Hockey Puckboard

Posted: July 12, 2016 in HDPE
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Have you ever tried to get a quote on “synthetic ice”? Most of the time that refers to white UHMW polyethylene and regrettably most folks don’t understand how expensive a sheet of that material is…Several hundred dollars for the required thickness in a 4′ x 10′ standard sheet size. This sometimes makes the hockey fan give up their idea prematurely because unless you want

The good news is for many “DIY” at home hockey applications a much less expensive material will do the trick. HDPE “puckboard” is literally named after the hockey puck – it is a type of plastic sheet used as hockey “boards”. That’s a purpose it can serve in your basement or home rink as well: puck board will take the power of hockey shots and not break. Most commonly it’s used as a platform to shoot pucks off of: protecting the ground and providing a smooth surface to shoot off of.

The plastic can be had for pretty cheap from a distributor that stocks it. You can expect to pay between $80-$120 for a 4′ x 8′ sheet, which is quite inexpensive as far as traditional “industrial” plastics go. The plastic is easily worked with home tools (drills, power saws). You do need to watch out for the fact that it is not UV-stable meaning if you leave it outside you will eventually get UV damage…It will crack and become brittle, no longer holding up to shots.

That said, if you’re a hockey fan and want a cost-effective plastic to use for anything short of skating on, puck board will serve you well.


Fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) Mini-Mesh is a completely underused product for the DIY community. The product is a grey fiberglass mesh with small (3/4″ x 3/4″) openings and comes in standard sheet sizes of 4′ x 12′ and 4′ x 10′. The Mini-Mesh replaces metal and wood in flooring applications and offers significant advantages over both materials. FRP Mini-Mesh will not rust, will not corrode, will not suffer termite attack, will not absorb water, and can withstand UV exposure from the sun. It is virtually maintenance free requiring only cleaning as you deem necessary. The small size of the openings in the grating is designed to prevent objects such as keys from falling through below.

This makes the product excel as a deck or a dock. FRP Mini-Mesh is lightweight and easy to install – the easiest way is to build a frame out of metal angle and anchor the FRP sheet in. Specialized hardware called “M-clips” are available for a few dollars apiece to anchor the Mini-Mesh into the frame but if the frame is measured properly this anchorage is often not needed. The Mini-Mesh will supply a long-lasting, weather resistant, near-zero maintenance deck or dock.

The design parameter you most need to be concerned with is span. FRP is very strong; however, it is also more flexible than metal or wood. This means that as the span gets wider the FRP will store energy when you walk on it (flex down) and then push back up. On large spans, this effect can destabilize the individual leading potentially to a fall. Spans between 1.5′-3′ are high recommended and load tables can be supplied.

The only potential drawback to the product is the cost involved compared to metal or wood. The FRP grating will be significantly more expensive than metal or wood alternatives (several hundred dollars per sheet before freight costs) so not everyone will have the budget. However, you “get what you pay for” and the advantages of FRP over competing materials is well worth the price premium. For questions or pricing on FRP Mini-Mesh contact us today.


Jet Boat UHMW

Posted: June 13, 2016 in UHMW
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Late spring has hit the northern hemisphere and in many places it’s warming up consistently now. For many parts of Canada and the U.S. “jet boating” is a seasonal pastime. Jet boats are wide, somewhat flat-bottomed boats designed to shoot across shallow creeks, even sometimes jetting from creek across land, to a creek on the other side. Needless to say, the hulls of these boats take an absolute beating!

That’s where industrial plastic comes in. UHMW polyethylene is used on the bottom of these boats to protect against impact and abrasion. UHMW tests as unbreakable according to ASTM D256 and is also very slick, helping the boat pass any obstacle. For the most part, the boat bottoms are flat perhaps with a slight curvature. The material used is typically 3/8″ or 1/2″ thick UHMW either black-reprocessed or black virgin. The virgin material is more expensive but has about 20% better properties in most respects. If you watch jet boating videos on the internet you almost always will see a black plastic on the bottom of the boat – that plastic is UHMW.

Our recommendation is to mechanically affix the UHMW using bolts or weld washers. UHMW is available from certain vendors with “adhesive” but we have only heard of poor results and this is not recommended!

If you’re looking for a quote on UHMW for your jet boat you can contact Redwood Plastics.


