Asbestos “cover up” job

Hi there,
I’m repairing an old (probably “ancient”) espresso machine. Although maybe 25+ years old, it’s in fairly decent shape.
That is, apart from the insulation on the boiler. The lagging material is most likely asbestos, and it is flaking. So far, not good.
Here are some pictures of the boiler showing what it, and the insulation on it looks like: http://home.planet.nl/~rjeroenv/hardware/repair_project/olyclub.html
Now, as I see it, there’s two ways to deal with this problem.
1. First is to dismantle the entire thing, take the boiler out, and, with all necessary precautions, remove the asbestos, eg. using a wire brush. That is definitely the “royal way”, but it’s also a royal PITA. Apart from safety issues related to the removal of asbestos, disassembling the machine & taking the boiler out is a tedious job. There are lots of tubing coming in, and out of the boiler, and it is a pressurized vessel – leaks are definitely not wanted. Furthermore, there’s not much room in machine for tools, and the boiler is very firmly attached to the machines frame. In short, disassembly runs the risk of damaging other components & may actually do more harm than it’ll do good.
2. Second option is a “cover up” job; encapsulating the asbestos with some material, to stop the flaking & leave none of the asbestos exposed. What I’m thinking of is a high temperature type of tape, or maybe a resin, or whatever polymer, that can be easily applied “in situ”, using a simple brush, or something. Using fiberglass, or carbon fiber to reinforce the polymer might be a possibility.
The question is, what would be the material of choice for me? The normal operating range of the boiler is around 90 C to 120 C (195 F to 250 F). The material I’m looking for should easily be able to cope with that, but, to keep a decent safety range, I would prefer to opt for a material that can withstand much higher temps – maybe up to 200 C (400 F).
Needless to say, the stuff should be waterproof. Since this is an espresso machine, the material will be sitting in a fairly humid environment & might even have water spilled on it. Lastly, I’m kind of on a budget, so what I need is something that’s relatively inexpensive & easily available.
I’m hoping to get your advice on the sort of material that I could use. Of course, if you can recommend other possible options for dealing with the asbestos issue that I’m overlooking, please do inform me.
Thanks,
HV
DIY-challenged espressophile from the Netherlands (Europe)
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Years ago, I developed an asbestos/sodium silicate prepreg, which was later hot-pressed (600 deg F.) to a sealed, high strength laminate - 9 x 10^6 flex modulus, as I remember it . . . an interesting material.
First of all, if the machine is otherwise sound, I'd let the asbestos alone. I'd suggest you consider the use of a sodium silicate liquid to seal the asbestos. I used PQ (the old Philadelphia Quartz folks) number 40, but I'm sure if you contact them, explain your situation, they can offer some suggestions. SS is an extremely versatile material.
The SS will seal, and certainly take any heat you might input.
Good luck! on your project. Make a cappucino for me . . .
Carl Sachs
HV wrote:

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Hello Al, Carl,
Thanks for your advice. If you're ever in the Netherlands, drop by & I'll be glad to make you a cappuccino ;-)
Re. asbestos or not - I don't have a positive assessment what material the boiler lagging is, and I don't have the means to properly investigate. I'm a law student, not a student of chemistry or physics.
I've tried contacting the manufacturer for more info, but no response so far. A fellow "espressophile" who owns a similar machine, did warn me that it is "probably sprayed on asbestos". I'm not quite certain what his source of info is, but a friend of mine, an engineer, had look at it & confirmed that this _could_ be the case.
Here's a slightly better close-up:
http://home.planet.nl/~rjeroenv/hardware/repair_project/boiler_lagging.jpg
To me, it looks like some papery stuff. The fibers are rather short and thin, and quite "soft" to the touch. The adhesive used to apply it to the metal is apparently not quite heat resistant, or not entirely waterproof (or a combination of both). At any rate, the lagging shows a few (water) stains, and it is relatively easy to remove. The material falls apart in fairly hard pieces here and there, while, in other areas, it comes off in wooly flakes.
I doubt the above descriptions make any sense in identifying the material, and again, I can't tell much more about it. Whatever this is, though, I'd rather be very safe then very sorry. As said, I have considered removing the lagging, but, on second thought, not messing with the boiler might be the safest option.
Wrapping the boiler in a sealing tape is an option, but, due to its shape, not as simple as it sounds. Coating it with some material (waterglass, or sodium silicate) would be easier. If a coating needs curing, that is, of course, less of a problem - if filled with water, the heating element can easily heat the boiler to 120+ degrees C (250-ish F).
Thanks again for your advice,
Cheers,
HV
Carl Sachs wrote:

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