30 Jun 11 I had to laugh this morning when I read yesterday's daily log entry. I counted about 10 grammatical and spelling errors plus a few convoluted sentences. But, as I have said before, I try to get the entry out there each evening and go back later and clean it up, otherwise it won't get done. So, loyal readers, sometimes, you'll just have to tough it out.
Today, I completed the staving for the double berth. I started this project a few days ago when I made a simple template with doorskin plywood strips and a hot glue gun. I was then sidetracked by the need to install the partial bulkhead that will support cabinetry in the forward cabin and which ties into the double berth. I completed that task yesterday so today it was back to the staving. It was a little tricky covering the narrow wood strip between the drawers with staving but it appears to have come out fine. I won't know for sure till the screw clamps are all removed and I trim all the edges with a flush-cut router bit.
The doorskin pattern clamped in place which I use to precut the staving.
The African Mahogany staving epoxied in place and clamped with simple custom made screw-clamps
29 Jun 11 For the last few days I have continued installing the African Mahogany staving. A couple of days ago I installed it over the aft face of the chain locker partial bulkhead. Per my normal procedure I let the top edge run wild and will trim it flush with the top edge of the 1/2" ply after I remove the screw blocks. Eventually, the top edge will be covered with Black Walnut trim. The bottom edge of the staving extends down far enough to allow a cleat, that will support the forward edge of the bunk boards, to be affixed to the staving. I prefer to install cleats over the staving as the "V" grooves allow water and air to pass through and into the compartment underneath.
After working on the chain locker staving I made a template for the vertical face of the double berth and used it to lay out the pieces so I could precut it to fit. But, after I had laid out about 2/3 of the staving I realized I had not decided how the forward cabin cabinetry would tie into the double berth. So, I stopped work and spent a good part of yesterday measuring, thinking, and drawing diagrams of what I wanted the cabinetry to look like. It became apparent that the inboard edge of the starboard side partial bulkhead, that juts out towards the double berth, would be a problem. I cut this bulkhead back last year to allow more room for the double berth but left about 7" still sticking out. At the time I had thought I would build a lower cabinet topped by a horizontal shelf with more cabinets above the shelf set a little further back. But, yesterday, as I thought about the design it seemed like it would not be practical. The shelf would serve as a catch-all for junk that would interfere with the opening of the cabinet door behind it. So, I decide to cut off another 3 1/2" and scarf some cypress on top (using a biscuit cutter and epoxy) to give it a single vertical edge.
Once that was complete I rigged some straight edges with clamps to "frame in" where the bulkhead would go. Then, I built a template out of doorskin strips and a hot glue gun. Per my normal procedure, I placed the template over some 1/2" BS 1088 ply and cut out the bulkhead. I checked the angle of the hull with a bevel gauge and cut a 15 degree bevel along the backside of the bulkhead. I test fit it to make sure it would be plumb and square. Then I removed 3/8" along the back edge to allow for the closed cell foam wedge that would be placed between the outside edge of the bulkhead and the hull of the Far Reach. I power-planed a 1/16" deep cut 2" wide along both sides of the outside portion of the bulkhead so the tape would lay flush with the surface of the ply. Then, I applied a couple of coats of unthickend epoxy to the outside edge grain of the ply. While it was kicking I sanded and performed an acetone wash-down of the inside of the hull where the tabbing would be placed. I precut the 1708 biaxial and set up the table and plastic sheeting for wetting out the biaxial.
When I was ready, it was simple matter to clamp the bulkhead in place. I previously cut a 15" long cleat from Douglass Fir with a 36 degree angle to secure the bottom inside vertical edge of the bulkhead to the double berth. The cleat provided additional help to hold the bulkhead in place. I wet out the surface of the ply, the hull, and the tape. Applying the tape was quick and easy and the job was complete.
25 Jun 11 Today I installed the staving on the back of the port side settee. That mostly completes staving installation for the saloon. I will hold off on installing the settee fronts, and associated staving, till more interior construction is completed as I need the space. I will probably move forward and tackle the closet, sink cabinet opposite the head, and finish off the forward cabin.
There will need to be some staving here and there and around the galley and nav station but I will work on that later after the forward cabin staving is complete.
Port side settee back staving complete.
