Wharram Builders and Friends

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Hello wharram builders and friends!

Me and my partner Ondra started building our tiki 38 last year in january. We have most of the starboard hull finished now, but we had to stop building about a month ago due to Ondras health problems. 

From the start of the build, Ondra has been having some respiratory problems and skin rashes. Recently, things got quite serious (he was basicaly choking every night), so after visiting a doctor, who made some tests, he was diagnosed with asthma. It looks like it is all coming from the epoxy ( we are still waiting for some allergology tests). He is getting his asthma treated, but so far any exposure to epoxy is just making it worse, so we had to stop building. 
But for sure we dont want to give up the project, so we came up with a few ideas. Because there is not much missing to finish the first hull, we could buy an unfinished project ( like one hull finished, preferably in Europe ...) and finish the rest of the boat in some kind of space suit? :-) or outside in good weather with lots of fresh air ( which would reduce the possible time for building to just a few month in a year here in Czech)
Or maybe we could pay someone to build the second hull, which of course would be a question of money for us.... do you maybe know of someone who could do it and guess the costs of it?
Our last idea so far was to build the second hull from aluminium. We have a friend who welds alu. We found out that the material costs would be very similar. What do you think of that, one hull ply and one alu???
The last option would be to sell our project and and start saving money to buy a boat....which would be very sad, because we gave so much energy into building our boat and already love her (even if she is just an unfinished hull).
Thank you everyone for reading this and any ideas and suggestions will be  greatly appreciated.
Fair winds to your sails.
Eva and Ondra

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You could probably buy a finished boat for less than the cost to build yours and quicker.

Hi Eva, I think you could finish your boat by using vinyl esther, or polyester instead of epoxy. I think you should contact James wharram to consult. I know it is done bij someone building a trimaran..

Good luck, I hope you finisch your boat!

Yes, Dave, you are probably right. But that would be the last option, we like to finish what we started.

dave tomlinson said:

You could probably buy a finished boat for less than the cost to build yours and quicker.

Thanks Bart,

we wrote to Hanneke about our problem, so now we wait to see what she thinks.



Bart Koop said:

Hi Eva, I think you could finish your boat by using vinyl esther, or polyester instead of epoxy. I think you should contact James wharram to consult. I know it is done bij someone building a trimaran..

Good luck, I hope you finisch your boat!

Ahoy Eva,

     I too am allergic to epoxy and have had to be careful to avoid contact.  I use the standard 7mil nitrile gloves and rinse off my hands and arms with ordinary vinegar to neutralize the epoxy.  It seems it's the hardener that causes the allergic reaction and different brands  of epoxy will have different levels of toxicity.  I found West epoxy to be very bad for me.  I use a 2:1 epoxy now and can work with it every day, but have to take a few days off now and then if I start getting a bad rash.

It seems most people who develop allergies use West System epoxy, which is quite toxic, or epoxies with amine blush. I have had serious allergies and asthma since childhood, but I have been building boats with epoxy for decades with few allergic reactions.

First, I use NO BLUSH Progressive Epoxy, which is a 2:1 and has considerably less toxic chemicals. Second, I make certain that I use gloves at all times. Your partner should probably wear a high quality double filter respirator (similar to what auto painters use) anytime while in the shop.

The other thing to consider is that the allergic reaction might be due to the wood. This has always been my one allergic reaction, especially to the sanding dust from the plywood. Again, a respirator fixes this problem. I also use compressed air to blow off my work surfaces and myself often, then shower immediately following work.

As Budge says, it might be the Epoxy. Many people who sensitize to West Systems can work with Other brands ok. Raka works for some of these folks. This does not mean it is less dangerous, only that the reactions are different. 

Firstly avoid contact wit wet resin. Avoid contact with sanding dust. Allow parts to cure longer before sanding. Use vacumm sanders. Be fastidious with your house keeping. Don't work in the same clothes day after day. Use gloves and barrier cream. Use cow butt gloves. Inner forearms are very soft sensitive skin.

Some people have phsiologies that just will not tolerate exposures to the various strong chemicals used in epoxies and marine paints.

Tap your rich uncle and pay me to finsh your boat.

DO NOT use polyester or vinylester resin to build a plywood boat.

Aluminum is IMO not a groovy way to proceed.

Buy  a Tiki 26 and make a Trimaran

Good luck!!

Thank you everyone for your ideas.

We did use nitril gloves, respirators, vacum sanders, changed clothes, installed ventilation to the shop......

As i said, things got worse over time and from a skin rash in the beginning is now choking in the night if he goes just near the epoxy...... plus some other alergies which he didnt have before, one of them seems to be to saw dust....which is bad for a tree surgeon...

So now we wait for some test result, which should say for what exactly is the alergy for, but allready it looks like Ondra wont be able to work with epoxy anymore.

We really  think a good solution would be to buy an unfinished project of someone (one hull finished), so if you know about someone, let us know.

Unfortunately no rich uncle to tap :-))

Trimaran from a tiki 26 sounds very groovy :-)))

sensitization does not go away. it takes less trigger one allthe time. A change ofcourse might be in order. Even with two hulls complete theer is still a ton of epoxy work.

I lost several years in the construction of my boat due to a reaction to WEST epoxy (terrible itching/rash).


At one stage, storing the boat and covering it outside (I have bought dozens of tarps) I was going to put a match to it. So much work /rent of space and so much money, the only way of ending that seemed a symbolic cremation. I couldn't go near WEST and was afraid of going near the boat for a while.

Later on I found that there was a no-blush epoxy called FLAG and I finished all the epoxy work on the boat with that.

What I have found though, while drilling or chopping into the very-well cured (xx years) epoxy, is that even now I have to protect myself very well against any dust from it.

I explained this to someone in a boatyard the other day: changing clothes/boots, showers, throw- away suits, nitrile gloves, shoe covers, arm covers, and powered respirators. Expensive. The bloke thought I was mad.

I discovered powered respirators about 25 years ago after an experience with MDF (ban it).

Since then I've had about 10 of them, they last a couple of years or so. Ordinary masks, "respirators", are frankly rubbish and should also be banned because they give people the false impression that they are protected.

As a professional woodworker, I have progressively become more intolerant of dust, and now being semi-retired use hand tools wherever I can, or full extraction, and respirator when using something like a belt sander. Were it not for powered respirators and better extraction now available, I would have been buried in an office 20 years ago (urgghhh).

I would sell your hulls and buy one of the many good and cheap secondhand boats available. Ebay have a Pahi 42 on there at the moment which looks reasonable.  Building a new boat from scratch as a self-builder is a fool's errand these days.

Why do pro- boatbuilders like to use subcontractors?  ........

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