Cover photo: THE ANIMAL alongside one of Jon Staudacher’s other projects, an acrobatic airplane. Photo by Avram Golden.
My good friend and previous employer, Jon Staudacher, always surprises me with how he designs and builds his projects. Jon creates everything from hydroplanes to airplanes using materials and methods that are logical and practical. He would say he treats most of the things he builds like a science project, experimenting with new concepts in design and materials, and continually learning new things. I will explain some of Jon’s unique approaches to a few of his recent projects. Continue reading →
At Gougeon Brothers Inc., customer service and support are paramount. Throughout the decades (five strong and counting), we’ve built our WEST SYSTEM® product line on a model that places customer satisfaction at the forefront. Many WEST SYSTEM users know first-hand that we strive for customer success no matter the project. Our customers’ projects range across an extremely wide spectrum. What many users may not know is the extent of product support that grinds away behind the scenes before a batch of our epoxy even hits the retail shelves. I’ll provide a look at just one of our churning gears that isn’t so obvious at first glance-quality control (QC). Continue reading →
What is the difference between abrasion and impact? What materials hold up best against each of them? These questions often come up when talking about skid plates. Skid plates are a protective layer, typically on canoes and kayaks, that reinforces the areas of the hull most likely to suffer damage from abrasion and impact. Continue reading →
On June 20, 1979, while sailing in a qualifying race for the OSTAR (Original Single-Handed Transatlantic Race), Jan Gougeon’s self-designed and built 31′ trimaran FLICKA was capsized by heavy seas in the North Atlantic. Jan survived on the overturned plywood/epoxy multihull for four days before he was rescued by a passing freighter. The following is the second half of a transcript of a phone call between Jan, his brothers Meade and Joel, as well as fellow multihull designer/sailor Mike Zuteck. Their discussion takes place on June 26, 1979, just hours after the freighter that rescued Jan delivered him to dry land. Part 1 of this conversation can be found here.Continue reading →
It all started when I got a new 360-degree camera for my racecar. Mounted on the dash, it captures a really cool perspective that allows viewers to see forward, watch cars as I pass them, and to see what I’m doing (check it out at youtube.com/user/jeffmcaffer). Unfortunately, the dash produced considerable glare on the windshield. As you can see in the photo, it also had various holes and divots that were not useful in a racecar such as a coin tray, air conditioning vents, and extra switch panels. I wanted to fill those in. But how? Continue reading →
G/flex® Epoxy is the adhesive I use almost exclusively for making knives. Years ago, I found out about G/flex from other knife makers. After reading about its properties compared to standard epoxies, I realized it suited my needs just about perfectly. A marine epoxy like the WEST SYSTEM® 105 Resin system is incredibly durable and would likely outlast my lifetime on most knives. However, the “flex” is the main reason I use G/flex instead. Continue reading →
A very high percentage of boats in the U.S. are at least 30 years old. It doesn’t surprise me when a boat’s plywood components fail due to water intrusion. In my experience, the transom is the first area to rot out in most trailerable boats. That’s not to say the first thing to rot couldn’t be the cockpit floor, stringers, or motor mounts. Continue reading →
In preparation for a thorough Coast Guard inspection, we’d stripped the masts, booms, and gaffs on the schooners Appledore IV and V of paint and varnish. This revealed several small rot areas, wear, and damage. Two of the gaff jaws (also called gaff saddles) had significant damage, including cracks in the jaws themselves, probably due to hard jibes and insufficient repairs. Gaffs are the angled spars from which the sails are hung. Continue reading →
My idea for this thickened epoxy application method was borrowed from my grandfather, a notable oil painter. What I remember the most about him is how he painted. He used standard oil paints but did not use a brush. Instead, he painted with cake decorating cones and his fingers.
One day, when I was working on applying some thickened WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy, I had an epiphany: my grandfather used cake-decorating cones to “draw” with oil paints and he was very accurate with them… maybe that would work with thickened epoxy. It has about the same consistency (viscosity) as oil paints. Continue reading →
I love mammoth tusks. I love their grandeur! I love their immense size and elegant double curve. I love the beauty of mammoth ivory with its rough, stained outer texture and the creamy inside with its carbon fiber-like cross-hatching and rich colors. And I love the stories they tell of their Pleistocene past, of their cold storage in the frozen soils of the north, and of the gold miners who unearth and care for them. I especially love, of course, how mammoth ivory is brought back to life by artists and conservators. Continue reading →