When I told my brother that I was going to build a boat he asked me, “Why?” I didn’t discover the answer until after the project was completed.
I work in the Operations Department at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. and have been here 12 years making WEST SYSTEM® products: epoxy resin, hardeners, fillers, packaging fiberglass etc. But I’d really never used it on a big project. The company has always been involved in boats and boatbuilding, so I figured a boat project of my own would provide me with some ‘how to’ epoxy experience.
I could envision my two young daughters rowing a boat their dad built, but I had to convince my wife. I like to fish and so do my girls, so a good fishing skiff couldn’t hurt. “Think of all the fish fries,” I told my skeptical wife. Continue reading →
Many WEST SYSTEM® customers appreciate the benefits of cored composite construction. They understand that it creates a part that is lightweight, strong, and stiff. We often receive calls from these customers inquiring about using a composite panel when building or repairing something that would normally be made of plywood. Such projects may include a new center console for a fishing boat or the replacement of flying bridge side shields. Determining the best material requires consideration of many aspects of the project, but often comes down to cost versus weight. Continue reading →
One of the most widely chosen materials for boat building projects is plywood. It is easy to work with, it is relatively inexpensive, and many kits and plans are specifically designed for plywood construction. Often times a fiberglass skin is laminated over the outside of the hull, primarily to provide some abrasion resistance, but also to add a measure of stiffness, because we all know stiffer is faster! And herein lies the downside: Fiberglass and epoxy add weight to the boat. How does one resolve this contradiction of strength versus weight? Continue reading →
Bruce’s law: The amount of time and effort required to complete an unexpected boat repair is exponentially proportional to how soon you planned on launching.
I am sure I am not alone in this observation. Such was the case this spring as my father and I prepared Triple Threat, our 30′ Pearson Flyer, for another season of racing. I knew the bow floor boards, made of marine plywood and falling apart, would need to go. I had started to build replacements over the winter using foam core, fiberglass and epoxy. But when I climbed aboard and removed the old ones, Bruce’s law kicked in big time. Continue reading →