West Systems

  • 142. Top Tips Tuesday - An easy 'How to' guide with West Systems

    This week's 'Top Tip' is an easy "how-to" guide on repairing the area around a stanchion base on a fibreglass boat. Lots of boats have damage around the stanchion base and if left they can lead to much more serious problems when water gets into the deck, not to mention the added risk to crew.

    Many thanks to West System Epoxy's Hamish Cook and David Johnson for their permission to use this article.


    We asked Hamish… How do you repair a stanchion on a fibreglass boat?

    Is one or more of your lifeline stanchions coming away from its base? It’s a common problem but it’s vital that it’s fixed quickly. A repair with thickened WEST SYSTEM® epoxy and fibreglass will do an excellent job, as our technical expert Hamish explains.

    There’s a lot of stress placed on the humble stanchion. Often knocked when docking, or shoved when setting sail, it’s not uncommon for them to weaken, or even wrench away from their base entirely. However, given the vital role that these posts play in crew safety, it’s essential that they’re fixed as soon as possible.

    On a fibreglass boat, fixing a stanchion base with epoxy is a relatively straightforward procedure. My colleague David Johnson has produced a video (above) talking you through the repair. Here’s my written step-by-step guide to assist you through the process.

    Step 1 – Grind away the damage

    The first step is to take out the stanchion and grind back the hole to remove all damaged material. When grinding, ensure you taper in to the centre of the hole; grinding a bevel around the edge will create an enhanced surface area for your epoxy bond, so that the repair is as strong and long-lasting as possible.

    Step 2 – Insert a backer

    Make sure you wipe the area clean with alcohol.

    Then, if the hole is deep (if you’ve exposed the inside of the boat), you’ll need to push in a backer which your epoxy resin repair will adhere to. We recommend using peel ply for this. Cut your peel ply to size and push it inside the hole, cementing it in with WEST SYSTEM epoxy thickened with WEST SYSTEM 406 Colloidal Silica. Leave it to cure.

    Step 3 – Apply thickened epoxy

    Mix up some more WEST SYSTEM epoxy resin and hardener and blend it with WEST SYSTEM 406 Colloidal Silica to a mayonnaise consistency. Use a small brush to apply this to the peel-ply-reinforced gap, pushing it well in and smoothing it around, so that it fills any irregular shapes. This will ease the transition to the fibreglass part of your repair.

    Step 4 – Apply fibreglass

    Once this has cured, the next step is to mix up some more WEST SYSTEM epoxy , this time adding some WEST SYSTEM 402 Milled Glass Fibre Blend. Push this mixture into the hole with a mixing stick first of all, before working it into the hole with a brush, stippling to feather out any spiky bits of the fibre and remove any air bubbles.

    Step 5 – Apply your peel ply

    To help compact the repair, apply some more peel ply to the fibreglass mix when it’s wet. Ensure the peel ply is nicely wet out by the fibreglass mixture. If you’re working in any sort of windy weather, you may wish to apply masking tape to secure the peel ply.

    That’s all there is to it. Once this has cured, you can grind it back, apply your gel coat and re-fit the stanchion. You’ll find this is a sound repair that will last a long time.

    Don’t forget to watch our stanchion repair video by David Johnson.

    Want to know more about fibreglass boat repair? We have a whole host of articles – take a look here.

    Image credit: Sailnet.com

  • 137. Top Tips Tuesday - Bored? West Systems have the solution. Meet Hoppy!


    As avid readers of our regular blog will know I, with a lot of help from my friends and of course Jenny (she is brilliant at rubbing down varnish or epoxy in preparation for another coat) have been fitting out a Mystery 35 hull and deck for the last six years, finally launched the other week with just a ‘few’ outstanding jobs! Well in my very limited spare time away from the boat the other night I was reading the excellent newsletter from West System that regularly ends up on my iPad. Scrolling through, I was fascinated to read about Hoppy, the bike which you can build from wood, I'm sure it would be the perfect set of wheels to have on Hindsight, however, I have been advised by Benjy the boatbuilder and designer of the bike that there are no plans to design a folding one as yet, but hopefully early next year when the ‘jobs to do list’ shrinks a bit more who knows I might have a go at building a non folding bike, but will we now need a larger boat?screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-11-28-44

    Another first class article in this latest newsletter was one by an expat Geordie, Hamish Cook, West's UK technical expert (I used to race Enterprise dinghies against his dad many many years ago and usually got beat by a country mile) on flame-treating plastic which helps create a better bond between epoxy and plastic.

