Monday, March 3, 2008

Devcon bathtub patch kit is crappy,
but it's cheaper than a new bathroom

Somehow my wife or one of the cleaning ladies dropped something heavy and sharp onto the edge of her bathtub and it made a hole in the fiberglass, about one inch long, a quarter inch wide, and an eighth of an inch deep.

Beloved wife has been using this as an excuse to campaign for a bazillion-dollar remake of her john, but there are three main reasons not to do it:

(1) There are more important things to spend a bazillion dollars on.

(2) She'd never be able to pick out the tile, cabinets, counter, faucet, etc.

(3) Even if we did get the new new john, she or the cleaning ladies would quickly damage something expensive.

So, being the resident handyman, I perused the shelves of our local Lowes and Home Depot and found a package that seemed to answer our prayers: the Devcon Seal-N-Place Bath/Tub Epoxy Repair Kit.

Devcon, part of tool giant ITW, is a major maker or adhesives and lots of other chemicals, and I felt confident in paying 20 bucks for their package, to stop leaks, repair holes, fill cracks, "complete in minutes." It promises to patch white or almond plastic, fiberglass and ceramic tubs, with holes or cracks up to five inches long.

I bought the thing a while ago, and it periodically got lost and rediscovered; and frankly I was in no hurry to fix the tub.

Yesterday I was in wife's john to fix the phone jack and replace a toilet valve. So as long as I was crawling on the floor anyway, it seemed like the right time to tackle the tub job.

I cleaned out the wound, as instructed, and sanded around it. The supplied sandpaper was extremely good -- probably the best thing I got for my $20.

I then cut a piece of the woven fiberglass patching cloth and it immediately started to unravel. I cut off the loose threads, and it unraveled some more. I cut a fresh piece, and found it was impossible to stop the unravelling. Ultimately I gave up on this step.

Next I squeezed the plastic bag to merge the two parts of the epoxy mix, kneaded it together for a while, cut the bag, and squeezed the goop into the package which acted as a tray.

The next step was to use the supplied brush to apply the goop to the wound. Unfortunately, with each brush stroke, brush hairs came out of the brush, and stuck onto the bathtub. When I tried to remove the hairs, they got glued to my fingers.

It took awhile, but ultimately I got a fairly neat patch job, and when the glop dries, I'll try to sand it smooth. It will probably look a little better than the hole.

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