It has occurred to me that one of the real crimes of production boat building (and I suspect a fair amount of custom boat building as well) is there appears little to no thought, or consideration, for repair and disassembly of interior cabinetry to effect future repairs. It requires a lot of thought to figure out how to design and construct things so they can be taken apart without destroying the boat in the process. So much of the way the Far Reach was originally built prevented removal of furniture to access or repair key components without destroying it in the process. One thing was built on top of another. No thought appeared to have been given to the future. Everything in a boat will eventually need to be repaired or replaced--water tanks, fuel tanks, holding tanks, grounding straps, chain plates, plumbing, wiring, etc. Though I have epoxy tabbed in furniture panels I have tried to leave enough room that I could saws-all the part off at the bottom of the tab without demolishing the furniture itself. It could be removed intact and reinstalled later. I have had to think about the cleats that support furniture components. I chose not to glue both side of the cleat to the components but only one side (with screws) and then only screw the other side. Some might argue that it won't be as strong but with the tabbing in place and the general strength of the hull, deck, and bulkheads I believe it will be more than strong enough. There may be a little more wood squeaking in rough weather but I suppose there has to be some trade offs. So far there is nothing that can't be removed that would necessitate destroying any of the interior.
There is a real art to making something simple yet elegant at the same time. I am not suggesting I have achieved this lofty goal as I am still very much an amateur, but I continue to work towards that vision. A friend passed along a bunch of photos of the interior of the Pardey's Taleisin. With Larry Pardey's book "Classic Boat Construction" along side I poured over the photos. With the experience I have gained working on the Far Reach, and the brain-lock I have often endured trying to figure out how to approach each project, I am awed by the simple elegance they achieved. All the components are so perfectly worked out. They not only to fit ergonomically perfect but are also easily constructed and repaired. He is truly a master craftsman. Some of their ideas will not work inside the Far Reach due to bulkhead location, deck layout, cockpit foot well depth, etc. But, the philosophy thinking behind their layout and construction methodology continues to shape my thinking about how to build things and not just boats. Simple yet elegant.
24 Jun 11 More staving work today. I installed it to the forward side of the heater box, the fore-and-aft vertical panel at the foot of the portside pilot berth, and on the aft face of the side-board. Tomorrow, I install the staving along the back of the settee on the portside. That will mostly complete the staving in the saloon, with the exception of the forward face of the settees. I will probably not install it till after I have installed the rest of the staving and the sitz tub as I need the floor space to lay out the staving pieces to apply the epoxy.
22 Jun 11 I have made pretty good progress over the last couple of days. I installed the staving on the outboard vertical panel where the heater will go (I refer to it as the heater box) as well as the back of the starboard side settee. As you can see in the picture, the forward side of the divider between the heater box and settee does not have staving. That will be the next project. After I finished installing the staving on the back of the settee I precut the staving for the portside settee back, sideboard, and forward face of the starboard side heater box/settee divider. I let the staving run wild over all edges and then trim them level and square with a flush cut router bit. It feels good to be making progress.
19 Jun 11 It took four days but I finished installing the staving in the head compartment. With an earlier start each day I might have been able to complete the job in two days. However, it would have required 12 hour days which would have been exhausting in the heat we are experiencing now. Even with the SRF doors and transom hatches open it was 91 degrees in the Far Reach. I had two fans going to keep cool. It was uncomfortable but certainly not unbearable.
I started off forward bulkhead fitting the staving individually just as I had for the rest of the boat. It worked fine but took a lot of extra time going up and down ladders to cut and plane each plank. For the aft bulkhead I decided to take the time to make a template for each section of the bulkhead (two per bulkhead). By doing so I was able to fit the staving to the template on the shop floor. I was able to cut the staving and use the planer to make the rabat cuts before I ever carried the planks into the boat. This saved a fair amount of time and a lot of energy.
I normally use West System Epoxy but the I am using System Three T88 for this project. It does not need to have any thickeners mixed in so it saves some time and it is a little less messy than mixing West epoxy with cabosil. I originally bought it last winter when I first started installing the staving. The T88 can be installed in temps down to 40 degrees and even in high temps like I am experiencing now the pot life is about 45 minutes. You can buy it in pre loaded cartridges that load into a caulking gun. It would certainly make the process easier but it cost about twice as much. I may try a few cartridges and see if it is worth it.
Staving installation complete for both bulkheads in the head.
