In the spring of 2016, several US Coast Guard vessel inspection officers from the east coast attended our 2-day Professional Fiberglass Boat Repair Workshop. Afterward, they asked if we would consider creating a document that they could hand out to commercial boat owners, captains and vessel reps that would provide guidelines for proper use of WEST SYSTEM products for repairing and maintaining larger wooden vessels subject to Coast Guard inspections. They were having an increasingly difficult time because a number of commercial boat operators were repairing their own vessels using techniques that caused concern. The reasons given for using these questionable procedures vary from trying to save some money to the short supply of qualified wooden vessel shipwrights who could complete work in a reasonable amount of time. To make their case that their repairs were appropriate, some operators handed the Coast Guard Inspection Officers the WEST SYSTEM Wooden Boat Restoration & Repair manual. Unfortunately, some were cherry picking information and techniques intended for repairing smaller recreational wooden craft, and not following all of the recommended procedures for avoiding problems. Continue reading →
The project was creating a shower pan for an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) bathroom in the home I’ve been building in Cedar Key. How does one satisfy shower pan requirements of Levy County Florida and meet ADA suggestions, too, when the floor is concrete, twelve feet above ground? Continue reading →
My neighbor Rollie is always coming up with these unbelievable deals along the highway between his home in Bay City, Michigan, and his cabin a couple hours north. The latest super deal was a big red garden tractor that was mechanically in near perfect working order—except the previous owner ran it into something and busted up the grille. He brought it over and asked if it could be fixed. Here’s how we repaired “Big Red.” Continue reading →
I have a 1996 Sea Ray 400 Express Cruiser that I purchased in April 2014. The vinyl is in excellent condition in the cockpit. However, when someone sat in the front passenger seat (45″ wide) the back looked like it wasn’t attached. I went to the Sea Ray Owners Club website to explore the repairs and a fix for the seat. I learned that if I waited until the seat back broke, the vinyl would be damaged, and it would be costly to replace. Continue reading →
Big Jon (BJ) serves as a reel for retrieving and letting line attached to floating planer boards in and out from a boat while trolling. Planer boards are used to get fishing lures off to the side of the hull so the lures aren’t following directly behind the boat while trolling for walleye. The further the planer board is reeled out, the further the lures are from the side of the hull. BJ has served Tom and Lorraine Klinski well but recently developed some cracks in what appears to be a black nylon plastic. Continue reading →
At the end of the season this year while riding in a local terrain park, I misjudged the approach to a pipe and ended up crashing the nose of my snowboard into the end of the pipe. Fortunately, I was able to ride away from the impact. Later in the day, I noticed that the nose of the board had been deformed. When I got home, I studied the damaged area closely and determined that it was not safe to ride the board in that condition. The entire nose area had become soft and flexible because much of the wood core in that area had been broken. In addition to the bent nose edge, the top sheet had cracked. Left as is, this would have allowed water to penetrate to the core of the board which would have made it unrepairable. The technicians at my local board shop told me it could be repaired but cautioned that I needed to use an epoxy that remains flexible after it cures to prevent the repair from breaking. Continue reading →
In January of 2015, we stopped offering the 860 Aluminum Etch Kit in the WEST SYSTEM product line. Before making that decision we ran a series of tests that compared bond strength of 105 Resin/206 Hardener and G/flex 650 Epoxy on aluminum surfaces prepared a variety of ways. As usual, we used the PATTI (Pneumatic Adhesion Tensile Test Instrument) to test adhesion. Continue reading →
For some sailors, there is a common maintenance ritual that occurs every spring—repairing cracks where the leading edge of the ballast keel meets the hull. This annually reoccurring crack is sometimes referred to as a “Catalina Smile” because it often occurs on Catalina sailboats.
The crack can form due to a number of causes but probably the most common reason is the hull isn’t as stiff as when it was new. Continue reading →
Ronnie Janowicz, a good friend of mine, called to say the wooden horn on his antique Edison Concert phonograph was cracked. I had Ronnie bring it by so I could take a look.
I told him it could be repaired very nicely with epoxy if that is what he wanted to do. “Why wouldn’t I want it repaired that way?” he asked. I explained that repairing an antique with epoxy may affect its resale value if the potential purchaser objects to the repair. Some collectors take a dim view of wooden antiques being repaired with epoxy because repairs are not easily reversible like they would be if hide glue was used for repair instead.