Category Archives: Techniques & Tips

Understanding Flexible Properties

By Jeff Wright

The Technical Staff at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. regularly discuss material properties in a variety of applications. For example, it is not uncommon for us to discuss with a customer how to use carbon fiber to stiffen a structure, such as the shaft of a kayak paddle, and then within minutes discuss with another how to bond a dimensionally unstable wood, such as oak, and ensure precautions are taken so that the relative movement of the wood will not cause a failure.

For the kayak paddle, the customer’s concern is that the epoxy will allow the stiff carbon fiber fabric to be as rigid as possible. For bonding the unstable wood, the Continue reading

Tools for Measuring Epoxy Quantities

320 Small Batch Epoxy Scale

WEST SYSTEM® recently introduced a new scale configured especially for measuring epoxy in very small amounts. The new 320 Small Batch Epoxy Scale accurately measures the correct ratio of resin and hardener for batches smaller than one 300 Mini Pump stroke. It allows for the accurate dispensing of epoxy resin and hardener in a range from 4.4 fl oz down to just a few drops of mixed product.
Continue reading

Accelerated Testing: Hot Soak Moisture Uptake

By Bruce Niederer

We are constantly testing our products to fully understand and characterize them, and this is important both for ourselves and for our customers. A test method will usually produce results in a timely fashion, but there are times we must use an accelerated test method so we can get the results before we take that last lonely boat ride across the river Styx. This article describes some of the accelerated testing we do here.

WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is often used to provide a moisture barrier for applications that are in frequent or constant contact with water. In order to know how effective our epoxy is at resisting moisture, we have to be able to measure how much water it will Continue reading

Cleaning Tools

By Glenn House

Cleaning tools used for applying epoxy often involves solvents that have strong odors and are flammable. A WEST SYSTEM® user suggested an alternative that does not have these problems: a solution of citrus-based hand cleaner and water. This solution will remove uncured epoxy from tools and can remove epoxy that has started to gel if the tools are allowed to soak for a few hours.
Continue reading

Borate Salt Treats Decayed Wood

By Tom Pawlak

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

Pot repair with epoxy

One-Shot Pot Repair

By Tom Pawlak

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

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

By Bruce Niederer

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

Comparing Cost and Weight of Flat Panels

By Jeff Wright

We compared the cost and weight of four panel types:

• Epoxy coated XL Plywood Boat Panel

• Epoxy coated Okoume Marine Plywood

• Epoxy/fiberglass/balsa cored composite

• Epoxy/fiberglass/core cell foam composite       

Many WEST SYSTEM® customers appreciate the benefits of cored composite construction. They understand that it creates a part that is lightweight, strong, and stiff. We often receive calls from these customers inquiring about using a composite panel when building or repairing something that would normally be made of plywood. Such projects may include a Continue reading

Practical uses for razor blades

Practical Uses for Razor Blades

By Tom Pawlak

Necessity is the mother of invention, and razor blades are often called into service for a variety of tasks around the shop other than shaving. Here are a few.

MINI-SPREADER

Razor blades can be used in a pinch to apply caulks and thickened epoxies with great precision. They do a great job filling isolated pinholes and scratches, especially when the blade is laid at a low angle (nearly flat) when spreading the putty. Continue reading

Effect of Surface Treatment on Adhesion to Metals

By Brian Knight

We have performed tens of thousands of adhesion tests over the years and many of these tests were done on metal surfaces. Below is a summary of tests done on a variety of metal surfaces and done with a variety of surface preparations. As you look at the chart, notice the surface preparation that gives the highest number.

All the tests shown below were performed using a PATTI (pneumatic adhesive tensile test instrument) meter. We chose this test method as our default adhesion Continue reading