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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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. Gluing plywood structures together with epoxy fillets saves considerable time constructing the joints and reduces the 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. Continue reading →
“What’s the lowest temperature WEST SYSTEM Epoxy can be applied?” During cold weather, this is a common question our Technical Advisors are asked. Fortunately, it’s one we’re 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. It’s 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 →
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.
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 →
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 →