Saturday, July 27, 2013

confessions of an epoxy expert...

Kinda interesting, a lake at the top of the world, and some great boat friendly music from one of my favorite cover blogs...

One day, way back when I was building our first Loose Moose, a Phil Bolger Jessie Cooper design, I woke up and came to the realization that I'd somehow become something of an epoxy guru within the boatbuilders' cooperative at the old Charles de Gaulle airport outside of Paris where we were building our boat... All of a sudden I was "Epoxy Bob".

This state-of-affairs had both a good and a bad side... On the plus side, it showed that within the confines of the hanger that I'd become a real part of the cooperative in spite of my horrible French (comme une vache espagnole) accent and the crazy ass American boat design I was building. On the other hand, the downside was the fact that anytime anyone had problems with epoxy, polyester, or things of a composite nature my fellow boatbuilders, would expect me to solve their problems and, lord knows, they had a LOT of problems!

I also found I'd often gather an audience when I was doing some mundane task like making fillets or glassing with an "ooh" and "ahhh" chorus which could be quite unsettling some of the time...

So, of course, the big question you're all asking yourselves is how did this melon farmer become an epoxy slinging rockstar and might I shed some light on the arcane and mysterious art of goops that stick stuff together.

Sure, why not. The answer to your question is simply read the product information and instructions. Not exactly earth shattering is it?

That said, actually following the instructions will solve 99% of the problems people have with the use of epoxy for boatbuilding purposes. Simple as that.

Of course, once you actually realize how awesome epoxy and composites are for boatbuilding you want to learn more and I did avail myself of everything I could find out there to be able to improve... The Gougeon Brothers still awesome book, The System Three teeny tiny but oh-so-useful "Epoxy Book", and various articles over the years in Woodenboat Magazine all added to my knowledge base.

The thing is, I may actually know more than most about epoxy where boatbuilding and repair are concerned but I certainly don't know anywhere near what I'd like to know so I'm still reading everything I can find about how to do it all better.

Which brings me to the reason I just bought Russel Brown's new book "Epoxy Basics: Working with Epoxy Cleanly & Efficiently"... because it will make me a better boatbuilder. Chances are, if you read it it will improve your boatbuilding as well.

Enough said... Well actually, my advice is you still have to read the instructions that come with your epoxy too.

Listening to Kassav'

So it goes...