Cover Photo: ALPHA Z is like no other boat. It’s a stepped V-bottom planing runabout designed by Michael Peters Yacht Design.
If boat building was ever in a period of renaissance, it is now. One center for the revival in exquisitely constructed yachts is Van Dam Custom Boats near Lake Charlevoix in Boyne City, Michigan. Business partners Steve and Jean Van Dam have a 23 year history of building interesting wooden craft. Although Steve is a sailor, most of their work involves powerboats, custom one-offs and restorations. They are particularly noted for the fine detail of their wood/epoxy composite boats and their willingness to experiment with materials and structures. Continue reading →
My oldest brother, Jeff, was searching for a small boat to take his kids out fishing and just messing about. Since he had more money than time, and I had more time than money, we pooled our resources. I would build two boats and he would buy the materials. We looked at numerous plans and finally found one of Harold “Dynamite” Payson’s (Phil Bolger’s design #516) Instant Boats that appealed to us. The Rubens Nymph is a beamy (4′ 6″ wide), 7′ 9″ long, double chined, rowboat. The Nymph looked easy and quick to build due to a modified stitch-n-glue technique. Continue reading →
PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a water-based liquid plastic that can be applied to waxed molds to prevent molded parts from sticking. PVA is not always required. Often laminators rely solely on mold release wax to create a surface contaminant on the mold that allows parts to be removed. However, on complicated molds and on new molds, when the risk of sticking a part in a mold is greatest, PVA can be applied over a waxed mold to minimize the chance of sticking a part. Continue reading →
To prep our 30-year-old Allied Seabreeze 35 for a paint job, we had to remove the window frames. These frames were cast aluminum and original equipment. The outer frames were thicker and had not been broken. However, once we began to remove the inner frames, it was obvious that they had been removed for previous paint jobs. The aluminum castings had been broken and repaired by simply gluing them back together with an unidentifiable filled adhesive. Continue reading →
Hopefully, you can stand one last story about El Niño. I work for Bay Metro Transit in Bay City, Michigan, and the long hot summer of 1998 was especially hard on some of our transit buses. Our 27′ buses are a front wheel drive unit, powered by a Cummins Diesel engine mounted below the driver’s seat. We were experiencing dozens of air conditioning compressor failures, along with various other problems due to the overheating. While this was happening, the manufacturer also realized it had a problem, and equipped all subsequent buses with a fan on the side engine cover of the bus that sucked the hot air out of the engine compartment, curing the problem. Continue reading →
The 124′ sailing yacht ANTONISA slipped into the waters of Linekin Bay on August 28, 1999, amid accolades to her builder, Hodgdon Yachts. The Italian owners and some 4,000 well wishers, including Maine governor Angus King, crowded into the small village of East Boothbay, Maine, for the launching. Continue reading →
Rot is one of the major disadvantages of a wooden fence. Wherever there is a fastener—nail, staple or screw—there is a potential site for rot to begin. Water gets around each fastener and soaks into the wood. When the temperature and the moisture content are right, rot invades these areas. To make a fence that would not rot quickly, I used a rot resistant wood and eliminated fasteners, gluing pieces together instead of nailing. Not only was the process fast—I could assemble 42′ of fence a day—but warps and twists in the fence material were easily dealt with. Continue reading →
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.
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 →
A stack of Bram Dally’s 12″x12″ composite panels are ready for phase one testing as Bill Bertelsen adjusts the hydromat fixture.
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 →