While most of our customers are successful when using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to repair damaged fiberglass, we have become familiar with some common mistakes that are easily preventable. These mistakes are made by both professionals and amateurs. The information discussed in this article is available in our Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual and WEST SYSTEM User Manual, and on the WEST SYSTEM website.
A typical fiberglass repair in cross section.
This diagram illustrates how we recommend laminating a repair after the damaged Continue reading →
When most epoxies are exposed to the atmosphere (especially cold and damp conditions) a secondary chemical reaction can occur at the surface of the epoxy, leaving a waxy looking by-product called amine blush. This water-soluble film appears only at the end of the cure cycle, and never at all when WEST SYSTEM® 207 Special Clear Hardener is used.
Much ado is sometimes made regarding blush, but the reality is, it’s easily avoided and easy to remove. Continue reading →
The amount of wood used in a production fiberglass boat is significant; it is used for many things such as stringers, bulkheads, floors, and backers. Higher quality production boats often use marine grade plywood for these applications but it can still be damaged by long-term exposure to water. Continue reading →
Many of our EPOXYWORKS articles feature projects that our customers have spent years building and represent major personal accomplishments. I also believe we have many customers who, like me, use WEST SYSTEM Epoxy simply to keep an older boat in good repair.
The following are examples of repairs and small projects that I have completed on my personal boat over the last ten years. These would apply to many production fiberglass boats. Since WEST SYSTEM Epoxy has a shelf life measured in years, it is easy to keep it on your shelf and tackle these tasks when it’s convenient. Continue reading →
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.
Bill Wood has been making sculpture since high school. He has a degree in Art from Ottawa University, Ottawa, Kansas and attended the Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, Missouri. His work has been featured in shows from Connecticut to Key West and as far west as Topeka Kansas. Continue reading →
All of the boat builders that I know have little tricks that make a job go faster or do it better. Fairing a 40′ custom-built hull is an arduous task which is often accomplished with two-man teams and fairing boards. We do 90% of the work with a grinding device. Almost everyone in the business will agree that a grinder will remove a substantial amount of material quickly. The trick is controlling that removal.Continue reading →
This article is Lesson 2 of a series. See bottom of page for links to additional articles in this series.—Ed.
With our strip-planked hull faired and the outside stem attached, there are many techniques that could turn these strips into a boat.
Strip-planking may have been the first step after the dugout in the evolution of boatbuilding techniques; the way the quality of wood is going, it might be the last to survive. At the La Routa Maya canoe race in Belize, SA., we saw a natural progression from chopping canoes out of logs to strip-plank construction with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. Continue reading →
Boat builders or advanced hobbyists often want to learn more about the characteristics of the fiberglass laminate they’ve just created. But sending samples to a professional testing laboratory can be expensive and impractical. Fortunately, there are some tests you can do in the shop that yield reasonably accurate results.
Before you begin to test laminates in your own shop, it’s important to understand the difference between shop tests and standardized tests. Many organizations such ASTM, ISO, or UL provide established test procedures defining a specific test method. These may specify things like sample preparation methods, equipment and acceptable environmental conditions. These standards allow the test to be repeated by different people at different locations all over the world. Continue reading →
The Technical Staff at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. regularly discuss material properties in a variety of applications. For example, it is not uncommon for us to discuss with a customer how to use carbon fiber to stiffen a structure, such as the shaft of a kayak paddle, and then within minutes discuss with another how to bond a dimensionally unstable wood, such as oak, and ensure precautions are taken so that the relative movement of the wood will not cause a failure.
For the kayak paddle, the customer’s concern is that the epoxy will allow the stiff carbon fiber fabric to be as rigid as possible. For bonding the unstable wood, the Continue reading →