Products and Suppliers

Whats this about? 

Many of “my builders” are first timers, and it’s easy for me to forget that I’ve been doing this stuff for more than 40 years now and have a base of experience that I draw on whenever I do anything or make a choice about what to use, how to use it or where to buy it. First or second timers don’t have that knowledge base and I presume upon it when I design, so to help that during this building project I’ll be reporting on products used. Those will include tools both power tools and hand tools, glues and resins, paints and fibreglass cloths, suppliers’ service and anything else that I think might be of interest. Some of these will be pertinent to everybody worldwide, some will be of interest to locals only, but I’ll be baring my soul and telling everyone how it goes, what I like and what I don’t.

System3 Epoxy

Hugh Blank of Pure Science Ltd, distributors of medical and laboratory products, has taken on System 3 marine epoxy systems for New Zealand.  I’ve read about the product, but not ever used it or seen it in action so approached Hugh with the idea of giving some System 3 a test run.  He agreed that this was a worthwhile idea, sent me some product and I set it aside for a project where I’ll be able to evaluate it.

So, Pilgrim is to be built using System 3 epoxies for adhesive, filling and fairing, and laminating, that latter for fiberglassing the hull up to the chines.

More on that later.

1. via the website ( - all contact details are listed on the site
2. the email address:

Ryobi Router,   Model ERT241200

This machine came all nicely packaged, has a fence, a “free”? 6mm straight cutter included, a dust extraction hood and chute, a follower and a nice job of colour and styling.  Quite a good complete package.

Used mostly in a router table plus some work rebating the edges of plywood used for cladding my house it performed quite well for a while It  felt nice, the depth gauge and fence worked well, although setting the depth accurately when upside down in a router table was not easy, the spring loading does not help when mounted like that.

The speed control is effective and easy to access while using the machine, and its spindle lock and collet change was easy to operate to change cutters.  A small thing but positive is that it has close to 10 ft of cord on it, many power tools today have very short cords which means an extension and the connecting plug gets hooked up in the work as it gets pulled along. The positioning of the handgrips and controls makes it feel nice to hold, except you have to hold it right handed as the trigger  switch is difficult to access if you need to use it the other way around. The dust cover on that switch makes it stiff to operate as well, but in spite of the one or two little grumbles I rather liked it.

Initially I thought I had a good one, it had replaced a very old Skil brand 6mm router that had never been up to much, and had spent most of its life under a plywood router table dedicated to round over duties with a 6mm radius cutter. When its switch  finally died, the bearings were only touching the sides very occasionally so a new machine was purchased  and the tables mounting insert modified to suit,  the Ryobi looked to be very good value for money as it was within the same dollar bracket as the “Cheapies “ but was a “name” brand.

A year later, with about 6 hours running on it, the bearings are shot and the switch is loose in its mounting.  The bearings are so bad that its not possible to get a decent finish on the work and the NOISE it makes is beyond a joke even with grade four earmuffs on.  I’ve asked my pal who does repairs and he tells me that parts are quite expensive so its better to just run it until its an ornament, then find a dumpster with no lock on the lid and buy a better replacement one.

How was it?   If you are a low use workshop where you need to have a router but will never put much time on it, (6 hours is a LOT of work) this would be fine. It’s a lot of machine for the money, but if you do use a router a lot, spend the extra!

Rating, other than lasting, 7/10.  Would I buy another?  No, I put too much mileage on a router and will be asking my power tool repairman friend what I should buy myself for Christmas.  


Ryobi Router - This shows how it's mounted into the homemade router table

The plastic faceplate has been removed and the router screwed directly to the polycarbonate plate.

The speed control is the yellow adjustment wheel on the top.

A note on my homemade router table, its simply a 700mm x 500mm piece of 12mm plywood with a piece of 45 x 70 screwed and glued to the underside along the back edge, with enough clearance between that and the router to allow it to be dropped into a woodworking vice.  It has a 6mm Polycarbonate panel 250 x 200mm let into a rebated hole in the plywood, and there is a butterfly shaped hole in the center of that large enough to allow the router bit to come through it, and to allow waste to exit.  The plastic face panel of the router has been removed and the router screwed to the plastic using countersunk screws into the face panel screwholes.  Its used exclusively for rounding over edges, so once set up with the 6mm radius bit with ballrace follower (guide) it doesn’t have to be touched again until the Tungsten carbide bit goes blunt. Pretty much every edge on my boats gets rounded over with this before its assembled or added to the boat. It saves  a LOT of time!


John Welsford.