Category Archives: Shop Tricks

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

bibble-free casting

Bubble-Free Casting in Knotholes and Cracks

By Don Gutzmer

Customers often ask us to recommend a WEST SYSTEM product for filling cracks and knotholes in wood. The best choice is 105 Resin and 207 Special Clear Hardener. Used properly, this product combination produces a strong, transparent casting. I will use large logs with huge voids to demonstrate the best practices for achieving a clear, bubble-free casting with 105/207. Continue reading

modified 808 spreader filleting tool

Bonding with Fillets

By Tom Pawlak

Gluing plywood structures together with epoxy fillets saves considerable time constructing the joints and reduces overall weight of the structure compared to more traditional methods using wooden cleats and screws. The strength and gap-filling qualities of epoxy eliminate the need for precisely fitted wood cleats that otherwise require time and skill to create. When gluing with conventional adhesives, that are non-gap filling such as resorcinol glue, wood cleats need to be well fitted, need to be wide enough to provide sufficient glued surface area and provide enough thickness for screws to be driven into. Building with epoxy fillets is especially beneficial when attaching bulkheads to hull sides, attaching hull sides to hull bottoms where the faces of the plywood are coming together at ever-changing angles. Continue reading

Cold Weather Bonding

By Don Gutzmer

“Whats the lowest temperature WEST SYSTEM Epoxy can be applied?” During cold weather, this is a common question our Technical Advisors are asked. Fortunately, its one were well equipped to answer. Gougeon Brothers, Inc. got its start in the world of DN Iceboat racing. Both Meade and Jan Gougeon have won multiple DN cup races worldwide. Its not unusual for an iceboat to need repairs mid-regatta, so part of the discipline of iceboat racing is getting epoxy to cure despite cold working environments. The trick is using strategies that bring epoxy temperatures up to adequate cure levels in cold working environments. Continue reading