Sodium borate is used in a number of commonly used household products from laundry detergent to hand soap. It is also used to treat wood against insect and fungal attack. Sodium borate is refined from borax, a natural mineral, which is mined throughout the world. One of the largest deposits is in the Southwestern United States. (Think 20-Mule Team Borax™, Death Valley Days radio and TV shows). Continue reading →
“Daddy, can we build a scooter from these old pieces of wood?”
Thus began a father-daughter project with my 8-year-old that provided a learning opportunity for both of us. That weekend Mikayla had been scrounging in our spare lumber barrel and found two items that immediately suggested themselves as “scooter parts.” After examining her selections, I had to agree. One piece was a 32″-long strip of A/C grade Southern yellow pine plywood, about 5 8″ thick and 3½” wide. It was the perfect size for the “chassis.” The other piece was a stick of solid oak, ¾”×1¼”×33½”, ideal for anchoring a handle bar. Continue reading →
What is the simplest way for a home builder to build a good, light hull for a catamaran or trimaran? A few years ago, we set about looking for an inexpensive way to construct a small trimaran that we had developed as a prototype. The answer we came up with was unique: to combine a fiberglass molded “pan” with plywood/glass/epoxy topsides. Continue reading →
My wife Mary and I recently went to the local building center to purchase a large planter pot for our patio. After we had agreed on a nice large terra-cotta beauty, I noticed another large pot that had a serious crack. I asked the associate for a price on it, knowing it would be easy to repair with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. He said I would be doing him a favor if I took it away. So we came home with two pots for the price of one. Continue reading →
At the end of moving day, after many large items had passed through the doorway, our house’s steel door was left with a nasty crease about a foot long. The door had a foam core. The needed repair was just a fairing application with no structural component. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Scheherazade, a 155′ Ted Fontaine-designed ketch. Image by Onne van der Wal.
Hodgdon Yachts of East Boothbay, Maine launched of the 155′ ketch, Scheherazade. Sheis a beautiful union of wood/epoxy technology, elegant design and superior craftsmanship.
You may recall from Epoxyworks 17 and 19 that Scheherazade was to be one of the largest cold molded wood/epoxy vessels ever built in the United States. Her 3½” thick hull is made of inner and outer layers of 7/8″ Douglas fir planking running fore and aft and separated by
four diagonal layers of 7/16″ western red cedar bonded with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Continue reading →
Creating lasting outdoor art has challenged humans since the dawn of time. One has only to think of the pyramids (still there), Stonehenge (mostly there), the Colossus of Rhodes (long gone), or the Easter Island monoliths (surviving, but then two heads are better than one). In more recent times, there’s Mt. Rushmore, Stone Mountain Georgia, and the Statue of Liberty. The goal is nothing less than perpetuity. But of course, outdoor sculpture needs to be done right or it won’t last. Making statues, e.g., permanent structures that look like people, is particularly difficult. Continue reading →
I used lost foam construction to fabricate a fiberglass air scoop for my son’s Formula Continental C race car. Our project started because a modification to the shape of the race car body necessitated the construction of a new air scoop. The air scoop is bolted to the car body so if either the air scoop or the body is damaged (a very likely scenario), the repair will be simpler. To fabricate the scoop, I made a Styrofoam male mold, surrounded the mold with fiberglass, and then dissolved the Styrofoam to leave a hollow part. I used Styrofoam to build Continue reading →
Here’s another use of the lost foam method to produce a custom part with a molded interior cavity. In this case, the part was a mast head fitting to hold an internal sheave and provide a route for the halyard to pass. This method can be adapted to a variety of other applications, as demonstrated in Fabricating an Airscoop. Continue reading →
Among both professionals and amateurs in the world of composites, there are certain enduring misconceptions and rumors regarding the effects of elevated temperature on an epoxy bond. Armed with just enough misinformation to be dangerous, folks will make important decisions that can lead to costly or time-consuming mistakes that might have been avoided if they had an adequate understanding of the principles that encompass epoxy structures and temperature. By defining some commonly used terms and briefly discussing issues surrounding application, we hope to dispel some of these misconceptions. Continue reading →