Category Archives: Shop Tricks

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 Epoxy Fillets

By Tom Pawlak

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

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

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.

Continue reading

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.

Transporting epoxy with the 300 Mini-Pumps in the containers is typically awkward with a risk of overturning. The pumps could become damaged, and the alternative, to remove them, is messy and unnecessary. We always store the epoxy with the pumps in place. Inadvertently, a drip will cause a mess. A pot placed under the mini pumps will catch those rascals, but if the containers or the pot are not positioned correctly all’s for naught. The glue caddy solves both transportation and storage problems.

A caddy can be simple or as elaborate as you want. One could design it to become an epoxy work station complete with storage for brushes, stir sticks, hand cleaner, gloves, paper towels and so on. Or it could be designed simply with cutouts for containers and drip pots. One can simplify or expand upon the concept, tailoring to meet your needs.

Set whatever size containers you are going to use together, trace around their bases onto the plywood, and cut it out with a sabre saw. Position the drip pot cutout so it will be under the spouts of the mini pumps. With pots in position, you’re ready to go to work.

1. Lay out the items you want in your caddy on a sheet of plywood. Trace the outline of each item. Be sure to include a drip cup below the resin and hardener mini pump spouts.

2. Cut out the shapes of each item slightly oversized as necessary.

3. Add sides, a bottom and a handle to complete the caddy.

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