Tag Archives: Bruce Niederer

White Oak Redux

White Oak Redux

By Bruce Niederer and Bill Bertelsen

Building stuff, especially boats, with wood is much like a religious calling; once you hear the call, there’s no turning back. Those who’ve heard the call will not suffer fools willingly, so when I decided to conduct some white oak adhesion and shear testing and report the results in Epoxyworks 31, skeptics and believers alike took to the internet wooden boat forums-and had no problem speaking their minds! Having healed from the pummeling I took in some quarters, I’m back again to report the promised follow-up test results. Continue reading

Pouring 105/207 Epoxy on a Bar Top

By Bruce Niederer

I helped by brother Nelson with a different, smaller bar he built for a customer who comes from a long line of dairy men. His family has been in the business for decades. He has a little bar area in his garage where he and his buddies hang out and work on cars or watch their hunting blind videos while they have a couple beers.

Continue reading

Sassafras 16 Family Build Weekend

by Grace Ombry

Epoxyworks 31

Cover Photo: Semi-finished Sassafras 16 canoes on display at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport.

WEST SYSTEM®, Chesapeake Light Craft (CLC) and nine family groups joined forces at the 2010 WoodenBoat Show at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut this June to build nine Sassafras 16 kit canoes. With only a blue and white striped rental tent to shield them from the unseasonably hot weather in Mystic that weekend, everyone labored hard to get their boats a long way toward completion in just three short days. Continue reading

So Stands the Mighty Oak

By Bruce Niederer

People have been building boats using white oak for centuries, sacrificing blood, sweat and tears to engineer wonderful and enduring vessels of all shapes and sizes.

Oak was often used because of its desirable properties and behavior. It is dense, strong, rot resistant, holds fasteners well and can be steam bent. In the days before glues and adhesives, oak planking was used because it would swell considerably which resulted in tight and sound hulls, meaning little leaking and dry interiors. Of course, time marches inexorably forward and eventually builders began using adhesives to augment or, in some cases, replace mechanical fasteners.

We’ve been debating the issue of gluing oak ever since. Continue reading

Of Applecores and Deadeyes

By Bruce Niederer and Bill Bertelsen

Gougeon Brothers, Inc. has supported our local tallships—Appledore IV and Appledore V—since they arrived at their downtown Bay City facilities on the Saginaw River. These steel-hulled, gaff-rigged schooners are typical of the type that sailed the Great Lakes and coastal waters right up to the end of the age of sail. Schooners were the primary means of transporting goods and people over long distances. Continue reading

Pioneers of Speed

By Bruce Niederer

There are those who believe sailing fast means advanced composites with high-tech fibers, exotic cores and plenty of cash. Very few think of wood when they think of fast, but before carbon fiber, before Kevlar™…there was wood.

I’m not talking about those great big lumbering tall ships or schooners. I’m talking about the pioneers of boatbuilding and fast sailboat racing. Men of vision who saw wood not just as planks and large hunks of trees to be bolted together, but as an engineering fiber. Men like Walter Greene, Jim Brown,  Continue reading

Upright Bass Repair

By Bruce Niederer

Just by luck, I was in the right place at the right time to purchase an old upright bass from the local school system for $50 because, sadly, the orchestra (stringed instruments) program was being discontinued. The bass needed strings and a new peg but was in decent shape—until I got my hands on it! As it was standing in the corner of my room patiently waiting for me to get to it, a gust of wind got there first, knocking it down and breaking the neck at the heel. Continue reading

Moisture Exclusion Effectiveness (MEE)-comparison

Moisture Exclusion Effectiveness

By Bruce Niederer

I get mad at my computer fairly often these days when it takes more than a few seconds to open a file from an obscure site on the other side of the planet. Who has that kind of time to waste? Don’t even ask about photo files. There’s no point in arguing about it—we live in an accelerated world. We hate waiting for anything. Putting the social implications of this aside, a business involved in technical applications and products cannot afford to wait for real time field test results. We need data and we need it yesterday!

The focus of this article on accelerated testing will be how we test the ability of a coating applied in a relatively thin film to resist water transmission. This test is called Moisture Exclusion Effectiveness (MEE). It is based on a method developed by the Continue reading

Accelerated Testing: Hot Soak Moisture Uptake

By Bruce Niederer

We are constantly testing our products to fully understand and characterize them, and this is important both for ourselves and for our customers. A test method will usually produce results in a timely fashion, but there are times we must use an accelerated test method so we can get the results before we take that last lonely boat ride across the river Styx. This article describes some of the accelerated testing we do here.

WEST SYSTEM® epoxy is often used to provide a moisture barrier for applications that are in frequent or constant contact with water. In order to know how effective our epoxy is at resisting moisture, we have to be able to measure how much water it will Continue reading

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

By Bruce Niederer

Among both professionals and amateurs in the world of composites, there are certain enduring misconceptions and rumors regarding the effects of elevated temperature on an epoxy bond. Armed with just enough misinformation to be dangerous, folks will make important decisions that can lead to costly or time-consuming mistakes that might have been avoided if they had an adequate understanding of the principles that encompass epoxy structures and temperature. By defining some commonly used terms and briefly discussing issues surrounding application, we hope to dispel some of these misconceptions. Continue reading