4wings.com Hovercraft development 47751 Michigan ave., Port Isabel - 78578 - Texas, US Tel.: (956)943 5150


Hovercraft development
47751 Michigan ave. , Port Isabel, TX, 78578
Tel:(956) 943-5150


For centuries, artisans shaped, fitted and assembled timber into wooden boats. Builders developed sophisticated wood construction methods, but never overcame wood's susceptibility to rot and 
significant maintenance requirements. The development of fiber reinforced plastics (FRP) offered 
apparent solutions in new materials and techniques. The explosive growth of fiberglass-polyester 
boats over the last thirty years was built on the perception of low maintenance and easy fabrication. 
However, as with wood, polyester resins have been plagued by the effects of moisture penetration. 
The problems of rot and softening were replaced by hydrolysis, blisters and delamination. The 
solution to these problems lies in epoxy composite construction.

Epoxy composite construction consists of bonding all of the materials and parts of the craft together with epoxy resin. The resulting structure has physical characteristics superior to the components by  themselves.

Composite construction includes a variety of building methods that use epoxy to protect  the materials from moisture as well as hold the materials together. Epoxy resins, the key ingredient, are among the most versatile of thermoset plastics. They bond exceptionally well to a wide range of  materials and are highly moisture resistant. Compared to polyester resins typically used in fiberglass boat construction, epoxies have greater strength, less shrinkage, better moisture resistance and better  fatigue resistance. 

Combining the best of wood technology with the advances in FRP materials and processes, leading builders have turned to composite construction to produce durable, distinctive boats. Builders use the moisture resistant qualities of epoxy to take advantage of wood's strength, stiffness, light weight, resistance to fatigue, insulating ability, availability, cost, and beauty. Epoxy's excellent adhesion to 
balsa and plastic foam cores, glass, aramid and carbon fabrics, allows the builder the advantage of 
selectively integrating these materials into the boat's structure. Designers, builders and owners have 
more choices available. Through epoxy composite construction, the builder can offer boats in a wide  range of designs, materials and construction methods.



The builder using composite technology can build crafts with a range of materials, designs, and 
construction methods that are perfectly suited to the craft's use and the customer's needs. Everything  from strip canoes to work boats, high performance multihulls to offshore racing powerboats and  Hovercraft's have been built using epoxy composite construction. Composites can be uncomplicated  structures of wood and wood veneer or complex vacuum laminated hybrids incorporating glass  fabrics, aramid, or carbon fibers.

Lower Maintenance

All of the components in a composite craft are protected by an epoxy moisture barrier. Since the 
moisture content is stabilized, the maintenance problems associated with wooden boats - rot, joint 
cracks, structural members swelling or shrinking, and surface checking - are eliminated. Epoxy 
provides a stable base for paints and varnishes, reducing the frequency of refinishing. In glass 
laminated boats, epoxy's superiority to polyester resins as a stable moisture resistant adhesive 
reduces the possibility of delamination and gel coat blistering caused by moisture penetration. 

A History of Success

Epoxy composite construction techniques for boat building were first developed over thirty years 
ago. Over the years, thousands of composite recreational and working boats have been built and the earliest are still going strong. Composite construction has proved itself at the top levels of 
competition in sail and powerboat racing, in the harshest environments and under the toughest 
working conditions. Epoxy composite boats have set a standard for performance, reliability and 
beauty. If you have still some questions to this topic - post it at our Messageboard! 

Wherever is a lot of sun , is some kind of shadow!

There are certain rules in the use of epoxy resins which you are not allowed to break : 

 Temperature - is one of the major ones .... choose the correct resin and hardener for the temperature of your workplace ! Not only during the application ... till the resin has set totally which is under normal conditions 24 hours but could be up to 7 days ! 

Mixing ratio - epoxy resins are not like polyester resins - just a bit more and it will only cure quicker ... try to stay within the 5%  +/-  range ... which will bring you finally into 10% which is just fine ... besides mixing pumps ( which make a good job as long as the container is not nearly empty ) mixing cups ( which are really only on the first mix accurate ) the best is still in your wife's kitchen ... get the weigh scale and double check ! 

The beauty of a clean workplace - if you can't work clean ... just don't work at all and give the 
job to somebody who can ... you safe under the line more money and it is your health at risk , these resins are still chemicals with a certain degree of danger to your health ! 

Humidity - to your work piece and in the composite materials - once water is trapped behind a epoxy barrier it is there for ever and can make major trouble ... ( my son made a tiny hole in the fiberglass resin coat at our crossbeam - since the wood fibers run lengthwise after 4 month a 15' crossbeam was ready to replace - rot) 

Screw and nail holes - if you work composite - work composite ... screw and nail holes are a major nightmare in a composite construction - just try to avoid them since they don't give you any extra strength just for moisture the possibility to travel from one sealed work piece to  another one ... as long as there is a  hole , it is like a subway tunnel for water ! 

Still it is one of the best materials on this planet for high strength - low weight crafts!
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