By Chris Wantuck
Can there be a product on the market that solves many of the problems we encounter when restoring our antique autos? Is there a "universal" way to tackle wood, metal, filling, sanding, and finishing for structural and cosmetic problems? Kwik Poly maybe that product.
Carrying over from the manufacture of wagons and stage coaches, early auto manufacturers often used wood as a means of providing a frame for the body and this practice was common well into the 1930s. Wood was plentiful, it could be cut, shaped and joined together using available tools. Depending on the era, the exterior of this wooden frame was covered with aluminum or steel sheet metal (and in rare instances fabric) where it could be easily nailed along the edges. Only in the late 1930's did wood eventually give way to all-steel bodies, but wood continued to be used as either trim or for fastening interior trim moldings.
Restorers of these collector cars are faced with the likely possibility that over the decades, the wood has rotted and and will require repair. This article examines a liquid (epoxy) type product called Kwik Poly, its many features and uses. As an example of it's ability to solve difficult problems, we will show you how to repair a body frame rail (sill) that has rotted where it mates with the chassis and body shims.
Kwik Poly is a Polyol product using two agents, a base and a catalyst. It is packaged in two separate metal containers, each having a viscosity similar to water (Photo 1). It has a mixing ratio of 1:1, equal parts of the base (Part A) and the catalyst (Part B). Thick or thin, Kwik Poly can be used as a combination filler, coating or bonding agent. One practical tip is to dispense Kwik Poly into smaller size containers for use around the shop and use small plastic pipettes to dispense Part A and B in equal amounts (Photos 2 & 3).
Photo 1: Kwik Poly Parts A (red) and B (blue), a few 30 cc mixing cups, disposable flux brushes, and disposable gloves are included in each kit. Durham's wood putty (purchased locally) is used as a general filler.
Photo 2: Kwik Poly is filled into small glass bottles for easier dispensing around the shop, maintaining the same Part A (red) and Part B (blue-black) legends for the bottles and the pipettes. Each bottle has its own drinking straw taped to the side and each pipette is colored with a Sharpie marker to avoid contamination. Also shown are wooden coffee mixing stirrers, 7 ml pipettes, and 3 Oz paper cups. Pipettes range in size from 3 ml to 30 ml and are available at hobby stores and directly from vendors offering chemistry supplies.
Photo 3: Small and larger syringes (such as a deep fried turkey flavor injector) and larger size pipettes are helpful when applying Kwik Poly into hard to reach areas.
When Part A and Part B are mixed together it creates a thermo-chemical reaction that will cure in approximately 5 minutes; it will be cured enough to be handled in about 10 minutes (or less) and full cure is well under 12 hours.