16 Jun 11 Personal business prevented me from working on the boat till mid-afternoon. Once I started work on it I still had a fair amount of setting up to do before I could start installing the staving. I decided to use the remainder of the staving I milled last fall before I start using the mostly recently milled mahogany. The original staving is a little darker due to its exposure to air and UV light. The new wood will also age and in due time they will eventually look the same.
I only had time to install five pieces of staving due to the late start, but also takes a little extra time to get back into the swing of things. I have a good system in place and I hope to compete the installation of the staving on the this particular bulkhead by tomorrow afternoon. The one thing that really complicates it are the angles that have to be cut on the staving as well as some rabbet cuts on the top edge, near the overhead, to accommodate the biaxial tape that stands proud of the surface of the bulkhead. If you have been following along as I have worked on the Far Reach you know that I normally make a rabbet cut on the plywood where the tape will lay to keep it flush with the surface of the plywood. That makes it much easier and faster to install staving over the wood. I believe the work in the saloon will go quickly because there are few odd angles. I usually find its best to do the hardest part first and then you don't have to struggle towards the end of the project when you want to finish it up. Click here for more info on milling and installing staving.
15 Jun 11 Today I spent time researching options for the combination stanchion base and bulwark brackets. I'd like to have them cast in bronze by Port Townsend Foundry. But its expensive. I am looking at a variety of options. In fact, today I made some simple 3/16" ply patterns and took them to Gulfstream Steel to have one of each welded up to see how they look. Basically it is a plate welded on to the existing SS stanchion base. Pretty inexpensive. If I go with the SS I would mail the completed stanchions/bulwark base plates plus some additional welded support brackets to a company called EMI to have them electro-polished. Other options are to make my own pattern--thankfully much simpler than making the one for the gammon iron--and have them either cast at PTF or another foundry such as Mystic River Foundry in the New England.
Gammon iron pattern complete on 19 Feb 11
Gammon iron cast in bronze.
I need to develop the options and make a decision quickly as I lost a lot of time waiting on the gammon iron to arrive. I definitely want to allow more time for the casting of the stanchion/bulwark bases if I go that route. I want the bronze . . . the Far Reach wants the bronze . . . but my budget says stainless steel. So, I'll mull on it and in the end the quality of the fabricated test SS bases will probably be the key factor in the decision. If they are nice and strong I'll probably go with the SS. Gulfsteam Steel said the test samples will be ready by the middle of next week.
This evening I prepared for installing more staving tomorrow. I moved the epoxy and all the tools I need onto the boat. I started climatizing the staving to the ambient temps.
I have been meaning to post before and after pictures of the gammon iron pattern and the cast gammon iron. I am very pleased with how they came out. It was a real educational experience. Pete Langley at PTF was fantastic walking me through the pattern making process. For more on the making of the gammon iron pattern click here.
12 Jun 11 A long planned family trip to the south Florida gulf coast came on the heels of the difficulties we had in May painting the boat. It turns out the timing could not have been better. I was definitely ready for some time away from the Far Reach. We pretty much hung out around the pool and the beach the whole time. We went for early morning walks on the beach, swam with the kids in the warm Gulf of Mexico and in the pool, and generally just decompressed. These are the same waters I learned to sail on many years ago. It brought back lots of great memories.
So, what now? I will start detail planning in the morning but I think the obvious places to start are to make the cuts in the deck for three deck prism lights, drill the holes for the chain-plates, and return to installing the vertical staving in the interior. Once those projects are complete I can begin work on the head, nav station/icebox, etc, at least that is what I am thinking tonight.
Colors that sooth.
3 Jun 11 Despite all the primer and paint problems during the last 10 days we did manage to get the cockpit, companionway and deck hatch areas painted to our satisfaction. To the right are before and after pictures. We are very pleased with the repair work to fill the engine control holes in the vertical face of the cockpit and the holes for the instrument that were on the aft end of the cabin top. We also patched the holes for the diesel and waste tanks fittings next to the scupper drains in the cockpit floor.
The paint looks very good. It's shiny and smooth.
