Structural Repair with Two-Part Adhesives

Learn about the types of two-part adhesives and how they can assist with structural repair.

  • How to Repair Plastic Bodywork
    Within the realm of “how-to books,” there is precious little on repairing plastics and none with the comprehensive yet easy-to-follow scope of “How to Repair Plastic Bodywork.” Step-by-step procedures take you from preparing and reinforcing the site all the way through the refinishing process.
    Cover Courtesy Whitehorse Press

  • How to Repair Plastic Bodywork

How to Repair Plastic Bodywork (Whitehorse Press, 2009) by Kurt Lammon contains easy-to-follow directions and clear illustrations applicable to any plastic repair — cars, motorcycles, trucks, ATVs or snowmobiles. Lammon explains how to assess the damage, identify the type of plastic and fix everything from a simple scratch to a major break. Learn about the types of two-part adhesives and the preliminary stages of structural repair in this excerpt taken from Chapter 4, “Repair Procedures.” 

You can purchase this book from the Motorcycle Classics store: How to Repair Plastic Bodywork.

In body shops around the world, by far the most common products used in plastic repair are two-part adhesive materials. They get their name from the fact that they consist of two components, commonly called an A Side and B Side, or Resin and Hardener. The separate components are liquid or paste until mixed together in the proper proportions. When mixed, a chemical reaction begins that will result in the material becoming solidified. In other words, a two-part adhesive is, in itself, simply a thermoset plastic.

A specially formulated thermoset plastic, that is. The adhesive must have the proper balance of open time (working time), cure time, viscosity, strength, flexibility, adhesion, sandability, and durability to work effectively. That’s why there are many different types of two-parts available. There’s bound to be one designed for the job you need to do.

I’ll first briefly discuss the four generic types of two-part repair materials available. After that, I’ll discuss how to perform structural repairs with two-part adhesives.

Two-Part Adhesives: Four Types

The four generic types of two-part adhesives available for doing plastic repairs are epoxies, urethanes, acrylics, and polyesters. Most people who’ve had any experience with bodywork are familiar with polyester fillers. These are commonly called Bondo (which is a trademark of the Bondo/Mar Hyde Corporation), but are generically called body fillers. Polyester body filler is not usually recommended for plastic repair, but it does have its place.

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