High-Strength Repair Kit

G/flex designed for tough bonding situations.

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As Practical Sailorcarries out a series of structural and cosmetic repairs on our various test boats, well have the opportunity to test several different brands of epoxy products in real-world situations ranging from bonding to laminating and sealing. Recently, a couple of small bonding projects allowed us try a relatively new product from West System, G/flex. The two-part epoxy system comes two ways: pre-thickened in squeeze-tubes or bottled in a liquid form that can be used for laminating or thickened to a desired consistency for bonding.

West System G/flex

 

According to West System, G/flex is particularly suited for tough bonding situations, where the substrate-fiberglass, ceramics, metals, plastics, and woods-is in less than ideal condition (even wet woods) and subject to expansion, contraction, or vibration. We used the pre-thickened G/flex to bond a corroded aluminum mast step to the damp fiberglass keel step of our 1972 ODay Javelin with good results. (We didn't bother to etch the metal, although this is recommended.) One of the chief advantages of West System epoxy is the excellent customer support. West publishes a number of technical manuals, and technical advice is readily available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Eastern time) during the week.

Also with this article...
Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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