In midwinter, Grant purchased a portable barbecue and would, by summer, need some kind of weather-resistant grill table to support it. The table was to be located in an old English garden setting. I agreed to build Grant as an example of high-quality, all-weather construction using treated lumber and WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy.
I used lost foam construction to fabricate a fiberglass air scoop for my son’s Formula Continental C race car. Our project started because a modification to the shape of the race car body necessitated the construction of a new air scoop. The air scoop is bolted to the car body so if either the air scoop or the body is damaged (a very likely scenario), the repair will be simpler. To fabricate the scoop, I made a Styrofoam male mold, surrounded the mold with fiberglass, and then dissolved the Styrofoam to leave a hollow part. I used Styrofoam to build the male mold for several reasons. It is readily available at most lumberyards, it is easy to shape with files and sandpaper, and it is easy to dissolve with lacquer thinner.
My wife gave me the basic guidelines for a planter box she wanted me to build. First, keep it cheap. Second, she wanted an “L” shape. Third, she provided some rough dimensions. The design was up to me. Logic seems to abandon me when I design something, and this project was no exception. A nice, straightforward box with square corners should have been the default. But after some doodling on paper, I decided to build a planter with flared sides and rounded corners. Continue reading →
Above: This strongback table is used to assemble airplane wings in John Staudacher’s shop. It must not twist or sag.
Jon Staudacher, of Staudacher Hydroplanes and Aircraft, has been using a long, very flat, work table/strongback that is mounted on casters. The table was originally 32′ long, but because of space considerations, Jon has since shortened it to 20′ (Photo 1, at top). Four rubber casters support it, one at each corner (Photo 2, below). Continue reading →
Above: Shown upside down, the base of Jon Staudacher’s trailer is a series of plywood torsion boxes, doubling as storage compartments. The depth of the boxes makes a very lightweight, rigid structure.
Over the years, we have featured some of Jon Staudacher’s more innovative projects and ideas. From his extreme house, to race boats, to aerobatic airplanes, to a gate at the end of his driveway, to something as simple as a paint roller brake, Jon has always sought the simplest method to build his projects. Jon’s latest project is no exception.
Above: Surface treatment can make all the difference in epoxy adhesion to metal. Photo by Manny Becerra on Unsplash
We have performed tens of thousands of adhesion tests over the years and many of these tests were done on metal surfaces. Below is a summary of tests done on a variety of metal surfaces and done with a variety of surface preparations. As you look at the chart, notice the surface preparation that gives the highest number.
Above: Brian’s western red cedar and epoxy fence still looks beautiful despite constant exposure to harsh Michigan weather.
Every now and then it is good to look back at an epoxy project to see how it has held up over several years. Above is a photo of the western red cedar fence I built in the summer of 1998 (as it looks today) and below, the fence as it looked during and just after construction five years ago. This fence uses no nails, screws, bolts, etc. to hold it together. Only WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy holds the spindles to the rails and the rails to the posts. Continue reading →
Above: Bob was installing a basketball goal with threaded rod and needed to know how much tension the rods would hold.
Bob Warters: I am installing a basketball goal in my driveway. My pole has a 10″ diameter flange on the bottom (9″ bolt hole diameter) with six holes for ½” anchors. I intend to use ½” stainless allthread (threaded rod) for the anchor bolts. If I drill 9/16″ holes in the concrete 3½” deep and use your system to fix the threaded rod to the concrete, how much tension would you estimate the rods would hold? The concrete is about a year old, it’s 4″ thick and has ½” rebar on one foot centers. Continue reading →
Above: The final version of the test Brian devised to determine the holding power of bolts epoxy bonded into concrete. When the load cell registered 4000 lbs, he stopped the experiment.
The email exchange with Bob Warters in the article Installing a basketball goal is typical of the process we sometimes go through to answer a technical question. Most questions do not generate laboratory testing, but, in this case, the data we had available was limited. I was able to give Bob some shear strength data on concrete block from previous tests but was unable to find specific data on fasteners bonded with epoxy into poured concrete. I suspected poured concrete would hold a bolt better, but another data point would be reassuring. Continue reading →
Above: Sanding the bonding surface is important to good adhesion with epoxy.
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness,” the old expression goes. This is certainly true when preparing a surface for an epoxy application. The surface has to be clean to begin with or there may be adhesion problems. But often, our good intentions with respect to cleaning a surface result in contaminates deposited on the surface. Below are some potential surface contaminates, ways to avoid them, and an almost foolproof method to determine if a surface is clean or contaminated. Continue reading →