Feedback to Buehler
I guess I'm one of those "epoxy boys"
that George Buehler goes on about (against?) in his 'Simple
and Inexpensive "Composite" Planking'
article. I can see exactly why he distrusts epoxy so much. Trying
to apply it to wood that has already been exposed to tar is
a great way of guaranteeing that it won't stick.
And why would anyone staple glass to the wood?
That was a great idea from Allan Vaitses back in the days of
covering old wood with polyester resins, but with today's epoxies
on new construction it's just a waste of time, labor and a way
to add weight and rust to a boat.
What I take away from George's article is the
he doesn't understand epoxy - either how it works or how to
use it. With a proper marine epoxy (and I'm sorry, but you DO
get what you pay for), properly applied to clean, properly prepared
good quality wood, I've never had a joint break before the wood
did. On the other hand, if I had a penny for every nail or screw
that has pulled out of a frame, I'd wouldn't need to be coming
in to work.
And speaking of frames, a properly designed monocoque
hull can get by with a lot less framing because the skin becomes
a structural element, rather than just a covering. Those sailboats
with 4-ft frame spacing that he accuses of being operated in
blissful ignorance, are actually designed with exactly those
forces in mind and it is no accident that they hold together.
So I guess my reaction is that George should stick
to his traditional hull styles, which he understands so much
better than modern monocoque composites. While I applaud anyone's
attempt to expand their horizons, they should certainly not
write with an expert voice until they've actually learned what
they're writing about. And editors who put these articles in
the way of impressionable newbies should really have some kind
of warning label :-)
Seriously, though, good magazine and I'll be sending
you a submission about building composite masts soon.