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Steve W

Ideas for saving supplies

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I'm appalled at how many nitrile gloves, cups, paper towels I've been going through working on my 11N. any tips for economizing....I don't mind spending the money, its the amount of garbage I'm creating thats frightening.

Take Care,

Steve

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"Theoretically" nitrile gloves are reusable. In reality, I'll either tear them up or get them so sweaty I don't want to reuse them. The alternative is to look for the cheapest price. Places like Harbor Freight have them on sale almost on a monthly basis. Cups are reusable if you wipe them out before the epoxy goes off. Vinegar is a great, inexpensive, solvent for epoxy. This also works great for reusing chip brushes. Soak them between uses. Then just dry them w/ a paper towel. A side benefit of this is that some of the epoxy will set in the head of the brush and the brush won't shed as badly on repeated uses. Obviously, most of this does nothing to reduce the paper towel bill.

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Gloves: I peel them off so they're inside out and let all the sweaty stuff dry, then right them by poking the fingers back and blowing them up like a balloon. Cured epoxy will flake off, gloves can be reused.

Mix tubs: I use butter tubs, yogurt tubs, and whatever flexible plastic container rescued from kitchen trash. I let the remaining epoxy cure, flex the tub and crack it out. Tub ready to go.

Brushes: 1/2" chip brushes go in the trash, but I will clean wider bristle brushes. Vinegar wash, then alcohol.

Course all the above items have a limit - gloves will tear, brushes get ratty, tubs will crack. YMMV

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Buy your "shop supplies" in bulk. Chip and foam brushes by the case, dispensing cups (something I don't use) by the multiple sleeve box, etc. By it's very nature, these supplies get eaten up when working with things, you don't want on you. I don't save gloves, but I do mixing tubs which are large plastic cake boxes, with smooth bottoms and very large radius corners. I dispense epoxy directly into this and mix in the 12" x 18" tub. Once thickened enough to stay put on a "hock" I transfer the thickened goo to a home made hock, which is nothing more then some scrap plywood that's been coated. This hock permits me to spread out the epoxy into a 1/16" thick sheet of goo, which removes the possibility of heat build up and makes it easy to pickup precise amounts of goo with a plastic spreader. If the goo mixture is too runny for the hock it stays in the big mixing tub. Other then buying in bulk, I've found no good way to save on shop supplies. I go through 6 to 8 rolls of paper towels a month, I open a 50 count box of gloves every few weeks, depending on what I'm up to. I suppose I could cut back to 4 to 6 rolls of paper towels and maybe reuse some gloves, but what am I really saving here? If I was really diligent about it, I might muster $20 in monthly savings? Oh pleeease, that's not worth having a reused glove burst open, just as your fingers push into some goo. Yes, I have a huge trash can at the curb, twice a week. The trash guys think I'm doing surgery with all the gloves, clearly visible.

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