People have been building boats using white oak for centuries, sacrificing blood, sweat and tears to engineer wonderful and enduring vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Oak was often used because of its desirable properties and behavior. It is dense, strong, rot resistant, holds fasteners well and can be steam bent. In the days before glues and adhesives, oak planking was used because it would swell considerably which resulted in tight and sound hulls, meaning little leaking and dry interiors. Of course, time marches inexorably forward and eventually builders began using adhesives to augment or, in some cases, replace mechanical fasteners.
Gougeon Brothers, Inc. has supported our local tallships—Appledore IV and Appledore V—since they arrived at their downtown Bay City facilities on the Saginaw River. These steel-hulled, gaff-rigged schooners are typical of the type that sailed the Great Lakes and coastal waters right up to the end of the age of sail. Schooners were the primary means of transporting goods and people over long distances. Continue reading →
There are those who believe sailing fast means advanced composites with high-tech fibers, exotic cores and plenty of cash. Very few think of wood when they think of fast, but before carbon fiber, before Kevlar™…there was wood.
I’m not talking about those great big lumbering tall ships or schooners. I’m talking about the pioneers of boatbuilding and fast sailboat racing. Men of vision who saw wood not just as planks and large hunks of trees to be bolted together, but as an engineering fiber. Men like Walter Greene, Jim Brown, Continue reading →
Just by luck, I was in the right place at the right time to purchase an old upright bass from the local school system for $50 because, sadly, the orchestra (stringed instruments) program was being discontinued. The bass needed strings and a new peg but was in decent shape—until I got my hands on it! As it was standing in the corner of my room patiently waiting for me to get to it, a gust of wind got there first, knocking it down and breaking the neck at the heel. Continue reading →
I get mad at my computer fairly often these days when it takes more than a few seconds to open a file from an obscure site on the other side of the planet. Who has that kind of time to waste? Don’t even ask about photo files. There’s no point in arguing about it—we live in an accelerated world. We hate waiting for anything. Putting the social implications of this aside, a business involved in technical applications and products cannot afford to wait for real time field test results. We need data and we need it yesterday!
The focus of this article on accelerated testing will be how we test the ability of a coating applied in a relatively thin film to resist water transmission. This test is called Moisture Exclusion Effectiveness (MEE). It is based on a method developed by the 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 →
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 →
Many of our readers who are familiar with WEST SYSTEM® Brand epoxy products for building and repair already know the benefits of fastener bonding techniques. WEST SYSTEM® epoxy has been used in other industries for many years as well, and these folks apply knowledge and techniques developed in the marine and aerospace industries in their work. A good example is the sign industry, a huge industry in the U.S. with companies ranging from mom & pop garage operations to multimillion-dollar corporations. Continue reading →
We often get asked ‘What can I use to color my epoxy?’ The intended application is as varied as our customers. Often it’s simply to make it easier to paint over or to provide a color indicator between layers. Sometimes it’s to match a particular colored material in a repair. Maybe it’s for an art or craft project. The point is, people are often looking for a color other than the black 423 Graphite, 501 White or 503 Gray Pigments offered in the WEST SYSTEM® product line. What are some options? And what are the pigment’s effects on the performance of the epoxy? Continue reading →
This racing season onboard Triple Threat has been filled with the usual mix of tedium, laughs, and excitement. It’s a good thing when the exciting part is due to close racing and fast downwind surfing-it’s a bad thing if the excitement occurs when the foredeck crew nearly goes overboard because the deck is wet and the non-skid has the texture of a slip n’ slide! I’m happy to report no instances of skidding off the foredeck this year, as there had been in years past, because this year the non-skid was brand new. Continue reading →