Category Archives: Techniques & Tips

West System Epoxy

The Basics of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

By Don Gutzmer

For those who want to work with epoxy resin and hardener, each February Gougeon Brothers provides a Fiberglass Boat Repair Class for repair professionals. Here are some of the basic techniques we teach in the class, as well as helpful tips for working with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy.

Epoxy’s Cure Stages

What is the difference between working time, pot life and cure time? All three are slightly different. Continue reading

Epoxy casting can be done in many colors and depths

Casting Epoxy

By Rachael Geerts

Casting epoxy is really catching on. Live edge tables with bright centers, clear coasters with stones, wood, or shells intricately placed, or even beautiful jewelry can be made with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. With so many people venturing into using epoxy this way, I will address common questions about casting depth, colorants, bubble removal, and finishing. Continue reading

WEST SYSTEM 300 Mini Pumps

300 Mini Pumps

To buy or not to buy?

By Terry Monville

Do I really need the Mini Pumps?

If it’s a two-part epoxy, why are there three pumps in the package?

The pumps look the wrong size to fit my cans. Are you sure these are the right ones?

Selling WEST SYSTEM Epoxy in a retail environment for more than 20 years, those were the three most common questions I received.

These are valid questions. We’ve all been in a situation where the salesperson is trying to upsell us or has no clue what we really need. In the case of Mini Pumps, however, the salesperson is trying to do you a favor.

Continue reading

penetrating epoxy sample blocks

Penetrating epoxy: legend or myth?

By Bruce Niederer

I’m fast approaching my 22nd year of working here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. From my first day on the job, I have lived the controversy surrounding penetrating epoxies vs. high-solids epoxies in general and WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy in particular. I have met with the formulator and founder of a popular brand of penetrating epoxy and talked to him many times over the years. He is a nice fellow and passionate about his product, but in the end we had to agree to disagree. 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

Azek® PVC Deck Boards

An option in boat construction or repair?

By Bruce Niederer

Wood has always been used in fiberglass boat construction, in stringers and oftentimes as core in high compression areas such as under cleats, stanchions and winches. Wood works great in these applications but we all know that the big problem with wood is the fact that it rots if it gets wet. Here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. (GBI) we have spent long hours writing manuals and training people to use proper techniques using epoxy to keep wood dry and strong. Continue reading

Warm Temperature Bonding

By Don Gutzmer

During warm summer months, handling characteristics of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy will be different than at other times of the year. Our cure times are based on an ambient temperature of 72°F, but in warmer temperatures the epoxy will cure faster. There are some steps you can take to ensure good results when using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy in warm environments. Continue reading

Applying Polyester Gelcoat over Epoxy

By Mike Barnard

There are some myths out there as to whether you can apply gelcoat over epoxy. Andy Miller addresses the issue. He has a great understanding of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy, having used it for years as owner and chief repairman of Miller Boatworks in Herbster, Wisconsin. Andy knows his stuff. What’s even better is that, when he’s unsure about a detail, he contacts us for the right answers.  Continue reading

Techniques for Fiberglassing Overhead

By Tom Pawlak

The prospect of having to fiberglass the bottom of a hull can be a bit ominous. Any type of overhead work can be frustrating, but the thought of trying to hold fiberglass in place while applying epoxy can produce nightmares for some people. This is especially true if you will be working alone. Continue reading