Category Archives: Techniques & Tips

Fairing the Bottom of Adagio

By Greg Bull — GBI Technical Advisor

While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom.  Continue reading

Repairing an Edison Concert Phonograph

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

Ronnie Janowicz, a good friend of mine, called to say the wooden horn on his antique Edison Concert phonograph was cracked. I had Ronnie bring it by so I could take a look.

I told him it could be repaired very nicely with epoxy if that is what he wanted to do. “Why wouldn’t I want it repaired that way?” he asked. I explained that repairing an antique with epoxy may affect its resale value if the potential purchaser objects to the repair. Some collectors take a dim view of wooden antiques being repaired with epoxy because repairs are not easily reversible like they would be if hide glue was used for repair instead.

Continue reading

Common Errors in Fiberglass Laminate Repair

By Jeff Wright — Vice President of Technical Services

While most of our customers are successful when using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to repair a damaged fiberglass laminate, we have become familiar with some common errors that are easily preventable. These mistakes are made by both professionals and amateurs. The information discussed in this article is available in our Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual and WEST SYSTEM User Manual, and on the WEST SYSTEM website. Continue reading

Wooden Goblet Rx

By Tom Pawlak — Retired GBI Technical Advisor

Vern, a good friend of mine, turned the exterior of a wooden goblet made from a nice piece of spalted sycamore. Unfortunately, the blank was not as dry as he thought and it cracked along one edge as it sat uncovered on his lathe overnight. He called to see if there was anything available for gluing it back together. I said I had some ideas and asked him to drop it off at work so I could take a stab at the repair. Continue reading

Repairing a Keel with G/flex Epoxy

By Don Gutzmer – GBI Technical Advisor

The advantage of repairing a keel with G/flex Epoxy is that it is a toughened system that has a tensile elongation of more than 30 percent, which would prevent cracks from reappearing in the fairing compound. A local boat owner called our technical line and asked about repairing his cast-iron wing keel with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. He asked if a technical advisor would be willing to take a look at the cracks on his keel and recommend the best way to repair it. After looking at the boat I gave the customer a callback and recommended using G/flex® Epoxy. He asked if I knew of anyone in the area that could do the repair. I told him that I would be willing to take on the job and thought it would be a good opportunity to write an article about repairing a keel with G/flex Epoxy. Continue reading

Advantages of 879 Release Fabric

By Mike Barnard

Much ado is sometimes made regarding amine blush but it’s easily avoided and easy to remove— especially if you use 879 Release Fabric.

When most epoxies are exposed to the atmosphere (especially cold and damp conditions) a secondary chemical reaction can occur at the surface of the epoxy, leaving a waxy-looking by-product called amine blush. This water-soluble film appears only at the end of the cure cycle, and never at all when WEST SYSTEM® 207 Special Clear Hardener is used. Continue reading

Improve Wooden Paddles with G/flex

By Tom Pawlak — Retired GBI Technical Advisor

Wooden paddles and boat oars are known for getting dented in service. While G/flex 650 is not optimized for use as a coating, we found it was worth the extra effort it takes to apply to wooden canoe paddles and boat oars to deflect impact and prevent cracking the wood beneath.

G/flex epoxies weren’t developed with coating in mind, but early on in applications testing, we discovered they were excellent at dealing with impact. This became evident when we used G/flex 650 (the unthickened version) as a coating and when we used G/flex 655 (the thickened version) as a protective buildup. Continue reading

Small Projects and Repairs

On an older fiberglass boat

By Jeff Wright — Vice President of Technical Services

I believe we have many customers who, like me, use WEST SYSTEM Epoxy simply to keep an older fiberglass boat in good repair. The following are examples of repairs and small projects that I have completed on my personal boat, a Formula 242 LS, over the last ten years. These would apply to many aging production fiberglass boats. Since WEST SYSTEM Epoxy has a shelf life measured in years, it is easy to keep it on your shelf and tackle these tasks when it’s convenient. Continue reading

Smaller Can Be Better

Tips for mixing small batches of epoxy

By Tom Pawlak — GBI Technical Advisor

My favorite way to mix small batches of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy, when less than full pump strokes on the mini pumps are required, is by metering resin and hardener into a graduated cylinder made with a plastic syringe. The 807 Plastic Syringes, in our product line, can be modified for this by cutting off the end of the syringe body so it looks like the end of a clear piece of plastic tubing. Continue reading

