When you need to repair your fiberglass boat’s balsa core but don’t have any replacement core material on hand, what can you use as an alternative? I tested some different replacement core options to see how they’d perform in flexibility and strength alongside original balsa core in a fiberglass laminate. Continue reading →
Why can’t I apply epoxy to vertical surfaces? This is a question Gougeon Technical Advisors are asked all the time. Our response? Why, sure you can! You just need to apply it in thin coats using a foam roller. I’ll provide some tips for preventing sags or runs when coating vertical surfaces, achieving a thin coat, and choosing the best hardener for your working temperature.
Nonskid surfaces may need to be replaced because they are worn down from years of use, or were removed during a deck repair. If you want to match an existing pattern, flexible molds are available for matching a production boat non-skid pattern or for use if a molded appearance is desired. Molded non-skid surfaces are often very open making them easier to clean and they have a more finished appearance (See Epoxyworks 22, “Repair Non-Skid and get Professional Results”). For applications where it is not practical to use molds, or a simple and functional non-skid surface is desired, there are some easy options. Continue reading →
Cover photo: Strings, build by Gougeon Brothers, saling on the Saginaw Bay. Epoxyworks 49, Fall 2019
I used this quick mold method in order to move the mainsail traveler cleat from the transom of Strings to put it within easy reach of the helmsmen. The part I made had to be strong enough to withstand the loads of the traveler.
A male mold was the best choice for creating the shape to put the cleat where I wanted it. I
began with Owens Corning® Foamular® 150 foam insulation, the “Pink Panther” rigid board foam sold at home improvement stores. It comes in different thicknesses and will bond easily with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to build thickness or create the desired shape. This foam is inexpensive and easily contoured with basic hand tools. I used a piece that was 2″ thick by 3″ wide and 7″ long. Continue reading →
Q. What should I wipe the surface with before applying WEST SYSTEM Epoxy?
A. Use water and paper towels.
If using a solvent, like acetone, make sure to use clean, white, non-printed paper towels—not a rag. Using printed paper towels with acetone or other solvents can make the ink rub off, contaminating the newly sanded surface. Continue reading →
After developing the Aluminum Boat Repair Kit we have had calls from customers saying they have a larger boat and cannot easily turn it over as recommended to work on the seams and rivets. They ask “will this kit still work on my boat?” The answer is, yes, it will. It will be a little messier but will work the same way upside down or right side up. Continue reading →
Hog Tide’s deck was spongy around the chainplates, so I decided to fix the core in the deck. Because the main bulkhead was being replaced, it made it easier to do the deck repair from the underside. I started by removing the inner laminate to get to the bad core. I determined the extent of the bad core by tapping on the laminate; a duller sound suggests deteriorated core. Another way of determining if the core is bad is to drill small holes to see where the bad core is by noticing if the balsa core is a dark color. Water may even drip from the drilled holes. To cut the inner laminate I used a high-speed oscillating cutter with a diamond grit blade (multitool). When cutting out the inner laminate, keep the area that is being opened up as small as possible. You can always make more cuts to make the area larger. Continue reading →
When Jan Gougeon built Strings in 2010 one of the most interesting features he included, at least from my point of view, was the masthead float. Due to its zeppelin-like shape, this is also called a blimp or a dirigible. The purpose of the float is to make the boat self-rescuing: if the boat tips, the float prevents it from going any farther than lying on its side. The mast and float are then used to right the boat. Jan developed this system when designing the Gougeon-32 back in the late ’80s, so he thought it would work for Strings. Continue reading →
Strings, as unique as the man who designed it, continues to be a work in progress for us at GBI. In Jan Gougeon’s first year of sailing Strings, he noticed the boat felt sticky at times. He thought it might be the centerboards jibing too much and the solution might be an adjustment to lock them straight. The centerboards work as jibing boards by having two high spots on each side of a centerboard head creating the pivot point to get the boards to change angle, or jibe. The actual pressure from the boat going through the water and wanting to slide sideways gets the centerboards to jibe. Continue reading →
While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom. Continue reading →