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The Epoxy Roller.

This useful modelling tool evolved through a dual purpose of necessity and lack of funds. From the early eighties my preferred method of covering has mainly involved epoxy resin and glass cloth. My first efforts were reasonable but very labour intensive bearing in mind that this method was in its modelling early years. I used a brush to stipple the resin through the cloth which resulted in an over abundance of resin which required much rubbing down to a reasonable finish. I quickly picked up the tip of using kitchen paper towel to absorb any surplus resin. Whilst satisfactory I was wasting expensive resin. The next improvement was the use of an old credit card to scrape and work the resin through the cloth. For me this was a complete waste of time in that you would distort lightweight cloths and the surplus resin ended up on the floor. Again very wasteful. I played around with using a roller on several occasions; this gave very good results but again was expensive due to the volume of resin that was soaked up by standard foam paint rollers combined with the need to use a new roller each time. What was needed was a roller that did not absorb large quantities of resin and was reusable.
The solution came from an unusual quarter. I have always made model aircraft and my good lady has always been more inclined towards the textile crafts. I constantly found or devised alternative uses for her craft tools and materials much to annoyance. One day she passed the comment that at least her wool was safe as you couldn’t knit a model. The penny then dropped and the end result is what you can see here, a home made roller covered with wool. For me this proved to be a turning point in the use of resin, here was a roller that held enough resin to wet out the cloth and by stripping off the wool at the end enabled you to clean the roller with a simple wipe with some paper towel.

The roller is easily made using either a short length of plastic water pipe enclosing two plywood discs and brass tube bearing or turned out of some nylon round bar. The handle is a simple piano wire frame with a wooden dowel handle. The next bit is probably easier to gentleman of a certain age, namely those that were in the Scouts/Cubs and learned how to whip the end of a rope to prevent it fraying. As can be seen in the photographs the wool is laid along the length of the roller and then starting about 3mm in from the edge wound back around the roller until half the length is covered Cut off the surplus loose end, turn the roller through half a turn and then lay a short separate doubled length of wool along the roller. Continue winding the wool around the roller again leaving about 3mm of the roller bare. Cut the wool leaving a 100mm tail, take this tail and feed it through the loop of the short doubled length. Use this doubled length to pull the tail of the wool through the wound section of the roller and trim off the surplus. You should now have a roller covered with a thin single layer of wool ready for use. The type of wool can be varied to suit your personal taste, I tend to use remnants of four ply. After using the roller all that is required is to simply snip the end of the wool and pull the entire length off the roller and throw in the bin. The roller just requires a quick wipe.

The same technique can be used on commercially available rollers.

The photo on the right shows other type of rollers that Colin has converted in the same way.

The roller with the red handle (middle) is the spindle - inner part of a 3" gloss foam roller with the foam discarded after initial use. This is fitted on to a commercially available handle. The actual roller can be covered in wool as per the technique described and reused time and time again. It can also be removed from the roller handle so if you have a number of old rollers spindles, you can have them prepared and fit / use /remove / replenish as necessary.

The roller on the right with the green handle, is the spindle from a 1" foam roller - already wrapped in wool, also fitted to a commercially available handle.

All these rollers work out very much cheaper than buying rollers time and time again and are much better as they do not soak up too much resin.



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