Category Archives: Materials Testing

Azek® PVC Deck Boards

An option in boat construction or repair?

By Bruce Niederer

Wood has always been used in fiberglass boat construction, in stringers and oftentimes as core in high compression areas such as under cleats, stanchions and winches. Wood works great in these applications but we all know that the big problem with wood is the fact that it rots if it gets wet. Here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. (GBI) we have spent long hours writing manuals and training people to use proper techniques using epoxy to keep wood dry and strong. Continue reading

Warm Temperature Bonding

by Don Gutzmer

During warm summer months, handling characteristics of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy will be different than at other times of the year. Our cure times are based on an ambient temperature of 72°F, but in warmer temperatures the epoxy will cure faster. There are some steps you can take to ensure good results when using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy in warm environments. Continue reading

Applying Polyester Gelcoat over Epoxy

by Mike Barnard

Andy Miller has a great understanding of WEST SYSTEM Epoxy, having used it for years as owner and chief repairman of Miller Boatworks in Herbster, Wisconsin. Andy also maintains BoatworksToday.com, a website featuring instructional boat repair videos. Having watched, verified and referred people to the videos on Andy’s website over the last few years, I know that Andy knows his stuff. What’s even better is that, when he’s unsure about a detail, he contacts us for the right answers. This gives me a lot of confidence in the methods featured in the videos at the Boatworks Today website. Continue reading

Controlling Exotherm

By Mike Barnard

When mixing larger batches of resin and hardener, pot life— or the amount of time that elapses before the epoxy hardens in the container—is very important. You need to estimate how much mixed epoxy you will use in a certain amount of time. Variables that affect this calculation include temperature, volume, surface area, hardener speed, the insulating quality of the substrate the epoxy is exposed to, and any fillers used.  Continue reading

Bottom Fairing Adagio

By Greg Bull

Most seasoned sailors would agree that a clean bottom leads to faster sailing. Sometimes it may be necessary to do more than scrub away the algae and zebra mussels, though. In the case of Adagio, 44 years of sailing was starting to ripple the bottom of the boat. Simply put, it was time to fair the bottom. While fairing the bottom of your boat may seem beyond your reach, it is a project that novices and experienced boaters alike can accomplish with a few simple tools and a love of a little manual labor. The first step that I took to fair the bottom of Adagio was to get the main hull tipped up on an angle to make working on it easier. On most Continue reading

Repairing an Edison Concert Phonograph

By Tom Pawlak

Ronnie Janowicz, a good friend of mine, called to say the wooden horn on his antique Edison Concert phonograph was cracked. I had Ronnie bring it by so I could take a look.

I told him it could be repaired very nicely with epoxy if that is what he wanted to do. “Why wouldn’t I want it repaired that way?” he asked. I explained that repairing an antique with epoxy may affect its resale value if the potential purchaser objects to the repair. Some collectors take a dim view of wooden antiques being repaired with epoxy Continue reading

Common Errors in Fiberglass Repair

By Jeff Wright

While most of our customers are successful when using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy to repair damaged fiberglass, we have become familiar with some common mistakes that are easily preventable. These mistakes are made by both professionals and amateurs. The information discussed in this article is available in our Fiberglass Boat Repair Manual and WEST SYSTEM User Manual, and on the WEST SYSTEM website.


Typical Repair

fiberglass repair

A typical fiberglass repair in cross section.

This diagram illustrates how we recommend laminating a repair after the damaged Continue reading

Goblet Rx

By Tom Pawlak

Turned wooden goblet. The cracks are filled with G/flex 650 and black pigment.

Turned wooden goblet. The cracks are filled with G/flex 650 and black pigment.

Vern, a good friend of mine, turned the exterior of a wooden goblet made from a nice piece of spalted sycamore. Unfortunately the blank was not as dry as he thought and it cracked along one edge as it sat uncovered on his lathe overnight. He called to see if there was anything available for gluing it back together. I said I had some ideas and asked him to drop it off at work so I could take a stab at the repair. Continue reading

Advantages of 879 Release Fabric

Mike Barnard

When most epoxies are exposed to the atmosphere (especially cold and damp conditions) a secondary chemical reaction can occur at the surface of the epoxy, leaving a waxy looking by-product called amine blush. This water-soluble film appears only at the end of the cure cycle, and never at all when WEST SYSTEM® 207 Special Clear Hardener is used.

Much ado is sometimes made regarding blush, but the reality is, it’s easily avoided and easy to remove. Continue reading

Smaller Can Be Better

Tips for mixing small batches of epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

My favorite way to mix small batches of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy, when less than full pump strokes on the mini pumps are required, is by metering resin and hardener into a graduated cylinder made with a plastic syringe. The 807 Plastic Syringes, in our product line, can be modified for this by cutting off the end of the syringe body so it looks like the end of a clear piece of plastic tubing.

For the 5:1 mix ratio needed for 105 Resin and 205 Fast Hardener or 206 Slow Hardener, you’ll need to measure ¼” back from the cut off end of the syringe body and make an Continue reading