Remember that 1980’s TV “MacGuyver” where the show’s star was able to make ingenious solutions to problems using every day items such as string, paper clips and bottles? We recently came across a similar application on Youtube for a plastic bottle mousetrap. The items you need are pretty easy to get a hold of and most people probably already have all of them in their house right now:

  • 2L plastic bottle
  • string
  • (2) rubber bands
  • (2) chopsticks
  • (1) paper clip
  • dry mouse bait

Other recommendations from the comment section were 1.) wear gloves (to cover the human scent of your hands) and 2.) screw the bottle onto a stable surface. We’ve never made this trap ourselves it just seemed like an interesting idea. It has the benefit of “catch and release” too if you don’t like how mice are killed in traditional snap traps. We’ve embedded the video below:


Material Spotlight: Micarta CE

Posted: April 26, 2016 in Uncategorized
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A plastic that really needs to be given more attention in the “DIY” community is Micarta CE, or its equivalents in the plastics industry. Micarta CE grade is the standard mechanical grade of a cotton-based industrial laminate. The plastic is essentially many layers of thin cotton soaked in plastic resin and then compressed under pressure. These plastics can take tremendous load, for example the ultimate compressive strength of CE grade industrial laminate is 37,000 PSI! It is also an excellent electrical insulator, handles temperatures up to 265 Fahrenheit, does not absorb water and is unaffected by all known oils, greases and synthetic fluids. Its only chemical weakness is to caustics.

All that talk about properties doesn’t connect the material with an application and we know you’re wondering – “what can we do with it?” You need to think mechanical, IE. load bearing, hard, and take impact. For example, we’ve sold it to customers who have sailboats and the mast sits in a sort of bearing (think a square, with a hole in the middle). The metal bearing may rust or be affected by chemicals but the CE grade laminate will not. For the same reasons in that the laminate will not rot or rust, we’ve had sailboat owners replace their hatches with Micarta CE. Amateur go-kart makers have used small pieces as brake pads and because of its strength and insulating properties it works well as a housing for electrical equipment. Spacers, bearing pads, housings, saw guides, all those types of applications are areas Micarta CE is often very suitable.

You do need to have some precautions in place when you work with the material. Ventilation is critical as is wearing a mast and eye protection. The dust generated is toxic and lubricating the cutting surface when doing any cutting or drilling is highly recommended. The material is very hard so diamond or carbide-tipped blades are recommended but not essential. Otherwise, the laminate actually machines quite well and is dimensionally stable. With the exception of dealing with the dust it’s similar to work with as wood, just stronger.

For more information on industrial laminates like Micarta CE, check out that section of our website here.


Lets face it, many DIY projects look neat but may require tools, skills, and materials not available to some people. In short: a lot of DIY projects just aren’t that simple. This one we found is; however, and it can probably be made all out of materials you would have at home. If you have bored kids this just might be the type of easy project to work on together! The idea is to use household pieces of plastic to create a “jelly fish” in a bottle, sort of like a lava lamp effect. You really only need a few items to make this work:

  • plastic bottle
  • food colouring
  • string
  • plastic bag
  • scissors
  • water

To make your jelly fish you first bundle the center of the plastic bag into a head shape and tie it off, somewhat loosely, with some string. Leave a hole big enough to pour water into. Next, take your scissors and cut many “legs” into the plastic surrounding the head portion. Then, fill your bottle with water, add food coloring, and cap it, turn it over a few times and there you have it. What we like about this project is that the bottle is recycled and that it is a plastic project that involves marine life. It’s the perfect conversation starter with kids on the importance of recycling in order to keep plastics out of the ocean!

There are many short “how to” videos of this project on Youtube but we’ve embedded a good one below:

PVC tubing is one of the least expensive, most accessible plastics the Do-It-Yourself community has access to. It’s no surprise then that the plastic pops up in so many amazing applications. Last year we highlighted some projects like the PVC kids sprinkler and outdoor movie screen as well as the PVC peddle kart. But just take a look at some of these other creative applications!

PVC Bow:






PVC Scooter:

PVC scooter






PVC Dog Bed:






PVC Hydroponic Garden:






PVC Director’s Chair (no saveable image available, click link for pictures):