Best Cement for Mini Soling ABS

I need help choosing the best cement to put the deck back on my Mini Soling. I assume that it is ABS but built it years ago and don’t have the plans any longer to see what they recommend. Don’r remember what I used but I was never happy with the bond and so tore it off a couple of years ago to put in a better and larger sail winch servo and need some help doing it right.



I would build like the larger boats. Run a small piece of wood around the gunwales inside the hull and coat with epoxy to seal from water. When dry, run masking tape around exterior of hull at gunwales. This will (hopefully) catch any drips of epoxy during next step.

Mix epoxy with thickeners ( microballoons, talc, fumed silica, or similar) to get peanut butter consistency. Put mix on the top of the wood, locate deck, and then tape down the deck to hull to insure tight fit. Not too tight so you squeeze all epoxy out, but tight enough to cause a bit to squish out. Wipe off excess and let cure. Once cured, you can sand off any spots and remove masking tape with any drips. The epoxy should have filled the entire joint line, and you can add more to make sure all pinholes are sealed. Just wipe with finger (use vinyl or rubber gloves). You can then paint or whatever to finish off. Catch the drips before they hit the outside of the hull below the tape!

Tom, Dicks reply was great, I would ad that you ruff up the abs with 80 grit, also our club has had good success with liquid nails, don’t laugh it really works.

Wow - never thought of that stuff !

Thanks for the idea and post, John. :zbeer:

Also recommend 3M 5200. Just make sure you’ve got your deck where you want it, because after that stuff sets up you are never going to get it off. Seriously, I prefer it to epoxy for deck joints on plastic boats because it stays slightly flexible.



Great! Dick’s procedure is what I followed when I assembled the boat years ago but the instructions didn’t call for the “strip of wood” so that I didn’t do.

I was dissapointed with the fact that there is no structure to hold the hull out to make better contact with the lip or flange of the deck piece. I added a bulkhead at the center which fits around the keel support block but it was not enough to ensrure good contact throughout the gunwale region so there were voids in the joint and “waves” in the hull in those areas.

I was just telling my friend that I thought a good quality adhesive caulk would be better for this joint. It’s good to hear that others have tested and agree using this. Is that what the 3M product is? Liquid Nails is a good idea too. They make a number of products. Which one maintains some flexibility?

I have contemplated making a stripwood deck for this boat over a pieice of 1/64" plywood and applying a band of thin hardwood around the perimeter to create a gluing and alingment flange, and after staining and varnishing, attach in the same manner as the original piece. Its hard to resist the warmth and appeal of real wood on the deck.


Tom, we use the regular liquid nails, I tried the one for small jobs & didn’t like it.

maker Victor? material Styrene ? Epoxy wrong except for the benefit of being able to peel the deck off again later? Just asking.

Hi Scott -

traditionally, styrene is glued using good old “Testor’s” airplane cement for model planes and cars. This stuff works, but it causes the styrene to get soft so it will bond. If too much is liberally applied, it will soften the styrene and cause surface irregularities. A few builders of Victor’s other boats have noted that after using airplane cement, the bulkhead in the hull begins to show through, where the hull softness never seems to get super hard again. Of course it is hard to tell how much glue was used too.

I have had good luck using coarse grit sandpaper to roughen styrene prior to epoxy. I have also used CA but when subject to water, I have decided (personally) to use what I am familiar with - hence epoxy (WEST System in particular). Epoxy can be warmed using carefully directed heat gun. It softens the resin and using a single edged razor blade, you can work your way around the deck/hull joint and carefully remove the deck. There are cases where this operation can be helpful. You can also use a foam shaping “hot wire” to work between the part and it’s sub-base, but hot wires will also cut styrene so this process must be done carefully and experience is a must. In the past, everything I’ve used from 3M (big boat, truck, car trim, etc.) was always something I knew would be permanent!

In the end, styrene is funny stuff and usually requires a chemical solvent bond and the fumes from that type of glue isn’t helpful to health.

I have not tried polyester resin that is thickened for hull to deck joints.

It sounds to me then that Liquid Nails is the proven choice for quality of bond, gap-filling performance, permanence of joint and flexibility over time.

I can’t imagine putting enough solvent on to soften styrene sufficiently to provide a wetted surface between these parts without a complete meltdown of the surrounding areas. And then one must try to figure out a way to clamp the deck to the hull without distorting the hull and compromising the contact area between the very parts one is trying to bond. Seems like all you can hope for is that they stay together and that you can caulk poor joints to seal out water. My experience was that bonding these parts effectively would require spreaders within the hull pressing outward on the gunwales in their entirey to even come close to good contact throughout.

I think beginning with a caulk type product in the first place, that is also an excellent adhesive is the preferred way to go.