Richard Alstrom from Abatron was our speaker.  Abatron was founded in 1959 by the Caporaso family and stayed family owned for 62 years, when Marsha in her late 80’s wanted to retire, so she sold it to a private equity firm under U.C. CoatingsIt started 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 WoodEpox 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. Abaton moved to Kenosha in 1994.
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 made of 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. If it’s properly mixed, WoodEpox is especially user-friendly. If you make a mistake with it, you just sand it off and apply some more. The finished product is often stronger than the original wood and can be sanded, drilled, screwed, nailed.  This product is huge in historic restorations.
One of the attributes of WoodEpox and LiquidWood is that they don’t release volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.  They do not harden by evaporation, so they have virtually no VOCs. That’s one reason sales of these Green Guard-certified products have been so successful, especially in California, which has stringent regulations on harmful chemicals in building products. 80% of their overall sales are for their wood products, the other 20% is for their concrete, metal, plaster repair kits, adhesive coatings for garage or basement floors and mold making and casting. Kenosha has 13 FT employees and up to 7 additional “summer help”. The product must be used in 50 degree or warmer weather, so this is a quiet time for them.
 
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