Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

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

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