing the right epoxy products and knowing what they are for and how to use them. Epoxy can be applied to structural fabric as well as non-structural. Most of us realize the more we learn about something the more we find there is to know. I am happy to say I am still researching to learn more about wood decay. It can be interesting and challenging.

I have been devoted to this type of work for over 23 years at Marlowe restorations LLC and in construction for 36 years. I now consult, train and still do restoration of damaged wooden fabric on site and in our shop. My other company ConServ Epoxy LLC is celebrating 30 years in 2010.

I will recommend a few items so I don't risk being long winded about a subject that is very important to me: 1) epoxy fillers should be somewhat flexible and need a solid bond to the substrate, especially for exposed non-srtuctural components, but in many case for structural members such as building sills and stud bottoms also 2) don't allow a Painter or Owner force you into thinking you can perform long lasting wood rot repairs in one day, they have to be educated about the process and the Painter will have to come back if they expect their work to last, consider selling the job on quality not quantity, once you do your research you can explain the process, it will cost more now but save money later, you maybe be surprised and become the local wood rot repair expert 3) I won't discuss low toxic borate wood preservatives here, but I will say there are many instances that require them prior to the epoxy application

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