Category Archives: Techniques & Tips

Thinning WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

By Brian Knight

A question frequently posed to our technical staff is “can I thin WEST SYSTEM® epoxy so it will flow or penetrate better?” The answer to that question is “yes, but not without consequences.” Many of the advantages of thinning epoxy are offset by disadvantages in other areas of epoxy performance.

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Science Fair Testing Wins Awards

By Bill Bertelsen

We like to think that all our customers are considerably above average, but every once in a while we encounter someone really exceptional. On January 25, 1999, our tech service department took a phone call from Elizabeth Tedford, a 7th-grader from Lansing, North Carolina. She was working on a science fair project that involved testing the adhesive strength of epoxy. Continue reading

Hydromat Panel Test, an ASTM Standard

Previous Epoxyworks have reported test results from the “Hydromat,” a unique structural test developed at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), after a rigorous review by its D30 Committee on Composites, approved the Hydromat test method as an official ASTM standard. Continue reading

Porch Railing Coating Analysis

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

My porch railing at home was badly in need of painting even though I had painted it the summer before. After just one Michigan winter, the paint had cracked and lifted. I wondered to myself if coating the top rail with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy would improve this poor situation and decided to turn the top rail into a small R & D project. Continue reading

GBI test lab

The Versatility of Epoxy

By Rob Monroe

From ice boats to racing multihulls, wind turbine blades, and a thousand other projects — ours and customers — working with epoxies and our customers since 1969 has been interesting. The decades of experience in the shops, labs and libraries have given us a pretty good feeling for epoxy technology. We know its strengths and weaknesses, and most importantly we understand and appreciate its versatility.

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More on Laminating Wooden Beams

By Captain James R. Watson

When I was a kid, my older brother had a slingshot that was fashioned from a tree crotch. The wood fibers neatly followed the desired shape and nicely addressed the forces when operated. Centuries ago, many large ship components — knees, hooks, and floors were selected from forks, crotches and crooks of trees for much the same reasons. One-piece wooden parts were very reliable and the naturally grown beams and frames were key components of ship construction. As the availability of large naturally shaped timber diminished, large curved components were made of stacked and mechanically fastened smaller pieces of wood. Laminated wood structures weren’t possible until the relatively recent development of strong adhesives. Continue reading

Hardware Bonding

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

My first experience with hardware bonding occurred shortly after starting work at Gougeon Brothers in 1980. Having just been hired into the wind turbine blade plant, I was excited to be part of this interesting company. Continue reading

fastener load path

More on Hardware Bonding

General considerations for epoxy bonded fasteners in wood

By Robert Monroe

With epoxy bonded fasteners, the idea is to balance the three parts, (fastener, epoxy and wood/hole) to obtain optimum performance. The key information needed is the tensile strength of the fastener, the shear strength of the epoxy and the withdrawal resistance of the wood or backing block. Continue reading

Techniques for Fiberglassing Overhead

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

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

Panel Warping

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

CAUTION: Strip planked projects can warp to the point of being unusable if one side of the wood core is fiberglassed and the other side is left unsealed. Changes in wood moisture content on the unsealed side will cause the project to change shape. The potential for warping is greatest on thin wood-strip projects like canoes and kayaks. The thinner the planking, the greater the risk. Continue reading