WEST SYSTEM: Building with the cold-moulded method
After an unfortunate motorbike accident, Harry Evans was forced to put his boating career on hold. However, an opportunity to train as a boatbuilder at the Boat Building Academy in Lyme Regis has given him a fresh start. Here, Harry tells us about his work at the college to build a Clinker sailing boat, which he’s called ‘The Last Leg’.
How did the project come about?
Building a boat is a key part of the training here at the Boat Building Academy Lyme Regis. It was such an exciting prospect to get back into the practical side of things after the accident.
The Last Leg was initially intended to be a traditional Clinker. However, to make things more interesting I decided to build it using the cold-moulded method of construction.
Which WEST SYSTEM® epoxy products did you use? How did they help?
I used WEST SYSTEM epoxy products throughout the build, as I believe they’re the most efficient and reliable.
The WEST SYSTEM 30kg C pack plus the corresponding pumps were great. The pack gave me both 105 Epoxy Resin® and 205 Fast Hardener®, while the easy-to-use pump system was quick, accurate and took the guesswork out of time-pressured college tests.
I also used WEST SYSTEM 406 Colloidal Silica – it’s a fantastic thickening agent, very strong and hard.
The WEST SYSTEM 409 Microsphere Blend low density filler was easy to use and shape. Finally, I used WEST SYSTEM 740 Glass Fabric, a 135g/m² plain weave glass cloth which is essential for water-tightness, strength and resistance to abrasion.
What did you learn about the cold-moulded method whilst doing this?
I would definitely recommend giving serious consideration to cold moulding and epoxy as a construction method – it’s fast and very strong. For a start, the cold-moulded method was a lot quicker than the traditional method of Clinker construction; we managed to fully plank the hull and have it watertight in approximately three weeks. What’s more, you can really see how lightweight and strong modern epoxy-wood methods are. Using epoxy enabled us to create a smooth hull with a monocoque structure, eliminating the need for through-hull fastenings and calling for fewer reinforcements. All in all, compared to traditional methods, the cold-moulded method is very satisfying, relatively trouble-free and produces a low maintenance boat that will have a long life in the water.
What was the most rewarding part of the project?
It was incredible to see how fast and strong the cold-moulded wood-epoxy method can be. It was also great to be working as part of a team. We are all looking forward to finishing the boat and seeing it in the water.
What’s your top tip for boatbuilders looking to start a similar project?
Manage your time well and source materials that you can trust – make sure you do your research. Apart from that, just go for it!
Our thanks to Harry Evans for his contribution. You can learn more about the Boat Building Academy at Lyme Regis on their website.
Do you have a project that you’re working on? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we could feature it in a future edition of epoxycraft!
Want to know more about the products mentioned in this article, including the full range of WEST SYSTEM epoxies? Visit the WEST SYSTEM website.