Category Archives: Shop Tricks

Sample of a carbon fiber/Kevlar laminate affected by abrasion. The left side is unaffected where as the right side has been abraded. Note the fraying from the Kevlar fibers.

Improving Impact and Abrasion Resistance

By Rachael Geerts – Composites Materials Engineer

What is the difference between abrasion and impact? What materials hold up best against each of them? These questions often come up when talking about skid plates. Skid plates are a protective layer, typically on canoes and kayaks, that reinforces the areas of the hull most likely to suffer damage from abrasion and impact. Continue reading

Mike Lenemens thickened epoxy application technique was borrowed from his grandfathers painting method.

Thickened Epoxy Application

By Mike Lenemen

My idea for this thickened epoxy application method was borrowed from my grandfather, a notable oil painter. What I remember the most about him is how he painted. He used standard oil paints but did not use a brush. Instead, he painted with cake decorating cones and his fingers.

One day, when I was working on applying some thickened WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy, I had an epiphany: my grandfather used cake-decorating cones to “draw” with oil paints and he was very accurate with them… maybe that would work with thickened epoxy. It has about the same consistency (viscosity) as oil paints. Continue reading

Rock salt used for the lost method of creating nonskid.

Creating Nonskid Surfaces

By Greg Bull – GBI Technical Advisor

Nonskid surfaces may need to be replaced because they are worn down from years of use, or were removed during a deck repair. If you want to match an existing pattern, flexible molds are available for matching a production boat non-skid pattern or for use if a molded appearance is desired. Molded non-skid surfaces are often very open making them easier to clean and they have a more finished appearance (See Epoxyworks 22, “Repair Non-Skid and get Professional Results”).  For applications where it is not practical to use molds, or a simple and functional non-skid surface is desired, there are some easy options. Continue reading

a roll of paper towels

Clean White Paper Towels

Q. What should I wipe the surface with before applying WEST SYSTEM Epoxy?

A. Use water and paper towels.

If using a solvent, like acetone, make sure to use clean, white, non-printed paper towels—not a rag. Using printed paper towels with acetone or other solvents can make the ink rub off, contaminating the newly sanded surface. Continue reading

varnish over epoxy

Clear Coating with 207 Special Clear Hardener

By Terry Monville – Technical Advisor

Not that long ago, clear coating with epoxy meant that you were finishing a natural wood canoe or kayak, or the teak toe rails on your boat. Today, WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener is used for clear coating in many different ways. Regardless of the project, there are some basic techniques to follow when epoxy coating and a few pitfalls to avoid. Continue reading

A typical vacuum bag setup

Vacuum Bagging Basics

By Rachael Geerts – Technical Advisor

Featured image (above): A typical vacuum bagging setup.

What is vacuum bagging?

Vacuum bagging is when a composite that is laid up and wet out by hand is then put under vacuum to compact the laminate and force out excess epoxy. Vacuum bagging has been a choice method of manufacturing and repairing composites for a long time. Continue reading

Joining Plywood with epoxy

Joining Plywood

By Don Gutzmer

Many boat parts require plywood lengths greater than the standard 8 feet, so joining together two panels of plywood is an important step. The most common methods of joining plywood are the butt joint with backer block, the scarf joint and a hybrid between the two. Each method offers its own distinct advantages and disadvantages in certain applications so it’s important to be aware of each joining method. Continue reading

faster, neater fillets

Faster, Neater Fillets

By Tom Pawlak

When creating lots of epoxy fillets, a faster way to apply the thickened epoxy is with an 810 Fillable Caulking Tube. It takes a bit of time to transfer the epoxy into the tube, but it is wonderfully efficient for applying epoxy to the joints. Compared to other application methods, it’s also less messy. Continue reading