Ten years ago, I replaced the plywood transom in my 16′ aluminum fishing boat. It had gone bad due to the motor mount screw pads crushing the wood from over-tightening, and from shock loads involved in hanging a motor off the back of a boat and traveling down the road at 70 mph. Continue reading →
Cover Photo: Steve Gembrowski spent 10 years building the Ken Basset designed RASCAL, a mahogany runabout.
Fifteen years! Not that it took 15 years to build; it was more like a year and a half. I first saw a photograph of RASCAL and decided right then, if I ever build a boat, this is the one. RASCAL was a new design by Ken Basset for a modified V-bottom 14’10” runabout with a beam of 5’4″ and hull weight of 420 pounds. For the next 15 years, RASCAL became one of those projects sitting on the back burner, waiting until I had enough time and money to comfortably build her without having to compromise on engine, equipment or material. I’m sure plenty of builders out there can relate. My first step was to set the standard to which the boat would be built. Continue reading →
In midwinter, we purchased a portable barbecue and would, by summer, need some kind of table to support it. The table was to be located in an old English garden setting. We wanted a compact, all-weather structure that could be permanently affixed just off the edge of a patio, blend into the surroundings, complement a nearby picnic table, conceal a 20 lb LP gas container, and outlast a long succession of barbecue grills.
Our table design was completed by early spring. Retired Gougeon technical advisor, Brian Knight, agreed to build it as an example of high-quality, all-weather construction using treated lumber and WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. Continue reading →
The 2006 NASA Student Launch Initiative (SLI) began for the Flying Tigers, a competitive model rocket club at Caro High School, Michigan, when we accepted the 13th place award in the 2005 Team America Rocketry Challenge at The Plains, Virginia. At that point, we had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Approximately six months, and thousands of dollars and work hours later, we enjoyed the products of our labor with a perfect flight into the blue Tennessee sky. Continue reading →
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 →
Those working on projects that use epoxy for restoration and rot repair often ask, “How long will this last? Will the rot return?” At Gougeon Brothers, Inc., we have lots of in-house test approaches that can analyze tension, compression, shear, and fatigue. We can also predict the consequences of ultra-violet, arid, tropical, and cold conditions. Still, there’s nothing like real-world performance over time. Continue reading →
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 →
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 →
“Daddy, can we build a scooter from these old pieces of wood?”
Thus began a father-daughter project with my 8-year-old that provided a learning opportunity for both of us. That weekend Mikayla had been scrounging in our spare lumber barrel and found two items that immediately suggested themselves as “scooter parts.” After examining her selections, I had to agree. One piece was a 32″-long strip of A/C grade Southern yellow pine plywood, about 5 8″ thick and 3½” wide. It was the perfect size for the “chassis.” The other piece was a stick of solid oak, ¾”×1¼”×33½”, ideal for anchoring a handle bar. Continue reading →