We consider ourselves students as well as tech advisors and so are always open to learning something from others. Our readers are generally pretty savvy people, and when they take the time to write us a thoughtful letter, we feel compelled to share what we learn from them with the rest of our readers.
Building stuff, especially boats, with wood is much like a religious calling; once you hear the call, there’s no turning back. Those who’ve heard the call will not suffer fools willingly, so when I decided to conduct some white oak adhesion and shear testing and report the results in Epoxyworks 31, skeptics and believers alike took to the internet wooden boat forums-and had no problem speaking their minds! Having healed from the pummeling I took in some quarters, I’m back again to report the promised follow-up test results. Continue reading →
People have been building boats using white oak for centuries, sacrificing blood, sweat and tears to engineer wonderful and enduring vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Oak was often used because of its desirable properties and behavior. It is dense, strong, rot resistant, holds fasteners well and can be steam bent. In the days before glues and adhesives, oak planking was used because it would swell considerably which resulted in tight and sound hulls, meaning little leaking and dry interiors. Of course, time marches inexorably forward and eventually builders began using adhesives to augment or, in some cases, replace mechanical fasteners.
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 →
There are those who still question the longevity of an epoxy composite structure. They state that the technology is still too new to know how it will hold up long-term. Some have said that epoxy composites fail in the tropic heat; other critics have warned of the hazards of wood and fresh water. However, I’ve recently visited several boats that are living testimony to the long-term reliability of epoxy composites. Of course, careful construction and good Continue reading →
Dean Wolfe of Manchester, California constructed this spiral staircase of red oak and black walnut.
This unique spiral staircase was designed and built by Dean Wolfe of Manchester, California. Dean used WEST SYSTEM® 105 Resin with either 205 Fast or 206 Slow Hardener, depending on the time need to assemble a part. 403 Microfibers was the adhesive filler for all bonding operations. Continue reading →
This article about epoxy and oak was originally published in early 1995, and is shared at Epoxyworks.com for historical purposes. A dozen years after this article was written, we developed G/flex epoxies, which are rubber toughened to withstand shock, vibration, expansion and contraction. G/flex epoxies adhere tenaciously to many difficult to bond substrates, including dense and oily wood species like oak. Continue reading →