Category Archives: Shop Tricks

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 — GBI Technical Advisor

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 — GBI Technical Advisor

This winter (2011) in Bay City, Michigan, we’ve seen a couple of big snowfalls and lots of small ones with 1″ to 2″ of accumulation. Not enough snow to bother breaking out the snowblower, 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 — Vice President of Technical Services

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.

Continue reading

Marquetry Made Easy

By Al Witham

There is a simple way for those of us who may be “artistically challenged” to produce inlaid furniture, jewelry boxes, canoe decks, trays, etc. with a modest investment in equipment and materials, in a reasonable period of time, and with eye-pleasing results. I have no formal training in making inlays, but have found a method which works for me. I showed this method to a friend who is a shop teacher; he now has students as young as ten incorporating it into their school projects with excellent results. My method is adaptable, user-friendly within limits and forgiving of minor cutting errors. Even novices can produce great looking marquetry. Continue reading

Building Composite Tubes

With WEST SYSTEM and braided fibers

By Captain J.R. Watson

Tubes are used on boats for hard tops, T-tops, Biminis, dodgers, bows, bow and stern pulpits, rails, canoe and kayak paddle shafts, boat hooks, and so on. Composite tubes built with epoxy and reinforcing fibers offer advantages over metal in terms of light weight, custom shapes and sizes, and corrosion resistance. Composite tubes can be faired and painted to produce a seamless appearance to match the boat, or left to show the carbon fiber. I’ve been experimenting with approaches to building a variety of composite tubes. Following are some things I’ve tried (some that worked and some that did not) that you may find of value if you want to produce composite tubes yourself. Continue reading

How to Build a Set of Planer Boards

By J.R. Watson

 

Planer boards allow for more fishing lines to be trolled simultaneously and are used to spread lures and harnesses away from the boat when trolling at low speeds (below 2 knots). They are commonly used when fishing for walleye. You can achieve a greater dimensional spread with planer boards than with outriggers. Continue reading