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 →
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 →
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 →
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 →
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.
A typical fiberglass repair in cross section.
This diagram illustrates how we recommend laminating a repair after the damaged Continue reading →
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 →
Many times each day we get questions about sticking to various substrates. Most questions are on something that we have already tested, so we check our large database and advise on how best adhere to the surface. Other times the request is unique and we are unsure if WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy will stick to it or not. In the event we do not have any experience bonding to a material, we recommend testing adhesion. Many times this means gluing a wood block to the surface, then pulling the Continue reading →
We spend a good amount of time doing everything we can to inform our customers how best to make WEST SYSTEM® epoxy stick to wood, metal, and even plastic, or underwater with the introduction of G/flex 650 and 655. Still, there are many instances when you don’t want the epoxy to stick to one surface or another.
While WEST SYSTEM® epoxy has a long shelf life, age will eventually affect its handling characteristics and cured strength. When stored for very long periods, hardeners may turn darker (reddish to purple), become thicker and give off more odor. 105 Resin may lose some clarity and also become slightly thicker. Use extra care when mixing age-thickened products (stir extra thoroughly), and don’t use old epoxy if color or clarity is crucial to your project. Continue reading →
In this article I’ll describe our standards for testing epoxy and how we test epoxy to determine its handling characteristics and cured physical properties.
Testing Standards These are the standards we follow no matter which epoxy we are characterizing.
Two-week room temperature cure After proper metering and thorough mixing epoxy will continue to cure after it has solidified, until all amines have paired up. Over years of testing we have found that two weeks of curing at room temperature, which we define as 72°F (22°C), is a good indication of its full strength.Continue reading →