My article, White Oak Redux (Epoxyworks 34), generated two responses we wanted to share. We consider ourselves students as well as tech advisors and so we’re 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. Continue reading →
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 →
The John Williams Boat Co. (JWC) on Mt. Desert Island, Maine, recently a set of iakos for the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hôkûle’a, built and maintained for the Polynesian Voyaging Society. We sailors sometimes think of ourselves as adventurers and explorers, self-sufficient and capable of handling the vagaries of wind and weather. But our view of voyaging includes refrigeration to keep the food and drink cold, sail handling and navigation systems to make sailing easy and safe, and a good dry, comfortable boat so we remain content while sailing to the ends of our own personal world. When we compare that to the skills and equipment of early voyagers, it can be almost embarrassing. 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.
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 →