Tag Archives: Tom Pawlak

Repairing Individual Gelcoat Blisters

By Tom Pawlak

Gelcoat blisters can be a serious problem if left unattended. At some point, your hull may need extensive repair, including gelcoat removal and epoxy barrier coats as described in Gelcoat Blisters: Diagnosis, Repair & Prevention. However, if you have isolated blisters and a manageable number to repair individually, we often recommend that you patch individual blisters and continue to use the boat until you determine the cause and extent of the problem. Continue reading

SCHEHERAZADE

By Tom Pawlak

On a break from the Maine Boatbuilders Show in March, we visited Hodgdon Yachts, Inc. and found significant progress on their latest build, a 155′ Bruce King designed wood/epoxy ketch, named Scheherazade. This is Hodgdon Yachts’ largest wood/epoxy vessel to date. The project is roughly 60% larger than Antonisa, the 124′ sailing yacht they launched last year.

Scheherazade is being built in Hodgdon’s new 20,000 square foot facility located at the water’s edge in East Boothbay, Maine. A project this size would not have been possible in Continue reading

Bonding to Corian™ and Wilsonart™ Laminates

By Tom Pawlak

We recently did adhesion testing to Corian and Wilsonart surfaces with WEST SYSTEM 105 Resin and 206 Hardener at the request of a composite panel manufacturer. Corian and Wilsonart are mineral filled acrylic panels that look like granite and are often used as countertop material in kitchens and offices. Cabinetmakers and contractors typically use the panels in ½” thickness for residential applications. They are quite heavy, though not nearly as heavy as actual granite. Corian and Wilsonart are similar solid surfaces in that they can both be cut with conventional tools, then wet sanded and polished to a nice shine if they are damaged during installation. They are also available in thinner forms alone, or laminated over Continue reading

Plastic Boat Repairs

By Tom Pawlak

Editor’s note: this article was written in 2000, years before we formulated G/Flex 655 epoxy which has superior performance with plastics. The basic plastic boat repair methods described here still represent best practices, but for optimal results use these methods with G/flex 655 epoxy on plastics.

Molded plastic canoes and kayaks are incredibly tough and durable. Occasionally though people damage them and call us for repair recommendations. Considering that plastic film is often used as a mold release for epoxy, you can see what we’re up against when we try to bond to it. Continue reading

Varnish over epoxy

Testing House Paint Primers

By Tom Pawlak

Gougeon Brothers, Inc. regularly engages in testing to support those who use our epoxy in architectural applications, both in new construction and repairs. In the past, we have tested the compatibility of house paint primers over WEST SYSTEM® epoxy and found that a variety of primers worked well. Latex primers especially performed well when applied over cured epoxy, even when the epoxy was marginally prepared prior to painting (Epoxyworks 7, Spring 1996).

Our goal in a recent series of tests was to identify primer paints that worked successfully over WEST SYSTEM epoxy with minimal surface preparation. Specifically, Continue reading

Mold Release, PVA and Hairspray

By Tom Pawlak

PVA (polyvinyl alcohol) is a water-based liquid plastic that can be applied to waxed molds to prevent molded parts from sticking. PVA is not always required. Often laminators rely solely on mold release wax to create a surface contaminant on the mold that allows parts to be removed. However, on complicated molds and on new molds, when the risk of sticking a part in a mold is greatest, PVA can be applied over a waxed mold to minimize the chance of sticking a part.

PVA can be applied by brush, paint roller or with spray equipment. PVA often leaves a texture on the surface of the mold after it dries. This texture is duplicated or molded into the Continue reading

Porch Railing Coating Analysis

By Tom Pawlak

My porch railing at home was badly in need of painting even though I had painted it the summer before. After just one Michigan winter, the paint had cracked and lifted. I wondered to myself if coating the top rail with WEST SYSTEM® epoxy would improve this poor situation and decided to turn the top rail into a small R & D project. Continue reading

Sandpaper Tricks for Random Orbital Sanders

By Tom Pawlak

I recently ran out of sandpaper for my 5″ diameter random orbital sander, and needed only a few more sanding disks to finish the project. While my sander is equipped for the hook-and-loop style sanding disks, I had only PSA (pressure sensitive adhesive) style sanding disks. These did not stick well to the pad on the sander, and within a minute or two they would fly off, leaving me frustrated. I finished my project by gluing the PSA disks to worn out hook-and-loop disks with contact cement. This actually worked quite well. Continue reading

Rudder Repair

By Tom Pawlak

A typical spade rudder for sailboats is made up of two fiberglass skins that define the shape of the rudder, a metal mandrel that is an extension of the rudder post, and foam core which bridges the space between the skins and mandrel. In order for a rudder like this to work properly, its fiberglass skins must be attached to the core and the core must be attached to the metal mandrel. Side loads on a rudder exert compression loads on the core which transfer into the mandrel. If the components become detached, the rudder can deflect excessively and eventually develop cracks in the fiberglass skins. Continue reading