by Don Gutzmer
Why use a WEST SYSTEM specialty epoxy? I will cover the important characteristics of each of our three specialty epoxies. After reading this short article, you may see a use for one of these products in your future. Continue reading
Looking for an entry-level composite project? One that needs a minimum amount of materials and construction space, costs less than a boat, but still lets you travel on water? If you live in snow country, why not build a pair of composite snowshoes?
These snowshoes are made from a rigid foam core between two layers of carbon-fiber cloth, edged with 1″ Kevlar tape. A carbon-fiber wrapped wood spar runs across each snowshoe under the ball of your foot. This provides a solid mounting point for a couple of stainless steel eye-bolts to attach a simple toe-and-heel strap for a binding. Fiberglass tape reinforces the top and bottom edges, and the upper surface of the snowshoes where your winter boots contact them.
Meade Gougeon was excited in 2008. “I’m using Six10 for everything!” he said. He was working on his sailing canoe in Florida. In every phone conversation we had, he seemed to find a new use for Six10, “… even for composite layups because of its ‘shear thinning’,” a phrase new to me.
In May of 2018, a perfect application came along for Six10—the teak gunwales capping the plywood endgrain on my prototype Clam Girl.
Here is an inside snapshot of how the composites materials world is growing at my alma mater, Winona State University. Located in Winona, Minnesota, this university has the only accredited four-year undergraduate program for composite materials engineering in the US. Through this program, students learn the fundamentals of engineering while investigating different materials. This program challenges students both academically and creatively. Students are encouraged to ask questions and strive for a deeper understanding of why things are done the way they are done. From this, they can explore how things can be improved.
I am a designer/woodworker based in Yorkshire, England. I love using pieces of wood with interesting character. While a lot of people will avoid knotty, cracked and highly figured pieces because they can be difficult to work with, I embrace these imperfections and make them into a feature. However, it’s important to stabilize some of those features.
I started getting ideas about embedding high-performance aluminum honeycomb into epoxy to make more of a feature of the larger holes in timber that often need to be filled. Aluminum honeycomb is the same product that is supplied to the world’s top composites engineering, aerospace, and motorsport manufacturers.
The Klondike Derby is an annual winter camping trip held in our district (and many others across the country) for Scouts to hone their scouting skills in a winter environment. During the weekend event, Scout patrols go from station to station around our local Scout Camp, facing challenges that require them to demonstrate their skills in making a fire, navigating with a map and compass, cooking, knot-tying, and applying first aid. The Scouts must bring all their gear with them as they trek from station to station, including ropes, stoves, kindling, and hiking staves. Hence, each patrol is required to have a sled for their gear which they, as a patrol, must haul. The sled must be strong and stiff to hold the patrol gear, yet lightweight because at the end of the weekend there is a race between patrols, and the fastest sled wins.
This cherry basin is a project I did for a bathroom in our home. I turned the 17.25-inch wide basin from black cherry. The top of the cabinet is cherry as well, with a natural edge. I applied three coats of 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener epoxy to each, sanding the cured epoxy between coats. The final finish was three coats of polyurethane.
I built this 1929-design Pietenpol Air Camper in my single-car garage, with the final assembly at Pickens County Airport, LQK, South Carolina. Construction over a 6-year period used about two gallons of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. I “hammer tested” scrap wood joints after each mix had cured—wood always split, never the epoxy joint.
Some years ago I had the curious idea of cutting a dried black walnut in half on a band saw. That first look at the exposed insides of the nut grabbed me as very unusual, even surreal and not at all what I expected. I decided to seal the cut surfaces in epoxy which made them look even more unusual. I’ve made many since and love to see the reaction from people looking at them for the first time. I’ve been told they look like brain scans, polished geodes, and ink blots. Continue reading