Tag Archives: Bruce Niederer

Triple Threat, 38 years old and counting

A case study in remediating gelcoat blisters

By Bruce Niederer

My father, rest his soul, and I bought Triple Threat together sometime in the mid-’80s. We raced our ’81 Pearson Flyer hard together for the next 15 or so years, including 12 Port Huron to Mac races. The purchase date is lost to history, but the details surrounding how many times the boat needed a new bottom—meaning a new epoxy barrier coat—are forever etched in my psyche. It’s all the sanding that accompanies repairing gelcoat blisters that has addled my IPA soaked cranium. One just doesn’t forget those seemingly endless hours of self-imposed torture. Continue reading

epoxy forums

Online Forums are the Bane of my Existence

An Epic Rant

By Bruce Niederer

Online Forums are the Bane of my Existence—
An Epic Rant

My humorous take on the Social Media disasters called Technical Forums

By Bruce Niederer, Senior Technical Advisor/Chemist

I’ve answered a lot of phone calls and e-mails in my 23 years here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. Many of the questions are repetitive—that’s the nature of helping customers both new and old to be successful. Some are interesting—a few are downright fascinating. But I know it’s gonna be one of those calls when the first thing I hear is “I was reading in this forum last night about…”

DOH! (I try not to slap my forehead loud enough to be heard on my headset.) Continue reading

railroad crane installation

Railroad Repair

By Bruce Niederer

“It takes a lot to laugh, it takes a train to cry…”—Bob Dylan

I received a call out of the blue from an old sailboat racing friend, Gary Plezia, who is now the owner and founder of Southern National Track (SNT) which he began after leaving Conrail in 1996. SNT is a regional railroad company based in Florida certified and licensed in the southeastern United States from Texas east to South Carolina. SNT specializes in building and maintaining railroad tracks and complex switches, track beds, gradings and drainage, crossings, signals and platforms as well as crane rails for ports and industrial clients. Continue reading

penetrating epoxy sample blocks

Penetrating epoxy: legend or myth?

By Bruce Niederer

I’m fast approaching my 22nd year of working here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. From my first day on the job, I have lived the controversy surrounding penetrating epoxies vs. high-solids epoxies in general and WEST SYSTEM® Epoxy in particular. I have met with the formulator and founder of a popular brand of penetrating epoxy and talked to him many times over the years. He is a nice fellow and passionate about his product, but in the end we had to agree to disagree. Continue reading

Stayin’ Awake at Daryl’s House

By Bruce Niederer

To stay awake at Daryl’s house requires a lot of caffeine—it must if the Box  o’ Coffee idea he came up with is any indication. Epoxyworks readers may recall his riveting article in issue 40 Dirt Bike Loading Ramp. Daryl is talented, imaginative and loves to build stuff with carbon fiber.

Inspiration hit him one day after buying a Box o’ Coffee from Tim Horton’s® on his way to teach a motorcycle safety class to aspiring scootertrash. Disappointed that the Tim Horton’s coffee didn’t stay warm very long, he salvaged the Mylar® bag with its built-in cap and built his own insulated box. Continue reading

My First Cadillac

Restoring a 1954 Cadillac Runabout

By Bruce Niederer

One never really knows when the Fickle Finger of Fate will be pointing in your direction, but it sure did one day early last fall in 2015 at my brother’s shop—Nelson Niederer Woodworking in Bay City’s south end.

One day out of the blue a young man walks into the shop and relates a story about an old boat he found in his grandpa’s barn. He knew he wouldn’t really have the money nor the time and expertise to restore the boat. Nonetheless, he would hate to see it forgotten and disintegrating. Nelson told him to bring it by and he’d take a look. What he brought back was an extremely rare 1954 Cadillac 14′ Runabout—in great condition! Cold molded, no frames. Mahogany veneer hull construction with a mahogany planked deck. The seat cushions and bimini top in good shape. No rot in the hull— only a little on the ends of the splash rails. Continue reading

Azek® PVC Deck Boards

An option in boat construction or repair?

By Bruce Niederer

Wood has always been used in fiberglass boat construction, in stringers and oftentimes as core in high compression areas such as under cleats, stanchions and winches. Wood works great in these applications but we all know that the big problem with wood is the fact that it rots if it gets wet. Here at Gougeon Brothers, Inc. (GBI) we have spent long hours writing manuals and training people to use proper techniques using epoxy to keep wood dry and strong. Continue reading

LUV N IT

Van Dam Custom Boats – Part Two

EW-42 LG cover

Cover Photo: Nokomis, the sister ship to LUV N IT. Photo by Michel Berryer.

By Bruce Niederer

In the previous issue of Epoxyworks, we looked at the start up process employed by the craftsmen at Van Dam Custom Boats as they built LUV N IT, affectionately referred to as the Limousine in Van Dam Custom Boats-Part One. We ended our “tour” of this build with the hull stained and pre-coated with WEST SYSTEM® 105 Resin/207 Special Clear Hardener, and the custom-built stainless steel cutwater being fitted for installation.

Let’s pick up the build with the cabin top being installed…
Continue reading

Hog Tide Project

By Bruce Niederer

Last summer we partnered with Sail Magazine to produce a series of short videos showing how to repair an older J22 I had arranged to be brought into the Tech shop. The boat, named Hog Tide, needed the types of repairs we wanted to cover. The videos can be found at both westsystem.com and sailmagazine.com. Continue reading

rolling the limosine

Van Dam Custom Boats – Part One

By Bruce Niederer

In this issue, I begin a two-part series that will feature a custom boat project being built by Van Dam Custom Boats in Boyne City, Michigan. We featured a Van Dam-built boat in Epoxyworks 14, the beautiful and unique Alpha Z. We want to give our readers a glimpse into what is currently happening at this world-class boat shop. Continue reading