Winona, Minnesota—Benjamin Wooden of Edina, Minn. was named the first recipient of the Michael A. Barnard Memorial Scholarship at Winona State University (WSU). The scholarship, established by the Gougeon Employees Foundation, is designed to benefit Winona State University students majoring in Composites Materials Engineering. It emphasizes community involvement and leadership rather than grade point average. Continue reading →
The family of Employee Owners at Gougeon Brothers Incorporated lost Technical Advisor Mike Barnard, who passed away on 7/28/2017. Our customers who had the opportunity to work with Mike will know that we lost an incredibly friendly, educated, and patient young man. I had the wonderful opportunity to be Mike’s manager for over 6 years, and hoped to keep him challenged until I retired. But fate took our favorite Eagle Scout well before we should have had to say goodbye. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: WOW, a 20′ Glen-L Riviera built by Mark Bronkalla
In June of 2000, Mark Bronkalla launched his homebuilt Glen-L Riviera. The20′ runabout was nearly complete but not yet named. The boat turned heads wherever Mark took it and the reaction from bystanders was a universal “WOW.” That’s how his beautiful Glen-L Riviera got its name.
Mark had never built a boat before and found lackluster information from first-time boat builders like himself. Websites or blogs with good information tended to end once the structure was built. Mark used his background in woodworking, marketing, and computer science to share his first-time boat-building experience to encourage and help other first-time boat builders. In this article, I’ll give a brief overview of this build where WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy was used. Anyone considering a build similar to this should consult Mark’s website, bronkalla.com, for more detailed descriptions of each step. Continue reading →
There are some myths out there as to whether you can apply gelcoat over epoxy. Andy Miller addresses the issue. He has a great understanding of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy, having used it for years as owner and chief repairman of Miller Boatworks in Herbster, Wisconsin. Andy knows his stuff. What’s even better is that, when he’s unsure about a detail, he contacts us for the right answers. Continue reading →
It’s a myth that if you plan to gel coat over a repair, you must make the repair with polyester. We’ve used gel coat over epoxy for decades, shown it in our instructional videos on repairing fiberglass boats, and discussed it in past issues of Epoxyworks. Continue reading →
On January 1, 2015, we began selling a new WEST SYSTEM Epoxy pigment. We already had the 501 White Pigment and the 503 Gray Pigment, so it seemed right to introduce our new 502 Black Pigment. Just like the 501 and the 503, it alters the color of the epoxy mixture without affecting the cured physical properties. Similarly, the maximum acceptable loading is 3%. This is great for hiding a surface with a single coat of black epoxy. Adding more pigment will increase the opacity, but can skew the mix ratio because there is epoxy resin in the pigment. Continue reading →
For some sailors, there is a common maintenance ritual that occurs every spring—repairing the ballast-hull crack or cracks where the leading edge of the ballast keel meets the hull. This annually reoccurring crack is sometimes referred to as a “Catalina Smile” because it often occurs on Catalina sailboats. But we’re not here to pick on Catalinas because ballast-hull cracks are hardly exclusive to them.
The crack can form due to a number of causes but probably the most common reason is the hull isn’t as stiff as when it was new. Continue reading →
Controlling exotherm (the heat released by the chemical reaction between resin and hardener that cures epoxy) is very important, especially when mixing larger batches of resin and hardener. If not controlled, epoxy’s exothermic reaction can be dangerous.
In 2006, Boy Scouts of America created a merit badge for composite materials, and I am now a merit badge counselor for this. Scouts who are interested learning about composites to earn this will badge contact. As an Eagle Scout, I understand the work ethic and dedication each Boy Scout must have in order to achieve the Eagle Scout rank. Continue reading →
Much ado is sometimes made regarding amine blush but it’s easily avoided and easy to remove— especially if you use 879 Release Fabric.
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. Continue reading →