Category Archives: Techniques & Tips

Epoxy Compression Test in Progress

Determining Epoxy’s Physical Properties

BY MIKE BARNARD

In this article I’ll describe our standards for testing epoxy and how we test epoxy to determine its handling characteristics and cured physical properties.

Testing Standards
These are the standards we follow no matter which epoxy we are characterizing.

Two-week room temperature cure
After proper metering and thorough mixing epoxy will continue to cure after it has solidified, until all amines have paired up. Over years of testing we have found that two weeks of curing at room temperature, which we define as 72°F (22°C), is a good indication of its full strength. Continue reading

Letters to the Editor – White Oak

By Bruce Niederer

We consider ourselves students as well as tech advisors and so are always open to learning something from others. Our readers are generally pretty savvy people, and when they take the time to write us a thoughtful letter, we feel compelled to share what we learn from them with the rest of our readers.

My article, White Oak Redux (Epoxyworks 34) generated two responses we wanted to share. The letters, along with my replies, follow. 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.

Continue reading

Bubble-Free Coating

By Mike Barnard & Don Gutzmer

WEST SYSTEM® epoxy has long been a popular choice for clear coating table tops. It works great as a buildup coat and a moisture barrier. It also showcases the beauty of wood grain and fiber weaves. Formulated with boat building in mind, WEST SYSTEM epoxy is not intended as a final finish coating. You may find it a bit more difficult to achieve a perfect surface with epoxy than with a coating formulated specifically for final finishing, such as varnish.

However, WEST SYSTEM offers some distinct advantages. It builds up quickly: a single coat of 105 Epoxy Resin® with 207 Special Clear Hardener® offers about four times the thickness of a typical coat of polyurethane varnish. WEST SYSTEM epoxy is also an excellent moisture barrier, stabilizing the surface so your final finish coat will look beautiful longer. Continue reading

Adhesive Bonded Structures

By Jeff Wright

Fiberglass reinforced plastic and other composites influence the design of many products manufactured today. Boat hulls, sports equipment and airplanes can easily take new, complex shapes when composites are used in place of traditional materials. Reinforcing structures also benefit from the versatility of composite materials when prefabricated components are bonded with a high-strength adhesive. This article will discuss some of the engineering aspects to consider when designing or repairing an adhesively bonded composite structure. Continue reading

White Oak Redux

White Oak Redux

By Bruce Niederer and Bill Bertelsen

Building stuff, especially boats, with wood is much like a religious calling; once you hear the call, there’s no turning back. Those who’ve heard the call will not suffer fools willingly, so when I decided to conduct some white oak adhesion and shear testing and report the results in Epoxyworks 31, skeptics and believers alike took to the internet wooden boat forums-and had no problem speaking their minds! Having healed from the pummeling I took in some quarters, I’m back again to report the promised follow-up test results. Continue reading

New Repair Kits

New for 2012, WEST SYSTEM is offering three specialized boat repair kits designed with the do-it-yourselfer in mind. Each contains the right materials and instructions for making lasting repairs and retails for around $30 at your local stocking WEST SYSTEM dealer. Continue reading

Sanding

Sanding Tricks of the Trade

BY DAMIAN MCLAUGHLIN

All of the boat builders that I know have little tricks that make a job go faster or do it better. Fairing a 40′ custom-built hull is an arduous task which is often accomplished with two-man teams and fairing boards. We do 90% of the work with a grinding device. Almost everyone in the business will agree that a grinder will remove a substantial amount of material quickly. The trick is controlling that removal. Continue reading

Shop Floor Testing Methods

Shop Floor Testing

By Jeff Wright

Boat builders or advanced hobbyists often want to learn more about the characteristics of the fiberglass laminate they’ve just created. But sending samples to a professional testing laboratory can be expensive and impractical. Fortunately, there are some tests you can do in the shop that yield reasonably accurate results.

Before you begin to test laminates in your own shop, it’s important to understand the difference between shop tests and standardized tests. Many organizations such ASTM, ISO, or UL provide established test procedures defining a specific test method. These may specify things like sample preparation methods, equipment and acceptable environmental conditions. These standards allow the test to be repeated by different people at different locations all over the world.
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Sassafras 16 Family Build Weekend

by Grace Ombry
Epoxyworks 31

Cover Photo: Semi-finished Sassafras 16 canoes on display at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport.

WEST SYSTEM®, Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) and nine family groups joined forces at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut this June to build nine Sassafras 16 kit canoes. With only a blue and white striped rental tent to shield them from the unseasonably hot weather in Mystic that weekend, everyone labored hard to get their boats a long way toward completion in just three short days. Continue reading