Category Archives: Shop Tricks

Fairing Basics

By Jeff Wright

The goal of fairing is to create a surface without bumps or hollows.

Fairing Compound should be of a consistency that can be troweled onto a surface without sagging. Add 407 Low Density or 410 Microlight filler to mixed epoxy, checking the consistency as you stir in the filler to determine if the mixture has the correct viscosity for your application.

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Grapnel

Make Your Own Grapnel

By Captain J.R. Watson

A grapnel or grappling hook is a device with curved tines or “flukes” attached to a rope used for retrieving overboard objects. For pleasure boaters, a grapnel should be small, lightweight and made of non-rusting materials. I think every cruising boat should have one. The only ones I could find were too large, or were a folding grapnel anchor, not a retrieving hook.

To get what I wanted I had to make my own. I settled on a treble configuration and chose galvanized steel. Although plenty strong, this grapnel is intended for light service, up to about 40 lb, which is about as much as the average person can lift with a line anyway. Continue reading

Shelf Life in Real Life

While WEST SYSTEM® epoxy has a long shelf life, age will eventually affect its handling characteristics and cured strength. When stored for very long periods, hardeners may turn darker (reddish to purple), become thicker and give off more odor. 105 Resin may lose some clarity and also become slightly thicker. Use extra care when mixing age-thickened products (stir extra thoroughly), and if color and/or clarity are crucial to your project, buy some fresh resin and hardener for best results. 207 Special Clear Hardener is specially formulated for clarity and flow. Continue reading

The Coupe de Ville of Epoxy Caddies

By Mike Barnard

My father has grown very fond of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy and his box of epoxy-related items has been growing at a steady rate. The overflow of his box in an already “treasure” packed garage emphasized his need for an organization and storage system for these materials. We have had several requests for this same type of solution lately, so I did some digging and found a great Boatbuilder article from 1986 written by J.R. Watson. Inspired by this article, my father and I built our own interpretation of the Epoxy Caddy.

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Quick Fix for a Damaged Table Saw Ripping Fence

By Tom Pawlak

25 years of use (some might say abuse) had taken its toll on the heavy aluminum rip fence on our Delta Rockwell 12″–14″ Tilting Arbor Saw. Deep saw kerf grooves on the face of the fence had become a hazard because wood occasionally got hung up on it when ripping stock.Over a few months, each time I used the saw I thought about how it could be repaired. While the plan was still developing in my head, more than once I clamped a flat piece of plywood to the ripping fence face to temporarily create the smooth surface that I needed. Continue reading

A G/flex Modified Snow Shovel

By Tom Pawlak

This winter (2011) in Bay City, Michigan, we’ve seen a couple big snow falls and lots of small ones with 1″ to 2″ of accumulation. Not enough snow to bother breaking out the snow blower, so I usually shovel it by hand. About 10 years ago I fell in love with the plastic snow shovels that are lightweight and the snow slides off of them easily compared to the metal snow shovels that are heavy and snow clings to stubbornly.

My problem with plastic shovels is they wear out after one or two seasons at best because my driveway is made of fiber reinforced concrete. It is like a huge piece of 80-grit sandpaper waiting to devour my plastic shovels. Continue reading

Build What You Can’t Buy

By J.R. Watson

Do you sometimes need a replacement part for your boat, home or recreational vehicle and find out its no longer available? Discontinued. Source unknown. Can’t be found. Maybe the price borders on insanity or, you need a part that simply does not exist and never did.

“Okay,” you say, “I need it, can’t get it, my only option is to make it.”

As soon as you reach this decision, two thoughts pass through your mind. “How will I make it?” and “What materials shall I use?” You may have a third question like, “Am I the only one that has these problems?” Continue reading

Project X Fairing Technique

By John M. Thomas

Almost 40 years ago Meade and Jan Gougeon opened their doors to a fastener-less method of boat construction using epoxy and various clamping methods. Jan’s newest boat is in the home stretch to completion, and he is addressing the fine tweaks of coaming and fairing. Continue reading

Using Google SketchUp to Design a New Cooler

By Jeff Wright

My personal boat is a 1986 Formula 242 LS.With a soft riding deep V hull, good performance and a small but well appointed cuddy cabin, it is a great boat for me, my wife and our dog to use for a whole weekend. One shortcoming, besides not having standing headroom in the cabin, is the built-in cooler located in the cuddy cabin. The cooler had a side door and was styled to look like a refrigerator. This may have looked “cool” in the mid 1980s but was impractical. We couldn’t put ice in the cooler without having the water leak out through the door. For any trip longer than one night I had to use a standard cooler strapped to the swim platform. This was inconvenient and limited the use of the platform at the beach. Continue reading

laminated denim knife handle

Readers’ Projects, Issue 30

Laminated Denim Knife Handle Material

Knife makers Cliff Fendley and Mike Carter decided to try their hand at making laminated denim knife handle material. After some research, they chose to use WEST SYSTEM 105 Epoxy Resin with 206 Slow Hardener to laminate pieces of denim fabric into blocks from which they could machine knife handles. Mike first made a 5″ x 7″ piece about 1/2″ thick with alternating front and back layers of blue jean denim. Cliff made a 1″ thick 5″ x 5″ Piece from faded blue jean and 1″ thick 5″ x 5″ piece from faded blue jean and a 1″ thick 1″ x 7″ piece from alternating layers of tan and black denim which he twisted before pressing.

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