Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

Goblet Rx

By Tom Pawlak

Vern, a good friend of mine, turned the exterior of a wooden goblet made from a nice piece of spalted sycamore. Unfortunately, the blank was not as dry as he thought and it cracked along one edge as it sat uncovered on his lathe overnight. He called to see if there was anything available for gluing it back together. I said I had some ideas and asked him to drop it off at work so I could take a stab at the repair. Continue reading

Improve Wooden Paddles with G/flex

By Tom Pawlak

G/flex epoxies weren’t developed with coating in mind, but early on in applications testing we discovered they were excellent at dealing with impact. This became evident when we used G/flex 650 (the unthickened version) as a coating and when we used G/flex 655 (the thickened version) as a protective buildup.

G/flex 650 is not optimized for use as a coating, but we found it was worth the extra effort it takes to apply to wooden parts that might get dented in service, such as wooden canoe paddles and boat oars. As a coating, G/flex deflects without cracking when the wood beneath it gets dented. Continue reading

Smaller Can Be Better

Tips for mixing small batches of epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

My favorite way to mix small batches of WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy, when less than full pump strokes on the mini pumps are required, is by metering resin and hardener into a graduated cylinder made with a plastic syringe. The 807 Plastic Syringes, in our product line, can be modified for this by cutting off the end of the syringe body so it looks like the end of a clear piece of plastic tubing.

For the 5:1 mix ratio needed for 105 Resin and 205 Fast Hardener or 206 Slow Hardener, you’ll need to measure ¼” back from the cut off end of the syringe body and make an Continue reading

Mother of Invention

Spring-loaded wire cutters

By Tom Pawlak

In 2011, our Technical Advisors Bruce Niederer and Don Gutzmer were packing tools for a trip to Mystic Seaport where they would once again provide guidance and instruction to families participating in the WoodenBoat Show’s Family Boatbuilding event. They recalled from the previous summer that spring loaded wire cutters were very helpful for removing the twisted copper wire used to temporarily hold stitch and glue boats together after the joints cured. Unfortunately, none of the spring loaded wire cutters could be found.

We took a pair of conventional wire cutters (no spring attached) that we had on hand Continue reading

Let’s Start Off Simple

An easy-to-build clipboard

By Tom Pawlak

Epoxyworks #36, Spring 2014

Cover Photos: Our special issue on building features practical and simple techniques.

Building a natural finish wood-strip canoe can be exciting and a bit daunting, particularly if it is your first clear finish canoe. You’ll commit time and money to the project and your expectations may run high. Most people are happy with the results of their first strip composite project, but deep down they wish some aspect of it was a bit better. Continue reading

Auto Body Repairs with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

Ten years ago the rear fender on my son John’s 1991 Honda Accord was damaged just forward of the wheel. It had been repaired at a local body shop, but four months later the same fender was rusting. I took it back to the body shop. The manager apologized and agreed to redo the job, but said there wasn’t much metal for his technicians to work with because the car had rusted significantly prior to the accident. He couldn’t guarantee that it wouldn’t rust again.

I asked him if he would consider painting both rear fenders in exchange for me rebuilding the problem fender, and he agreed. I planned to rebuild the fender myself with epoxy, and also rebuild the rusted fender on other side. I knew I’d be able to do a much better job with WEST SYSTEM Epoxy and fiberglass than with the polyester-based putties the auto body repair shop had used. Continue reading

Building a Custom Stained Glass Mold with G/5

By Tom Pawlak

A few years back Mary, my better half, suggested I make a stained glass lamp for our den at home. There are molds commercially available for making glass lampshades. They hold glass pieces in position in the desired curved shape until the soldering process is complete. Unfortunately, the shape I wanted was not available. I wanted something similar in size and shape to the fabric-covered lamp shade in the den. In the end, I decided to make a custom mold. Continue reading

Quick Fix for a Damaged Table Saw Ripping Fence

By Tom Pawlak

25 years of use (some might say abuse) had taken its toll on the heavy aluminum rip fence on our Delta Rockwell 12″–14″ Tilting Arbor Saw. Deep saw kerf grooves on the face of the fence had become a hazard because wood occasionally got hung up on it when ripping stock.Over a few months, each time I used the saw I thought about how it could be repaired. While the plan was still developing in my head, more than once I clamped a flat piece of plywood to the ripping fence face to temporarily create the smooth surface that I needed. Continue reading

A G/flex Modified Snow Shovel

By Tom Pawlak

This winter (2011) in Bay City, Michigan, we’ve seen a couple big snow falls and lots of small ones with 1″ to 2″ of accumulation. Not enough snow to bother breaking out the snow blower, so I usually shovel it by hand. About 10 years ago I fell in love with the plastic snow shovels that are lightweight and the snow slides off of them easily compared to the metal snow shovels that are heavy and snow clings to stubbornly.

My problem with plastic shovels is they wear out after one or two seasons at best because my driveway is made of fiber reinforced concrete. It is like a huge piece of 80-grit sandpaper waiting to devour my plastic shovels. Continue reading

Sassafras 16 Family Build Weekend

by Grace Ombry

Epoxyworks 31

Cover Photo: Semi-finished Sassafras 16 canoes on display at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport.

WEST SYSTEM®, Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) and nine family groups joined forces at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut this June to build nine Sassafras 16 kit canoes. With only a blue and white striped rental tent to shield them from the unseasonably hot weather in Mystic that weekend, everyone labored hard to get their boats a long way toward completion in just three short days. Continue reading