Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

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

Preparing a fiberglass laminate

A Better Way to Prepare Laminates

By Tom Pawlak

During a recent inspirational hardware store visit, I discovered a rotary wire brush made by Norton™ called the Rapid Strip Brush™. It is used with an electric drill and produces results comparable to bead blasting or a needle scaler. The package says it can be used to abrade metal, masonry and fiberglass. I immediately thought of a fiberglass application that I wanted to try it on. Continue reading

Furniture Repair with G/5

By Tom Pawlak
I recently broke the leg off an old workshop table. The tabletop was made of particleboard covered with Formica®. The screws holding the leg in place had pulled out and taken chunks of particleboard with them (The problem).

I was desperate to use the table later in the day so G/5 Five-Minute Adhesive seemed perfect for the repair. This is a good method for repairing inexpensive particleboard or fiberboard furniture: Continue reading

Testing DCPD Blend Laminates

By Tom Pawlak

Gougeon Brothers recently did R&D testing for a manufacturer who wanted to know if WEST SYSTEM® epoxy could effectively repair injection-molded parts made with fiberglass and dicyclopentadiene (DCPD) blended polyester resin that included an internal mold release. The hoods and decks for many jet skis and snowmobiles are made with this material.

DCPD blends in polyester cause it to cure rapidly and cross-link thoroughly. This feature helps to reduce emissions from the resin but makes it difficult to repair Continue reading

G/5 Adhesive Tips

By Tom Pawlak

Many of us at Gougeon Brothers experiment with WEST SYSTEM® products on personal projects at home as well as at work. We often push products and techniques beyond the limits recommended in our literature. Sometimes the experiment fails, sometimes we discover something very useful. Continue reading

Protective skin creams-do they affect adhesion to the surfaces we touch?

By Tom Pawlak

We recently completed adhesion testing for a boatbuilder who was concerned about surfaces being contaminated by workers who use protective skin creams. The builder wanted to be sure that residue from the protective creams did not contaminate objects touched by workers throughout the day. We tested five products: Derma Shield™, Gloves in a Bottle™, Unique Skin™, SBS 46 Protective Cream™ and SBS 40 Medicated Skin Cream™. Continue reading

Scraper

Scrapers—Versatile Tools for Working with Epoxy

By Tom Pawlak

My first experience with cabinet scrapers occurred shortly after hiring into Gougeon Brothers. Bill Slaby, a wood/epoxy technician who specialized in mold building, routinely used cabinet scrapers to remove irregularities on cured epoxy coatings. I was intrigued with how quickly he could smooth up the epoxy with his scraper and particularly how he could get the epoxy to come off the surface in a continuous thin ribbon similar to wood shavings from a sharp wood plane. Bill was passionate about the benefits of scrapers and felt they were seriously underrated tools. He liked the absolute control you have in removing epoxy Continue reading

fiberglass tub and shower repair

Fiberglass Tub and Shower Repair

By Tom Pawlak

Construction of fiberglass tubs and showers uses methods and materials similar to those for building fiberglass boats. Gelcoat is applied to a mold and allowed to cure. Then chopped fiberglass and polyester resin are applied over the gelcoat and worked into the surface. To create a stiff and strong fiberglass tub or shower enclosure, the laminator uses a grooved roller to compact the fibers against the gelcoat. The quality and strength of the laminate depends on Continue reading