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Old 01-22-2007, 05:37 PM
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I'm looking at converting a curio cabinet into a viv, and there has been a discussion about this on the Frognet list. Most suggest marine epoxy. However, Greg H had some worthwhile recommendations:

I'm thinking that the 'Stitch and Glue' method, would work very well for making an aquarium tank, since it is used to make up to 28' ft boats, that will handle Alaskan waters.

Check your local library for a book called " A Skiff For All Seasons ".
It's about boat building, using plywood and epoxy, but, it's the best one I
have seen in describing the " Stitch and Glue " method of construction.
In a nut shell, you basically encapsulate the plywood in a thin layer of
epoxy, so it can not absorb moisture ( or dry out ), then shrink or swell,
producing cracks at the seams. The seams themselves are epoxy - epoxy and combine with the outer layer of epoxy, to produce what is basically a monolithic structure - the plywood just acts as a structural member, like the fibers in a FRP lay-up.
And later added (after I inquired about using fiberglass mat along the seams):

Epoxy is exactly what it says, a type of resin. Fiberglass resin is a generic term for resin used with fiberglass. That may mean that it is an epoxy resin, a vinylester resin, some more exotic resin or more commonly a polyester resin.

Polyester resin not only cures, it also dries. Because it also dries, it
shrinks. This means that many tiny pin holes can develop. This is
another reason for the fiberglass mat. Because it has such a large resin
to glass ratio, there is ( in theory ) enough resin to keep from developing
pin holes, and the fine random fibers, keeps the resin from shrinking to
much in any one spot.

Epoxy resin only cures, and it will form a bond with the layer below it (unlike polyester resin ), so the need for mat to keep the shrinking down mat is eliminated. The only real reason for the mat with epoxy is to hide the weave of the fiberglass cloth, but if your careful, and use
microbaloons/microspheres/sawdust, use can use epoxy as a putty/ drywall compound, and trowel it on, filling in the low spots that make the weave visible.

I highly recommend reading a book, Fiberglass boat building for amateurs, as it goes into how to make boats water tight, ( like your cabinet ), and the different resins and what the various types of fiberglass do what, not to mention how to use resins.
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