Thursday, July 10, 2008

Bondo and Rotting Things (or why I hate Bondo)

One of our window sills sustained water damage over the course of the last 100 years... I'm blaming the asbestos.

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Instead of immediately replacing this HUGE solid piece of wood (that is probably holding up that entire wall!), we decided to see how far the rot went.

I started scraping the rotted wood out... it was so soft and crumbly that you could use a fingernail to remove it. I used a scraper instead. Fortunately, the rot stopped a good deal short of anywhere that could be considered structural...

Here is the sill after scraping all crumbly wood out, a light sanding to remove what paint survived the water, and the application of Miniwax Wood Hardener, to harden the remaining wood.

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Now the fun part... BONDO.

When I read about using it, everyone said "It dries fast.. don't make much". I figured they were talking about a 5 minute set time... NOT a 5 SECOND set time. Ok... it's not quite that bad. But I would say you have about 30 seconds to get your mixed Bondo to exactly where you want it before it is permanently where you DON'T want it.

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See?

Despite my increasingly miniscule portions, I'll be spending a lot of time with the sander and chisel.

(An aside... you can see the likely original color of the windows and trim on the wood of the window. It's the dark brown. I hate to say, I'm not a fan.)

16 comments:

Jen said...

I think you have just the right amount on there. It sands beautifully and easily, so you want a lot of extra because it will come off nicely. I was anti-bondo (because it smells AWFUL), until I used it to patch my doors, and now I'm a believer. :)

Jennifer said...

Oh, good! I was hoping it wasn't going to be like sanding nails down! I'll start easy on it.

Nate said...

Bondo is serisouly of the devil. I'm pretty sure. Here's an entry of my ordeal with the stuff.

http://fargo1928.blogspot.com/2007/10/bondo-good-luck-idiot.html

I used an electric palm sander on mine. Worked really well and made quick work of what would have killed an arm working by hand.

Kurt said...

Next time, use less of the catalyst and you will have more time to work with it.
Also if you are going to do a large number of sills, look into some West Systems epoxy, preferred by boat builders. It's superior to Bondo, IMO

moggiesten said...

You should really be using this on your old house parts rather than something made for the automobile industry: http://www.abatron.com/cms/buildingandrestorationproducts/woodrestorationmaintenance/woodrestorationkit.html
I LOVE this stuff. Easy to work with and looks great when it's done. I've saved lots of window sash and frames with this. (And no smell.)
Marilyn
HauserHaus

Amalie said...

I've used wood epoxy. It's a little weird, sort of like Crayola Model Magic, and it's very dry, but does sand nicely. At any rate, sounds like Jen knows what's up with the bondo, so no worries!

On a side note, every time I hear about bondo, I remember a guy in the early 80s who won the lottery. When asked what he was going to do with the money, he did NOT say go to Disneyland. Instead, he responded, "I've always wanted an 8 slice toaster. And I want to bondo my Pinto."

NV said...

Seems to work kind of like that QuickPlug concrete. They say you have five minutes. You DO NOT! And that crap is murder on your hands. I looked like a leper for weeks afterward on one hand and I was wearing dishwashing gloves when I used it!

StuccoHouse said...

You might take a look at Abatron's LiquidWood & WoodEpox. I really like working with..it has a fairly long working time and it smells kind of like peanut butter. Just don't work with it when you are hungry :-)

I've never used Bondo, but from what I understand WoodEpox may have some more expansion/contraction capabilities outside (not as much of a factor for inside wood). On the negative side, it is certainly more expensive than Bondo.

Chile said...

Jennifer - it seems like you're finding things to fix every time you turn around! (Time to sit down and close your eyes?)

Moggiesten, your link was cut off. There are two easy ways to deal with long URL's that you want to link to. One way is to put it on Tiny Url.com. The other is to do a hyperlink in your commnent.

To do the hyperlink, you just enclose it in the html tag brackets used for everything. You know, these guys: < and >

The code for a link is a href= and then you put the URL address in quotes. Be sure to close it off afterwards with /a. (Don't italicize them. Done here only to separate from other text.)

B.Williams said...

Good lord that makes me want to run out buy some right now! It's so versatile, how can you NOT love it?

Tall Kate said...

Could I ask you an unrelated question? I couldn't find an email address for you -- I just read what you wrote on fake plastic fish about old wood windows being better than new replacement ones -- THANK YOU for confirming what I've suspected for awhile, but I would love to read more about this. Any links to suggest? Thanks, Kate

Robj98168 said...

I have some deep scratches on my MGB that need to be sanded and Bondoed- are you available?

Jill -Forever and Ever House said...

Hello! I gave you an award on my blog! Come see!

Michael said...

Thanks for this! I've been holding off on buying some of the more expensive epoxy products for some much needed wood repair due to cost. I'm excited to give this a try! If you can use water-putty for window panes, why not bondo for the sill! ;)

Lady Victorian said...

I've had a little trouble with thr Bondo on a few of my porch posts where it came loose. I guess I did something wrong. Will have to tackle them again after I do research. Great job on your house. Having a smaller old house has one advantage. It's a smaller money pit. Stripping woodwork is such a challenge as I mention on my blog http://mantivictorian.blogspot.com/

Anonymous said...

I just uised a bondo like product to repair a rotted door jam. Even though we did it outside, it's stinking up half the house. How long till the smell goes away?????