Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

Borate Salt Treats Decayed Wood

By Tom Pawlak

Sodium borate is used in a number of commonly used household products from laundry detergent to hand soap. It is also used to treat wood against insect and fungal attack. Sodium borate is refined from borax, a natural mineral, which is mined throughout the world. One of the largest deposits is in the Southwestern United States. (Think 20-Mule Team Borax™, Death Valley Days radio and TV shows).
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Pot repair with epoxy

One-Shot Pot Repair

By Tom Pawlak

My wife Mary and I recently went to the local building center to purchase a large planter pot for our patio. After we had agreed on a nice large terra-cotta beauty, I noticed another large pot that had a serious crack. I asked the associate for a price on it, knowing it would be easy to repair with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy. He said I would be doing him a favor if I took it away. So we came home with two pots for the price of one. Continue reading

Practical uses for razor blades

Practical Uses for Razor Blades

By Tom Pawlak

Necessity is the mother of invention, and razor blades are often called into service for a variety of tasks around the shop other than shaving. Here are a few.

MINI-SPREADER

Razor blades can be used in a pinch to apply caulks and thickened epoxies with great precision. They do a great job filling isolated pinholes and scratches, especially when the blade is laid at a low angle (nearly flat) when spreading the putty. Continue reading

Improved Mold Strongbacks

By Tom Pawlak

Back in the 1980s, Gougeon Brothers was one of the largest producers of wind turbine blades in the US. The blades were built of wood veneer and epoxy, and varied in length from 10′ to 70′. They were built in halves and vacuum laminated in female molds built with WEST SYSTEM® Brand Epoxy. Tolerances were tight, and every aspect of the tooling was critical, from molding to assembly. If something wasn’t right when the two halves were glued together, there wasn’t much you could do to make it right later. Continue reading

WEST SYSTEM Epoxy vs. Polyester for Fiberglass Boat Repair

By Tom Pawlak

Even though we’ve been promoting the use of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy for repairing fiberglass boats (boats made with polyester resin) in our manuals and Epoxyworks for many years, we continue to receive inquiries asking whether it is appropriate to use epoxy for polyester boat repair. Because of the misinformation still prevalent in marinas, local yacht clubs and on the Internet, we felt it was time to restate the case for epoxy. Continue reading

Woods of the World Adhesion Testing

By Tom Pawlak

We recently purchased a 154-piece wood sampler from Eisenbrand Inc., Torrance, California. The 3″ × 6″ × ½” specimens originated from points all around the world. Each specimen was provided with its common name, scientific name, and country of origin. There were several specimens we’ve never heard of.

The PATTI test uses compressed air to pull the stud from the surface. It records the force required to break the bond in pounds per square inch. In all cases tested, the epoxy held and the wood failed. Continue reading

Chopped Strand Mat

Chopped Strand Mat and Epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

Chopped strand mat, in fabric form, is sold on the roll and in small folded packages. It is made up of 1″-2″ long fiberglass strands that are randomly oriented and typically held together with a styrene-soluble binder that acts like glue connecting the fibers. The binder is designed to dissolve upon contact with styrene in polyester resin or vinylester resin. Once dissolved, the fabric softens, allowing it to drape around curved shapes. It comes in a variety Continue reading

Epoxy Adhesion Over Stains

By Tom Pawlak

We have occasionally reported results of adhesion testing of WEST SYSTEM® epoxy to wood coated with various stains. In Varnish Over Epoxy (Epoxyworks 18), we touched on the topic of wood stains under epoxy and warned that some oil-based stains would cause an adhesion problem for WEST SYSTEM epoxy. Since then, we have done some additional adhesion testing to a number of stains. Continue reading