Above: Optimist prams built by the SBCSA in the Gougeon boatshop, sailing before the Liberty Bridge on the Saginaw River.
Cover Photo: A new fleet of Optimist prams was built to serve the Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association
The Saginaw Bay Community Sailing Association (SBCSA) was founded in 1995 by a group of local sailboat racers who shared a vision of a grassroots organization to provide area youngsters and adults a low-cost introduction to sailing. We began that first season with three Transfusion 547’s purchased for the association by Gougeon Brothers, Inc. (GBI) and a half dozen used Optimist prams donated by the Saginaw Bay Yacht Racing Association. Continue reading →
Above: The layout of an Optimist pram provides an example of how to go about estimating epoxy amounts.
This formula will help you estimate the amount of mixed epoxy needed to wet out fiberglass cloth (assuming a resin-to-fiber ratio of 50:50) and apply three rolled epoxy coats to fill the weave of the cloth, i.e. “fill coats.” Continue reading →
Above: Align stitch-and-glue panels with a dowel rod. The wire connecting the panel edges passes over the dowel section on the inside of the joint, clamping the panel edges to the dowel.
Here’s a tip for when you need to align stitch-and-glue panels that we heard about too late to use on the Optimist prams, but one that we can’t wait to try. The tip comes from Dan Anderson of Fairgrove, Michigan via local boatbuilding instructor John Schmude. Continue reading →
John McKibbin sent pictures of his refinished 18′ laminated canoe. He built it back in 1976 using cold-molded, that is, laminated composite construction, with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Laminating a hull is similar to making your own plywood on a three-dimensional mold. While it may take more time and effort to make a laminated hull, the results are well worth it. Continue reading →
The appeal of well-maintained, varnished wood trim on boats is hard to deny. It evokes our past and we respect the owner because of all the time and effort it takes to apply and maintain the varnish. Continue reading →
Above: The completed floating shelf, installed in Brian’s sister’s home and decorated with her colorful collection of birdhouses.
It was only after I said, “No problem” to my sister’s request for a shelf installed on the wall of her new house that she dropped the other shoe. She wanted a floating shelf that would be cantilevered from the wall with nothing visible holding it up. “Simple,” I said out loud, but I was thinking, “how the heck am I going to do this?” I decided to use hardware bonding to install the shelf. Continue reading →
Above: The shade slats on John Davis’s carport create a light and airy architectural element that will last a very long time.
These pictures show a recent project in which I put WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy to good use. The shade slats shown were attached to their notched supports by ‘blind’ nails (8D hot-dipped galvanized finishing, with the heads clipped after being driven into the notches halfway) and WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin®/209 Extra Slow Hardener applied in a two-stage manner. Continue reading →
Above: The plywood sharpie is the latest in a long line of boats that Captain James R. Watson has built over his lifetime. Here he is at age 12 with a plywood dinghy he built himself.
Building the rudder
The sharpie’s main reason for existence for over a hundred years is its fine operation in shallow water. However, the conventional sharpie rudder is notorious for causing squirrelly steering, often becoming totally ineffective when the craft heels more than 20°. Most sharpie sailors simply accept the handling aggravations of the conventional rudder in trade for its wonderful steering ability in the shallows. I decided to resolve the traditional faults in steering by installing a special rudder and steering system that has evolved and is used on some contemporary boats. This system will yield maximum control over a wide range of wind and sea conditions while retaining the sharpie’s shallow water virtues. Continue reading →
Epoxy composite tanks have been built for water, sewage, gray water, ballast, and diesel fuel since the early 1970’s. The regulatory environment has evolved within the few decades and has placed safety restrictions on various aspects of tank building, specifically potable water and gasoline. Continue reading →
Above: Marine-grade plywood basics include knowing how to select marine-grade plywood for flexibility vs. stiffness. This wing mast required plywood with some flexibility.
Since so many projects in Epoxyworks incorporate plywood, we felt it might be valuable to discuss briefly the types of marine-grade plywood and some construction methods best suited to it. It’s easy to understand why people like plywood and choose it for so many projects: it is readily available, comes in convenient sheets (typically 4’×8′), is pretty light for its stiffness and strength (1/8″ plywood weighs about 11 lb per 32 sq ft panel), and is a bargain when compared to the price of many composite panels. Continue reading →