My article, White Oak Redux (Epoxyworks 34), generated two responses we wanted to share. We consider ourselves students as well as tech advisors and so we’re 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. Continue reading →
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 →
I helped by brother Nelson with a different, smaller custom bar he built for a customer who comes from a long line of dairymen. His family has been in the business for decades. He has a little bar area in his garage where he and his buddies hang out and work on cars or watch their hunting blind videos while they have a couple of beers.
Cover Photo: Semi-finished Family Build Weekend 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 for the Family Build Weekend 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 →
People have been building boats using white oak for centuries, sacrificing blood, sweat, and tears to engineer wonderful and enduring vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Oak was often used because of its desirable properties and behavior. It is dense, strong, rot-resistant, holds fasteners well, and can be steam bent. In the days before glues and adhesives, oak planking was used because it would swell considerably which resulted in tight and sound hulls, meaning little leaking and dry interiors. Of course, time marches inexorably forward, and eventually, builders began using adhesives to augment or, in some cases, replace mechanical fasteners.
Gougeon Brothers, Inc. has supported our local tallships—Appledore IV and Appledore V—since they arrived at their downtown Bay City facilities on the Saginaw River. These steel-hulled, gaff-rigged schooners are typical of the type that sailed the Great Lakes and coastal waters right up to the end of the age of sail. Schooners were the primary means of transporting goods and people over long distances. Continue reading →
Above: The proa Slingshot was one of the true pioneers of speed, topping out at 40 knots.
There are those who believe sailing fast means advanced composites with high-tech fibers, exotic cores, and plenty of cash. Very few think of wood when they think of fast, but before carbon fiber, before Kevlar™…there was wood. Continue reading →
Above: I brushed WEST SYSTEM® 105/206 onto both of the upright bass’s repair surfaces and fit the joint together.
Just by luck, I was in the right place at the right time to purchase an old upright bass from the local school system for $50 because, sadly, the orchestra (stringed instruments) program was being discontinued. The bass needed strings and a new peg but was in decent shape—until I got my hands on it! As it was standing in the corner of my room patiently waiting for me to get to it, a gust of wind got there first, knocking it down and breaking the neck at the heel. Continue reading →
Above: A graph of moisture exclusion effectiveness.
I get mad at my computer fairly often these days when it takes more than a few seconds to open a file from an obscure site on the other side of the planet. Who has that kind of time to waste? Don’t even ask about photo files. There’s no point in arguing about it—we live in an accelerated world. We hate waiting for anything. Putting the social implications of this aside, a business involved in technical applications and products cannot afford to wait for real-time field test results. We need data and we need it yesterday! Continue reading →
Above: Batches of epoxy samples awaiting accelerated testing in the hot water bath.
We are constantly testing our products to fully understand and characterize them, and this is important both for ourselves and for our customers. A test method will usually produce results in a timely fashion, but there are times we must use an accelerated testing method so we can get the results before we take that last lonely boat ride across the river Styx. This article describes some of the accelerated testing we do here. Continue reading →