Category Archives: Techniques & Tips

completed skim board

Vacuum Bagging a Skim Board at MITES Competition

By Ben Gougeon and Don Gutzmer

For the past couple of years Gougeon Brothers Inc. has been involved with the Michigan Industrial and Technology Education Society (MITES). This non-profit organization consists of over 600 members involving both high school teachers and students who believe in the power of hands-on learning. The students build a project throughout the year and compete in the MITES annual regional, state and national competition.

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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. 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 because repairs are not easily reversible like they would be if hide glue was used for repair instead.

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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

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

G/Flex Keel Repair

By Don Gutzmer

Early in March of 2012, a local boat owner called our technical line and asked about repairing his cast iron wing keel with WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy. He asked if a technical advisor would be willing to take a look at the cracks on his keel and recommend the best way to repair it. After looking at the boat I gave the customer a call back and recommended using G/flex® Epoxy. The advantage of G/flex is that it is a toughened system that has a tensile elongation of more than 30 percent, which would prevent cracks from reappearing in the fairing compound. The boat owner then asked if I 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

Improve Wooden Paddles with G/flex

By Tom Pawlak

G/flex epoxies weren’t developed with coating in mind, but early on in applications testing we discovered they were excellent at dealing with impact. This became evident when we used G/flex 650 (the unthickened version) as a coating and when we used G/flex 655 (the thickened version) as a protective buildup.

G/flex 650 is not optimized for use as a coating, but we found it was worth the extra effort it takes to apply to wooden parts that might get dented in service, such as wooden canoe paddles and boat oars. As a coating, G/flex deflects without cracking when the wood beneath it gets dented. Continue reading

Small Projects and Repairs

By Jeff Wright

Many of our EPOXYWORKS articles feature projects that our customers have spent years building and represent major personal accomplishments. I also believe we have many customers who, like me, use WEST SYSTEM Epoxy simply to keep an older boat in good repair.

The following are examples of repairs and small projects that I have completed on my personal boat over the last ten years. These would apply to many production fiberglass boats. Since WEST SYSTEM Epoxy has a shelf life measured in years, it is easy to keep it on your shelf and tackle these tasks when it’s convenient. Continue reading