31 May 11: Time to attack in another direction.
Yesterday I woke up at 0430 and by headlamp wiped the deck of the Far Reach with solvent in order to start rolling and tipping by 0630. After the wipe-down I was drinking my morning coffee and reflecting on the difficulties of the past week. I was forced to admit that I would probably come unhinged if I had another painting disaster. It is apparent that we have simply passed through the spring time weather sweet-spot and to press ahead is to foolishly invite difficulties I don't want. Therefore, with great regret I decided to cease painting till the weather is more supportive--probably in the fall. Truthfully, it was a great let down to acknowledge was not going to accomplish this task before the summer. But it is what it is. We will take some time off and then reorient our efforts.
I suspect I will cut holes for the deck prisms, drill out the holes for the chain plates, and dinghy chalks, and return to installing the mahogany staving. There are lots of other projects. A little time off will be a good thing but I always have some trepidation when I stop work. There is risk when momentum is lost . . . especially after experiencing such an aggravating failure. Progress feeds motivation and continued initiative. Lack of progress creates apathy.
29 May 11: Sanding is my life . . . AKA "It's easy to be hard and hard to be smart, but if you're stupid you better be hard." Yesterday morning I wiped the deck down at 0500 and at 0730 we painted the cockpit, companion way and hatch areas with a second coat of Interlux Perfection. They look pretty good. Our skills are better but the biggest reason for change is we got ahead of the heat. We spent one hour painting. By 0825 when we finished it was 87 degrees on the deck.
Yesterday afternoon I started sanding the topside to remove the curtains and brush marks. As soon as I started sanding the brush marks became more obvious due to the shine being removed from the tops dulling them which contrasted with the shiny troughs. What to do? Sanding more than I originally thought would be required seemed the only acceptable option. There was no way I could live with a finish like that. I spent the entire day today sanding down the remainder of the port side and also completed the starboard side and both sides of the cabin tops . . . it was like "ground-hog day." Even though the relatively fresh paint sanded much easier than the epoxy primer, there are still some brush marks. I am reluctant to sand any deeper because I don't want to sand off the primer and have to start over--that just might put me out on the ledge. My disappointment is too great to either describe or spend any energy being mad about. So far, the exterior priming and painting have been the only disappointment of the rebuilding of the Far Reach . . . everything else has gone swimmingly well. As I sanded away in the heat today sweating like a pig (at 1500 it was still 101 degrees on deck with both transom hatches and all the "barn-doors" open in the shed--I was having flashback to being in the Al Anbar province during August) I considered why this went bad. - I pushed too hard to stay on schedule -- when the gammon iron arrived 6 weeks later than expected I should have shifted the plan and moved the painting to the fall when the temps would acceptable. - I tried to paint in too much heat and humidity not really understanding the problems I would create. Sophisticated two part paints have very specific environmental requirements that should not be ignored. - I think we stroked (tipped) to far back into the previously painted surface not really understanding that it was too hot for the paint to have time to level out. - I tried to paint too much on the first day given the rising heat. This was exacerbated by trying to get the painting completed before upcoming family events which would preclude painting until the fall due to expectation that the summer heat will then be in full swing. - Our general lack of experience with rolling and tipping.
Some might think I am being too hard on myself but I don't think so. I have never tried for perfect. I try for very good results in everything I undertake knowing full well that my skills would make perfect unobtainable and a monumental waste of my time and resources. Nonetheless, these are valuable mistakes that I hope not to make again. Also, only documenting the things that go well defeats the purpose of the website . . . it was expected that mistakes would be made. They need to be reported so others can benefit from them just as I have benefited from reading about the mistakes of others. I think it is generally true for most people that we lean more from the things that go wrong than from the things that go right. It's just human nature.
This evening I vacuumed and then wiped the boat down once again. I am undecided if I will attempt to paint in the morning . If I do, I will wipe the deck down at 0430 and start painting the cabin sides by 0630. It may well be that the painting will be put on hold till the fall.
Update 1800 27 May 11: I went up on the boat this afternoon. The area around the deck hatches, the companionway, and the cockpit look very good. The gloss is superb and there are few if any visible brush marks. The vertical face of the port side cabin top has a number of curtains. It was in the sun. The vertical face of the starboard side cabin top looks very good. It was in the shade. Most of the cockpit was in the shade. My assessment is that the increasing heat in the shed (it gets warm up high as the heat rises) as well as the sun's UV warming of the boats port side and decks, combined with our lack of experience on vertical surfaces were the culprits. New strategy: Divide the areas to be painted into smaller sections to manage the effect of the heat on the paints self-leveling capabilities. I will lightly sand a few blemishes in the cockpit tonight and we will repaint it and the area around the deck-hatches and companion way in the morning. I will more aggressively sand the cabin sides and hull top-sides on Sunday, to remove the runs and curtains, and we will repaint them early in the week.
