Table of Contents
F.I.D.O.: Peter Schmidt Mikkelsen
A Conversation with Palle Norit
DNA Analysis of the Greenland Dog and the Canadian Inuit Dog
Pregnancy, Whelping and Pup Development in the ISD, Part 1
Product Review: Herculiner«
Tip for the Trail: Anti-fatigue Mats
In the News
Janice Howls: At the Heart of Greatness
IMHO: Training or Interference
reviewed by Mark Hamilton
This season I decided to start using a flat bed trailer to transport our training rigs rather than loading them on top of and behind our dog box as I have in years past (i.e. I decided it was time to use my head instead of my back). I investigated using a variety of materials for the trailer's deck surface, and finally chose exterior grade plywood with some type of durable weatherproof coating. Because assembling the trailer was a do-it-yourself project, I wanted a do-it-yourself deck finish as well. Researching pickup truck bed coatings led me to a product named Herculiner«. It incorporates ground up rubber in a polyurethane based coating. Herculiner« adheres to a wide range of materials and finishes beyond just automotive paint, including metal, fiberglass, most plastics (including PVC), rubber, wood and even concrete. Of importance to me was that it could be applied within a wide temperature range 0║-35║C (32║-95║F) and that multiple coats resulted in a very durable, built-up surface.
I purchased the 3.78 liter (1 gallon) kit. (Herculiner« is also sold in .47 liter (1 quart) and 3.78 liter (1 gallon) cans by themselves, and is available in black, gray or red), which includes a small paintbrush, a paint can opener and an abrasive pad, a roller frame and a couple of foam roller covers. Do not use conventional fabric roller covers with Herculiner«, unless you actually want an uneven, blotchy finish. My goal was to coat all surfaces of the plywood to achieve maximum weather protection, and for the exposed surfaces to have a thick, built-up coating for maximum durability. And I didn't want the process to take forever.
Herculiner« cures, rather than dries. Depending on the ambient temperature and humidity, it can be recoated in as little as 1-4 hours. In our cool, dry fall temperatures I waited a little over three hours between coats. The higher the humidity, the quicker Herculiner« cures. With only two roller covers and multiple coats to apply over the course of two days I decided to try reusing the roller covers. I tightly wrapped the roller in plastic freezer wrap and stored it in the freezer between uses. Nowhere is this recommended or even suggested in the Herculiner« instruction sheet or on their website, but it is an accepted practice with other paint products. It worked. I used only one roller cover over the course of two days of painting. The road-facing surface of the trailer deck received two normal coats of Herculiner« and the upper surface and edges received a total of four heavier ones. Three of those coats were applied after the deck had been bolted down to the trailer's frame, so that the carriage bolt heads could be coated as well.
My experience with Herculiner« is that it is undemanding to work with. It rolls out pretty evenly and the occasional lump can be spread out and incorporated into the surface with just a little extra rolling. To achieve a uniform surface finish it's best to apply each new layer at a 90║ angle to the previous layer. Once cured, it's a very tough finish. Nowhere has any of the trailer's plywood decking been exposed by the bumps and abuses associated with use. Some small spots on a few of the carriage bolt heads have been exposed when things slid across the decking sheared the material off. I called the Herculiner« technical support people about this condition and their advice was that galvanized finishes should be painted with an etching primer before coating. Metals that have a cadmium plated finish should be treated like any shiny, painted surface and roughened with sand paper or an abrasive pad.
The finished surface isn't slippery, even when wet, so once you strap something with rubber tires down onto this trailer, it pretty much stays exactly where you put it. I anticipate the trailer's plywood decking will have a very long life encapsulated the way it is with multiple coats of Herculiner«. The only constraining property of Herculiner« is that once you open the can the product starts to cure, even the material that is still in the can (yes, even with the lid tightly back on the can). You must plan your use so that when the coating process is finished the Herculiner« is all used up, or you must be comfortable with the knowledge that what's left over will soon cure and be unusable. With a list price in the U.S. of $99.00/3.78 liter (1 gallon) and $29.00 for .47 liter (1 quart), the choice is yours as to deciding how you wish to deal with this issue.
After using Herculiner« on our trailer's decking I immediately thought of other possible applications for mushers. How many of us use wooden dog boxes? Until now, making them waterproof required waterproofing paint (which is somewhat fragile), fiberglass (pricey and time consuming to apply) or a sheet of EPDM rubber. Herculiner« is easily applied, durable and paintable, just in case the standard color options don't satisfy you. Got a rusty old training rig that you'd like to preserve for generations to come? Red would be my color choice for that project. And the plywood deck of those four wheel sand dune carts could be made into a forever kind of thing with just a couple of quick coats. A 3.78-liter can of Herculiner« will coat 5.1-5.6 sq. m. (55-60 sq. ft.). I really like this product.
Herculiner« is available in auto parts retail stores as well as from the online shops. It can also be purchased at the manufacturer's online store. Product information, including a downloadable Material Safety Data Sheet, a Frequently Asked Questions section, a tutorial video and the online store are all located at www.herculiner.com. The company can also be reached by phone 1-877-437-2854 or by snail mail at HERCULINER«, 4065 Commercial Avenue, Northbrook, IL 60062, USA.
Is there a useful product you'd like to tell us about? Email your experience to firstname.lastname@example.org or snail-mail it to Mark Hamilton, 55 Town Line Road, Harwinton, CT 06791, USA.