Time is Everything

A last-minute ski repair

By Grant Hilger

On the evening of March 19, 2013, I inspected my 217cm Atomic™ downhill race skis in preparation for race day. Because of the early ending to winter in 2012, these skis have not seen the light of day in almost two years. The only real chance I get to ski with them is at the annual Boyne Highlands Downhill Race in Harbor Springs, Michigan. This late March tradition is usually the grand finale of Michigan’s ski racing season.

This year the weather was shaping up perfectly for outstanding conditions, and I was chomping at the bit to ski fast! Much to my surprise, when I picked up one ski I found that a section near the tail was delaminating. On the inside edge of the left ski, a 1.5″ x 0.5″ area of the top skin was bubbled up from the ski’s sidewall. The bubble was 3/8″ of an inch high. I was less than impressed with this find, knowing that in order to race I’d need to repair the ski.

Delamination area on the ski.

Delamination area on the ski.

Some of the steel inside the ski’s core corroded, causing the top sheet to lose its bond and bubble up. This corrosion was most likely accelerated by salt, which is often used in late-season ski races to keep the snow from softening in the intense sunlight. The salt and water must have made their way into the ski’s core during the 2011 race. It then had almost 24 months for the corrosion to occur. With the issue identified, it was time to plan a repair. The clock was ticking.

I had a cartridge of WEST SYSTEM Six10 Epoxy Adhesive in my repair kit, and I thought that this would work for the application. I rounded up acetone, pipe cleaner, mixing stick, mixing cup, small flathead screwdriver, paper towel, gloves, safety glasses, wax paper, wood blocks, and a C clamp to complete the repair. My plan was to attempt to salvage the top sheet and re-bond it to the ski’s core. This is the procedure I followed:

Step 1: I gouged out the corroded metal from the bubbled-up top sheet. I was careful not to damage the top sheet because then I’d need to repair that as well. I used a shop vac to help suck the metal shavings out of the hole in the ski. Once all the corroded metal was removed, I blew out the void in the ski with compressed air.

Step 2: I used a pipe cleaner and acetone to clean out both the inside of the ski’s top sheet and the ski’s core to aid bonding.

Step 3: Once the area was dry, I mixed a small amount of Six10 adhesive and brushed it into the void on all surfaces with another pipe cleaner. I then used the plastic mix stick to fill in the void as much as possible. This probably added more epoxy than was needed, but it was such a small area that I wasn’t too concerned with waste when it squeezed out. I was more concerned that the repair was robust.

Step 4: I applied wax paper to the skis so that the epoxy wouldn’t get anywhere that I didn’t want it to, and then I clamped the ski as shown in the photo.

The ski repair, clamped and curing at 68°F

The ski repair, clamped and curing at 68°F

Step 5: I allowed the epoxy to cure for 24 hours before removing the clamp.

The repair seemed to be sound, and time was of the essence, so I prepped the skis for racing by hot waxing them with the race wax. I was concerned that adding heat to the ski this quickly after curing might compromise the repair. To my delight, everything held fine. Hurdle number one, cleared.
Now the ski had to hold up to the stresses, vibration, and temperature of a 38 second, 60+ mph run down an icy ski hill. The ending to this story is a happy one. The repair passed its first trial with flying colors. No ill effects were observed in the ski’s performance, and following the race run I inspected the repair. It looked like just as it had when I removed the clamp earlier that week. If you’re at all interested in the race, the skis allowed me to complete the race run in 37.99 seconds, hit a top speed of 66.1 MPH as recorded on GPS, and win my age class by 0.5 seconds (a significant margin in ski racing).

A timeline of the events:

• 3/19/13 (6 pm) – Discovered ski delamination
• 3/19/13 (8 pm) – Ski repair complete, epoxy clamped and curing
• 3/20/13 (7pm) – Hot wax skis for race day
• 3/24/13 (1pm) – Race

Ski repair complete, ready for wax, and then the race.

Ski repair complete, ready for wax, and then the race.

For this repair, time really was everything!