Old House Journal - - Restore -

When Mar­sha Ca­po­raso couldn’t find any­thing but plas­tic wood filler to make re­pairs on a “three-flat” she owned in Chicago, she asked her late hus­band, the chemist John Ca­po­raso, to come up with a so­lu­tion.

Long story short, he in­vented Wood Epox and Liq­uidWood, still the sig­na­ture items for Aba­tron, a com­pany that spe­cial­izes in the de­vel­op­ment and man­u­fac­ture of epox­ies and com­pounds that can work mir­a­cles in wood, con­crete, and metal.

Any­one who’s strug­gled to patch a rot­ten win­dowsill prob­a­bly has heard of WoodEpox and its com­rade in arms, Liq­uidWood. Both are epoxy sys­tems. “Epoxy is a fam­ily of plas­tic chem­i­cals,” Ca­po­raso says. “There are two parts, resin and hard­ener. You put them to­gether and it cre­ates a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion.”

The re­sult­ing medium, whether liq­uid or a pli­able solid, is used to fill voids in wood. As the name im­plies, Liq­uidWood is a vis­cous liq­uid that can drip into small voids in the sub­struc­ture. WoodEpox is a more plas­tic medium (think Play-Doh) for fill­ing larger voids. As long as it’s prop­erly mixed, WoodEpox is es­pe­cially user­friendly. “If you make a mis­take with it, you just sand it off and ap­ply some more,” ex­plains Mar­sha Ca­po­raso, who is pres­i­dent of Aba­tron.

One of the at­tributes of WoodEpox and Liq­uidWood is that they don’t re­lease volatile or­ganic com­pounds, or VOCs. “They don’t harden by evap­o­ra­tion, so they have vir­tu­ally no VOCs,” Ca­po­raso says. That’s one rea­son sales of th­ese GreenGuard-cer­ti­fied prod­ucts have been so suc­cess­ful, es­pe­cially in Cal­i­for­nia, which has strin­gent reg­u­la­tions on harm­ful chem­i­cals in build­ing prod­ucts.

All of Aba­tron’s epoxy and ad­he­sive for­mu­la­tions are closely guarded secrets, so I wasn’t in­vited in­side the fac­tory in Kenosha, Wis­con­sin. Rest as­sured, how­ever, that there’s an Aba­tron epoxy coun­ter­part for just about any­thing (and any ma­te­rial) that breaks or de­te­ri­o­rates, along with primers, fillers, ad­he­sives, and even col­orants for every step of the re­pair. Of spe­cial in­ter­est are metal-filled epox­ies that can re­pair or re­build any­thing from the kitchen sink to an off­shore oil rig, and con­crete for­mu­la­tions that in­clude Abow­eld, use­ful for fill voids in con­crete. “It re­sists sag­ging on a ver­ti­cal sur­face, even without re­in­force­ment,” says Ca­po­raso.

LEFT (from top) An eroded wood win­dow frame was treated with Liq­uidWood, an epoxy that seeps deep into the wood struc­ture The frame is filled with WoodEpox, al­lowed to cure, then sanded smooth. • Con­crete steps re­stored with re­pair prod­ucts Abow­eld and Abocrete, plus joint sealant, primer, and Color Grit, a quartz sand that tints and adds tex­ture.

The Aba­tron plant is in Kenosha, Wis­con­sin. LEFT Com­pany pres­i­dent Mar­sha Ca­po­raso has been in­volved with the com­pany since the be­gin­ning.

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