    I used this technique to glue successfully, using their G-Flex, a polyethylene Whale grey water tank to the hull of our Mystery as well as using the same technique to bond a Scanstrut waterproof junction box. I had tried some years earlier in the fitting out process to bond these items to the hull with two different well known makes of adhesive sealant, G-flex was not on the market then.

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  • Gloriana: Holed and Decapitated!


    ‘Gloriana’ lost the Royal emblem and her name off her transom - photo: AdamBMorgan

    'Gloriana’ lost the Royal emblem and her name off her transom - photo: AdamBMorgan

    Gloriana Holed and Decapitated screamed the headlines, yes it’s true the Queens row barge Gloriana which lead the Jubilee Pageant last year collided with Kew Bridge the other day after ‘apparent engine failure’ Editors’s note: how can a row barge have engine failure, did the rowers all collapse with cramp?

    The story reads:

    GLORIANA: Last year she was one of the central boats in the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee pageant on the Thames. But recently Gloriana is looking a bit battered after her engine failed and she drifted into Kew Bridge. She lost the crown off her stern and, to add insult to injury, the Chiswick RNLI RIB that went to help her managed to put a hole in her port quarter.

    To counter all that, however, the man who helped mastermind Gloriana’s build programme, Mark Lochrin Edwards, was awarded an MBE for services to boatbuilding in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

    Whilst the design and build of the barge utilises structures and techniques that have changed little since the clinker built long boats of Anglo-Saxons who first arrived on our shores in the 4th century AD and carries on a centuries-old tradition of royal row barges on the Thames we do humbly suggest that perhaps she should be repaired using either West System Epoxy or SP Gurit, both makes are easy to use, they will produce a strong repair even in the hands of unskilled artisans!

  • Sorted...



    Had a guy call into the chandlery yesterday with the rudder from his British Hunter sailboat which he had just remove. From my examination of the rudder crack it looked as though over the winter some moisture had been present and when the temperature dropped, the moisture froze and the joint popped. He asked for advise on repairing it and let it slip out in the conversation that he wanted to launch this Friday. For gluing wet or damp wood I suggested he purchase a G-flex thickened epoxy kit from West (can be used on wet/damp surfaces) but before reglueing I suggested that he carefully wedge open the splits and clean out any dirt and or debris using a hacksaw blade and 80 grade wet and dry, finaly clean the surface to be glued with a cloth moistened with Acetone. Mix the epoxy, apply and lightly clamp, Job Done! Incidentally on Monday we had a guy in the shop with a cracked Raydome. As you may be aware certain plastics are hard to glue however G- flex will solve that one too! Heres an interesting testimonial video fecturing a guy taking a chain saw to a new canoe and then repairing it!

    Tuesday was saved by Gflex (Click here if you can't see the video below)


  • Look what happens when I take a weeks holiday!

    Out of the kindness of my heart I lent the Melges to my business partner Andy, when I was enjoying myself abroad. I returned from the holiday relaxed, without a care in the world, came into work on the Monday to be told by  my first customer of the day  ‘I gather Clapped Out Toyboy kissed the Bondicar rock in your absence’ Fortunately we do carry good stocks of  West and SP epoxy, as well as the appropriate filler. Once the structural repair has been complete and faired to our satisfaction I will apply some Epifanes epoxy primer, which when rubbed down with successively finer grades of wet and dry will give us back a race winning finish (we hope).

  • Almost, but not quite

    I did have a feeling in my bones that we were going to win International Paints mystery shopper competition; well that feeling was ALMOST right, we didn’t win however we did come third! International Paint retailers throughout the country were ‘visited’ by a ‘mystery shopper’ during the past few months & they awarded points on a variety of subjects including.......... depth of stock, the presentation of the paint display, product knowledge etc etc. We never suspected anyone who could have been the shopper but I am convinced if they had been served by yours truly we would have won!, strange that the two Andy’s & Clare all say the same thing! However maybe it’s because as well as having excellent stocks of well presented International products we also stock in depth Hempel/Blakes, Seajet, Epifanes & Flag products that we didn’t quite make it. Joking apart we are rightly proud of our range of paints & other maintenance & repair products like West, SP, Owatrol etc.

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