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Old 11-21-2007
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Curious about the West Epoxy System

Does anyone know of any boats that were built using the West Epoxy System ( saturated wood laminates and glassed over ) and are over 15 years old? I'm curious to know how this construction method holds up over the years. I haven't been able to find any info. Thanks.
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You're talking about cold-molded epoxy-wood laminate construction. The techniques are very sound and the boats hold up quite well, provided they're properly maintained. If done properly, the boats are significantly stronger than regular fiberglass laminate boats for the same weight and will suffer far less fatigue. I've been on a couple, one of which was at least 20 years old... and she's as solid a boat as I've ever seen. Most of the boats I've seen built using the wood-epoxy laminate system were multihulls or very small daysailers.. no monohulls that I know of.

Many of Chris White's multihull designs are built using these techniques.

BTW, there are basically two different major wood-epoxy techniques. The first is plywood-epoxy. The smaller stitch-and-glue boats are often this design, as are the Constant Camber designs. The second is strip-molded wood-laminate. This can either be with solid wood strips, plywood strips or ContourCore balsa-hardwood laminate strips.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 11-21-2007 at 02:57 PM.
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Old 11-21-2007
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Call the WEST people. They can probably give you references to check out.

FYI -- I prefer MAS epoxy products, but that's just my contrarian nature. I used it 3 years ago as a barrier coat on the bottom and it's holding up extremely well. Easier to mix in volume than WEST and their tech support is just as good.
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Old 11-21-2007
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I've a few cedar wood strip canoes that are glass covered. the glass becomes clear when it's impregnated. West Makes a 207 hardner that has better UV protection, But it still needs to be protected by varnish or paint with UV blockers, 2 of my canoes are over 10yrs old now no probs. The only thing that will destroy epoxy is sunlight.
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Old 11-21-2007
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I am a big fan of Wood Epoxy Saturation Technique (Fondly refered to as the WEST System. In theory, it produces boats that are some of the strongest and stiffest for their weight. Pound for pound, properly engineered and constructed, WEST System is actually stronger and stiffer than steel. BUT the caviat of 'properly engineered and constructed' is a big one.

Maintenance is about like a fiberglass boat except that you don't have worry about blisters and in theory you don't have to worry about deck coring problems.

I have seen a number of 13 to 20 (or more) year old WEST System boats and have actually gone to survey on one. Most have held up extremely well. Which brings me to the one that I actually went to survey on. This was a 18 year old Farr 38 that had been raced very hard, was of dubious build quality, and which may have had a very hard grounding.

In any event, there appeared to be significant delamination of the planking in the area on either side of the keel. The surveyor and I concluded that it would have been a difficult repair requiring the boat to have been thoroughly dried out and then the veneers reattached some how.

A couple things that were significant and in WEST Systems favor was that there was no signs of rot even though this was in a damp area near the keel. Also even with the delamination, there were no obvious signs of flexure or leaking.

I did not proceed with the purchase of that boat and the owner apparently was able to make the repairs in a comparatively short period of time selling the boat with a survey that no longer found signs of delamination.

I looked at a WEST System built Farr 1104 that was actually a little older and had similar hard use but which was completely sound.

I would like to echo what Sailor Mitch said about MAS. I also prefer MAS Epoxy to WEST because of the lack of amine blush and reduced alergens.

Jeff
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Mitch did you use the "thin" mas formula when you did the bottom? How far (deeply) did you sand it? I want to do the same thing this year. Or just use interlux 2000
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Denise-

If you're planning on barrier coating your boat, I would use the Interlux Interprotect 2000. Get four gallons, two of white, two of grey, and then coat with a layer of grey, a layer of white, a layer of grey and finish with a layer of white. That should give you good coverage and make coating the areas with the stands fairly easy.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by deniseO30 View Post
Mitch did you use the "thin" mas formula when you did the bottom? How far (deeply) did you sand it? I want to do the same thing this year. Or just use interlux 2000
MAS has a paper on their website about barrier coating (or at least they did back then) and I followed that process. I also called and talked to them with some other questions I had at the time. They are quite helpful.

The first coat is their regular, "thin" if you will, resin. The other coats are the thicker Flag resin. That was how they said to do it. I put 6 coats on in all (2 more than they recommended at the time -- don't ask me why I did the 2 extra ones. I just did.) If you put on the next coat within X number of hours, you don't have to sand it. Sorry -- I can't recall the timing on that. You can recoat as soon as it hardens enough that your thumb can just dent the last coat. By applying the coats that close together they chemically bond and effectively become one thick coat.

One thing I called them about was whether to go ahead and add the WEST barrier coat particles to their epoxy. WEST makes a big deal about that additive making the barrier coat stronger. The MAS guys said to forget it, that the epoxy is plenty strong enough by itself not to need any additive.

As Jeff says, the MAS epoxy always was lower blush than the WEST (another reason I went with it) but now they have come out with a formula that I think eliminates the blush all together -- or at least reduces it considerably.

As for Dawg's comment about the Interlux 2000, yes that is a good product to. It's very much a personal preference thing. I don't think either one out performs the other. I went with the MAS epoxy because I had worked with before and liked it.
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1.20.09 Bush's last day the end of an error !! Hopefully we still have a constitution and economy left by then.


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I have but one lamp by which my feet are guided, and that is the lamp of experience. I know no way of judging the future but by the past.-- Patrick Henry.
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Old 11-21-2007
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thanks Mitch!

SD, the cost of IT2000 compared to epoxy from mas or west may be the deciding factor. thanks!
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Old 11-21-2007
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Up in Maine...I got to visit Hogdon brothers boatyard which at th time was building a 155 footer cold molded for many millions of dollars. Took 3.5 years to build and the TREES for the project were fallen old growth salvage from the forests of the NW picked up by by helicopter!!
So nothing wrong with cold molding!
Here's more of the boat story:
http://boothbayregister.maine.com/20...eherazade.html



Clik to enlarge and see the other38 photos of her launch!
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