Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

Wooden Window Repair

Wooden Window Repair

By Tom Pawlak

Wooden windows frequently become weathered and develop rot due to their constant exposure to the elements. Often times repairing a wood window is much faster, cheaper and more aesthetically pleasing than replacing it. Over the years we’ve been contacted by architects in search of instructions on how to repair this kind of damage using WEST SYSTEM Epoxy. The following method is what we share with them to restore weathered wooden sills, sashes and trim:
• Remove all the paint in the affected areas. Continue reading

Tom's canoe hanging in the tech shop

Refinishing a Wood Strip Canoe

By Tom Pawlak

About 30 years ago, I built an 18′ wood strip canoe. At the time, my family was young and I could only work on it intermittently. Over the course of six months, I had faired my mold frames, applied the redwood strips, faired the outside of the hull with a keen eye and applied the fiberglass cloth. Two months later I decided to take it off the mold to fair and fiberglass the inside. To my horror, the exterior hull bottom had a big dimple in the middle when removed from the forms. I immediately knew the cause. The humidity in my garage had skyrocketed since the outside of the hull was finished with fiberglass and epoxy. The unsealed inside of the hull had probably gained 4-5% in moisture content since the outside was fiberglassed. Continue reading

faster, neater fillets

Faster, Neater Fillets

By Tom Pawlak

When creating lots of epoxy fillets, a faster way to apply the thickened epoxy is with an 810 Fillable Caulking Tube. It takes a bit of time to transfer the epoxy into the tube, but it is wonderfully efficient for applying epoxy to the joints. Compared to other application methods, it’s also less messy. Continue reading

large wooden vessel repair

Large Wooden Vessel Repair

By Tom Pawlak

In the spring of 2016, several US Coast Guard vessel inspection officers from the east coast attended our 2-day Professional Fiberglass Boat Repair Workshop. Afterward, they asked if we would consider creating a document that they could hand out to commercial boat owners, captains and vessel reps that would provide guidelines for proper use of WEST SYSTEM products for repairing and maintaining larger wooden vessels subject to Coast Guard inspections. They were having an increasingly difficult time because a number of commercial boat operators were repairing their own vessels using techniques that caused concern. The reasons given for using these questionable procedures vary from trying to save some money to the short supply of qualified wooden vessel shipwrights who could complete work in a reasonable amount of time. To make their case that their repairs were appropriate, some operators handed the Coast Guard Inspection Officers the WEST SYSTEM Wooden Boat Restoration & Repair manual. Unfortunately, some were cherry picking information and techniques intended for repairing smaller recreational wooden craft, and not following all of the recommended procedures for avoiding problems. Continue reading

modified 808 spreader filleting tool

Bonding with Fillets

By Tom Pawlak

Gluing plywood structures together with epoxy fillets saves considerable time constructing the joints and reduces overall weight of the structure compared to more traditional methods using wooden cleats and screws. The strength and gap-filling qualities of epoxy eliminate the need for precisely fitted wood cleats that otherwise require time and skill to create. When gluing with conventional adhesives, that are non-gap filling such as resorcinol glue, wood cleats need to be well fitted, need to be wide enough to provide sufficient glued surface area and provide enough thickness for screws to be driven into. Building with epoxy fillets is especially beneficial when attaching bulkheads to hull sides, attaching hull sides to hull bottoms where the faces of the plywood are coming together at ever-changing angles. Continue reading

Big Red Gets His Smile Back

By Tom Pawlak

My neighbor Rollie is always coming up with these unbelievable deals along the highway between his home in Bay City, Michigan, and his cabin a couple hours north. The latest super deal was a big red garden tractor that was mechanically in near perfect working order—except the previous owner ran it into something and busted up the grille. He brought it over and asked if it could be fixed. Heres how we repaired “Big Red.” Continue reading

Hog Tide Project

By Bruce Niederer

Last summer we partnered with Sail Magazine to produce a series of short videos showing how to repair an older J22 I had arranged to be brought into the Tech shop. The boat, named Hog Tide, needed the types of repairs we wanted to cover. The videos can be found at both westsystem.com and sailmagazine.com. Continue reading

Techniques for Fiberglassing Overhead

By Tom Pawlak

The prospect of having to fiberglass the bottom of a hull can be a bit ominous. Any type of overhead work can be frustrating, but the thought of trying to hold fiberglass in place while applying epoxy can produce nightmares for some people. This is especially true if you will be working alone. Continue reading

Big Jon Needs a Little Help

By Tom Pawlak

Big Jon (BJ) serves as a reel for retrieving and letting line attached to floating planer boards in and out from a boat while trolling. Planer boards are used to get fishing lures off to the side of the hull so the lures aren’t following directly behind the boat while trolling for walleye. The further the planer board is reeled out, the further the lures are from the side of the hull. BJ has served Tom and Lorraine Klinski well but recently developed some cracks in what appears to be a black nylon plastic. Continue reading