Category Archives: Shop Tricks

Using Google SketchUp to Design a New Cooler

By Jeff Wright

My personal boat is a 1986 Formula 242 LS.With a soft riding deep V hull, good performance and a small but well appointed cuddy cabin, it is a great boat for me, my wife and our dog to use for a whole weekend. One shortcoming, besides not having standing headroom in the cabin, is the built-in cooler located in the cuddy cabin. The cooler had a side door and was styled to look like a refrigerator. This may have looked “cool” in the mid 1980s but was impractical. We couldn’t put ice in the cooler without having the water leak out through the door. For any trip longer than one night I had to use a standard cooler strapped to the swim platform. This was inconvenient and limited the use of the platform at the beach. Continue reading

Marquetry Made Easy

By Al Witham

There is a simple way for those of us who may be “artistically challenged” to produce inlaid furniture, jewelry boxes, canoe decks, trays, etc. with a modest investment in equipment and materials, in a reasonable period of time, and with eye-pleasing results. I have no formal training in making inlays, but have found a method which works for me. I showed this method to a friend who is a shop teacher; he now has students as young as ten incorporating it into their school projects with excellent results. My method is adaptable, user-friendly within limits and forgiving of minor cutting errors. Even novices can produce great looking marquetry. Continue reading

Building Composite Tubes

With WEST SYSTEM and braided fibers

By Captain J.R. Watson

Tubes are used on boats for hard tops, T-tops, Biminis, dodgers, bows, bow and stern pulpits, rails, canoe and kayak paddle shafts, boat hooks, and so on. Composite tubes built with epoxy and reinforcing fibers offer advantages over metal in terms of light weight, custom shapes and sizes, and corrosion resistance. Composite tubes can be faired and painted to produce a seamless appearance to match the boat, or left to show the carbon fiber. I’ve been experimenting with approaches to building a variety of composite tubes. Following are some things I’ve tried (some that worked and some that did not) that you may find of value if you want to produce composite tubes yourself. Continue reading

How to Build a Set of Planer Boards

By J.R. Watson

Planer boards allow for more fishing lines to be trolled simultaneously and are used to spread lures and harnesses away from the boat when trolling at low speeds (below 2 knots). They are commonly used when fishing for walleye. You can achieve a greater dimensional spread with planer boards than with outriggers. Continue reading

Improved Mold Strongbacks

By Tom Pawlak

Back in the 1980s, Gougeon Brothers was one of the largest producers of wind turbine blades in the US. The blades were built of wood veneer and epoxy, and varied in length from 10′ to 70′. They were built in halves and vacuum laminated in female molds built with WEST SYSTEM® Brand Epoxy. Tolerances were tight, and every aspect of the tooling was critical, from molding to assembly. If something wasn’t right when the two halves were glued together, there wasn’t much you could do to make it right later. Continue reading

Staudacher Strongbacks

By Brian Knight

Jon Staudacher, of Staudacher Hydroplanes and Aircraft, has been using a long, very flat, work table/strongback that is mounted on casters. The table was originally 32′ long, but because of space considerations, Jon has since shortened it to 20′ (Photo 1). Four rubber casters support it, one at each corner (Photo 2). Continue reading

Projects/Tips from the Shop of Jon Staudacher

By Brian Knight

Over the years, we have featured some of Jon Staudacher’s more innovative projects and ideas. From his extreme house, to race boats, to aerobatic airplanes, to a gate at the end of his driveway, to something as simple as a paint roller brake, Jon has always sought the simplest method to build his projects. Jon’s latest project is no exception.

Continue reading

Bonding Fasteners in High-Density Urethane Foam

By Bruce Niederer

Many of our readers who are familiar with WEST SYSTEM® Brand epoxy products for building and repair already know the benefits of fastener bonding techniques. WEST SYSTEM® epoxy has been used in other industries for many years as well, and these folks apply knowledge and techniques developed in the marine and aerospace industries in their work. A good example is the sign industry, a huge industry in the U.S. with companies ranging from mom & pop garage operations to multimillion-dollar corporations. Continue reading

G/5 Adhesive Tips

By Tom Pawlak

Many of us at Gougeon Brothers experiment with WEST SYSTEM® products on personal projects at home as well as at work. We often push products and techniques beyond the limits recommended in our literature. Sometimes the experiment fails, sometimes we discover something very useful. Continue reading