Here is an inside snapshot of how the composites materials world is growing at my alma mater, Winona State University. Located in Winona, Minnesota, this university has the only accredited four-year undergraduate program for composite materials engineering in the US. Through this program, students learn the fundamentals of engineering while investigating different materials. This program challenges students both academically and creatively. Students are encouraged to ask questions and strive for a deeper understanding of why things are done the way they are done. From this, they can explore how things can be improved.
I am a designer/woodworker based in Yorkshire, England. I love using pieces of wood with interesting character. While a lot of people will avoid knotty, cracked and highly figured pieces because they can be difficult to work with, I embrace these imperfections and make them into a feature. However, it’s important to stabilize some of those features.
Embedding Aluminum Honeycomb into Epoxy
I started getting ideas about embedding high-performance aluminum honeycomb into epoxy to make more of a feature of the larger holes in timber that often need to be filled. Aluminum honeycomb is the same product that is supplied to the world’s top composites engineering, aerospace, and motorsport manufacturers.
The Klondike Derby is an annual winter camping trip held in our district (and many others across the country) for Scouts to hone their scouting skills in a winter environment. During the weekend event, Scout patrols go from station to station around our local Scout Camp, facing challenges that require them to demonstrate their skills in making a fire, navigating with a map and compass, cooking, knot-tying, and applying first aid. The Scouts must bring all their gear with them as they trek from station to station, including ropes, stoves, kindling, and hiking staves. Hence, each patrol is required to have a sled for their gear which they, as a patrol, must haul. The sled must be strong and stiff to hold the patrol gear, yet lightweight because at the end of the weekend there is a race between patrols, and the fastest sled wins.
This cherry basin is a project I did for a bathroom in our home. I turned the 17.25-inch wide basin from black cherry. The top of the cabinet is cherry as well, with a natural edge. I applied three coats of 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener epoxy to each, sanding the cured epoxy between coats. The final finish was three coats of polyurethane.
I built this 1929-design Pietenpol Air Camper in my single-car garage, with the final assembly at Pickens County Airport, LQK, South Carolina. Construction over a 6-year period used about two gallons of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. I “hammer tested” scrap wood joints after each mix had cured—wood always split, never the epoxy joint.
Some years ago I had the curious idea of cutting a dried black walnut in half on a band saw. That first look at the exposed insides of the nut grabbed me as very unusual, even surreal and not at all what I expected. I decided to seal the cut surfaces in epoxy which made them look even more unusual. I’ve made many since and love to see the reaction from people looking at them for the first time. I’ve been told they look like brain scans, polished geodes, and ink blots. Continue reading →
Winona, Minnesota—Benjamin Wooden of Edina, Minn. was named the first recipient of the Michael A. Barnard Memorial Scholarship at Winona State University (WSU). The scholarship, established by the Gougeon Employees Foundation, is designed to benefit Winona State University students majoring in Composites Materials Engineering. It emphasizes community involvement and leadership rather than grade point average. Continue reading →
There is only one solution that comes from the ache of seeing iceboats ripping around on Mona Lake all your life: give in and buy one. If the thrill doesn’t quite meet expectations, build one that will be faster.
Pat Filius has lived 20 years on a now-flooded celery flat fed by Black Creek, the main tributary of Mona Lake in Norton, Michigan. In 2014 he bought his first iceboat for $400. Sailing it just once was enough to convince him that he wanted a faster boat. Continue reading →
2018 has been a year of growth and change here at Gougeon Brothers. Our Technical Department welcomes three new staff members.
Welcome Victoria Hankins
Laboratory Technician (Photo above)
Victoria has an Associates degrees from Delta College in Mechanical Engineering Technology, Fine Arts, Liberal Arts, as well as certificates in CNC and CAD. During her schooling she was the lead lab tech at Delta College for the photography and ceramics labs, then later worked at Aptar as an Elastomeric Flow Control Expert Center intern. Continue reading →