Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

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

G/Flex Weds Wood and Glass Crystal

By Tom Pawlak

David Black is a creative boat builder, woodworker and artisan living in San Diego California. He is very familiar with all the WEST SYSTEM Epoxy resin/hardener combinations but recently has become a huge fan of G/flex Epoxy.

I love it when David calls because his projects are always interesting. He pushes the envelope of how epoxy can be used. His clients appreciate him too for his creative abilities. Do you have an idea for a new table for your mega yacht? Call David. Need a unique teak deck for your yacht that no one else will even consider installing? Call David. Need someone to design and build a one-of-a-kind interior for your new motor coach? David is your guy. If it is out of the ordinary and it tests the realm of possibility and good reason, count him in. Continue reading

Aluminum Adhesion

By Tom Pawlak

In January of 2015, we stopped offering the 860 Aluminum Etch Kit in the WEST SYSTEM product line. Before making that decision we ran a series of tests that compared bond strength of 105 Resin/206 Hardener and G/flex 650 Epoxy on aluminum surfaces prepared a variety of ways. As usual, we used the PATTI (Pneumatic Adhesion Tensile Test Instrument) to test adhesion. Continue reading

drum

Drumming In Circles

By Tom Pawlak

Epoxyworks 39

Cover Photo: A variety of drums made by Technical Advisor Tom Pawlak.

In 1991, during testimony before the United States Senate Special Committee on Aging, Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart stated:

”Typically, people gather to drum in drum ‘circles’ with others from the surrounding community. The drum circle offers equality because there is no head or tail. It includes people of all ages. The main objective is to share rhythm and get in tune with each other and themselves. To form a group consciousness. To entrain and resonate. By entrainment, I mean that a new voice, a collective voice, emerges from the group as they drum together.”

I recently joined a group of mostly old guys who meet a couple of weekends a year to experience nature and the great outdoors. We all come from a diverse cut in society yet we all get along so well. One reason is we Continue reading

Light as a Feather

By Tom Pawlak

Last Father’s Day I received a new light and sleek bicycle from my family. It is by far the nicest bike I’ve ever owned. I enjoy riding it to work in the spring, summer and fall. Because it is so nice, I decided I didn’t want to bolt on the aluminum bracket used previously over the back wheel on my old bike. The bracket had served multiple purposes. It supported my travel bag and it acted as a fender to keep road water off my back while riding. I decided I would ride with a backpack instead to reduce bulkiness and thought it would be nice to make a lightweight fender that I could snap on for those rainy days. That would allow me to remove it for longer trips and on nice weather days. 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.

Continue reading