27 May 11 The last couple of days have been hectic as we continue to race against the arriving heat and humidity of summer as well as summer family plans that have pushed us into a corner--get the boat painted now or wait till fall when the temps go down. We had planed on painting in April. However, a piece of hardware we had custom built and that need to have its mounting location faired before we could paint arrived six weeks later than expected. This is just another reminder of why we are so determined to keep the Far Reach simple and allow us to be as self-sufficient as possible.
With that said, we applied the first coat of Interlux Perfection after an exhausting week of sanding and prep work. After sanding yesterday, I vacuumed the outside of the boat and performed a solvent wipe down with 2333N. I performed another wipe down at 0600 and we started rolling about 0800 this morning.
Scroll-down for more photos.
First coat of "Perfection." Very glossy and wet looking.
The bottom line is it came out OK . . . not great but also not bad for our first attempt at rolling and tipping two part LPU. The paint provided very good coverage and is very shiny. There are a some runs and sags as well as a couple of "holidays." The real problem was the heat and humidity--we have experienced unseasonably hot and humid weather this week--10 to 15 degrees above normal with no end in sight. The heat and humidity affected the time we had to tip it out and the ability of the ingredients that allow the paint to "level" out properly.
We started out painting the hatches on supports in the garage. We began by thinning 5 percent--a mistake. It was too thick and we had a few runs. Our learning curve was vertical. We immediately added thinner and went to 10 Percent. I'll need to build some more supports since there was not adequate room between the locker-lids to roll and tip properly. We then went up onto the boat and painted around the deck and companion-way hatches. Then, we painted cabin sides. Next, we painted the cockpit. This took us to the three hour mark. Lots of intricate work. We were also continuing to develop a workable technique for rolling and tipping. The heat was really starting to rise. We finished up the first batch of paint and stopped to make more. Its about a 30-40 minute process by the time you stir, mix, let the paint sit for 20 min, stir in the thinner, and then transition back to painting. When we left the deck it was 97 degrees on the cabin top. You can't really expect the paint to work its best at that high a temperature.
We dropped down onto the shed floor and painted under the stern counter on the port side and then started forward on the scaffolding rolling vertically and tipping horizontally. By now the port side of the boat was warm due to the sun shinning through the shed plastic on that side. This was the area that gave us the most trouble. The paint was still too thick and the surface of the boat was so warm that the paint was setting up before we could fully tip it out. We had the most runs, sags, and holidays there. Once we moved around to the starboard side we had better success. We finally found a good rhythm and that side of the boat was better shaded, though the temps inside the shed were quite warm . . . about 97 degrees on the cabin top and about 88 degrees six feet above the floor. We finished up 5 hours after we started . . . much longer than I expected.
The current plan is to sand a few areas in the cockpit and around the hatches this evening. Then paint them again in the morning. As long as we paint the next day there is no need to do further sanding. This will allow us to paint a limited amount of surface area in the morning before it gets too hot. Sunday I'll sand the sides of the cabin and the topsides with 320 grit. Then during the first of the week we will apply another coat to the cabin sides and topsides. This will allow us to paint those two areas in the early morning as well taking advantage of the cooler temps.
On the good side, I think the extensive fairing work I undertook to glass the hull-deck joint together, the hundreds of holes I filled on the cabin top, and the extensive patches I applied to fill in instrument and engine control hoes came out very good.
We used 30 oz to paint the locker lids, around the hatches, companionway, and cockpit. We used about 50 oz to paint the topsides. Much less paint that I expected.
Lessons learned: -Anything above 85 degrees is going to cause problems. -Probably best to thin to 10 percent right from the beginning if you are painting vertical surfaces. -We tried several styles of brushes. White china bristles seem to work fine--"Sea-Fit Flag-Ship" from West Marine or Redtree Badger Hair Brush (they are the same brush sold under different labels--I called Redtree and talked to their brush engineer). -We seem to settle on rolling vertical and tipping horizontally. -We tipped back towards the wet-edge. -We used 30 oz of paint/converter (not including thinner) for the locker lids, cabin sides, companionway area, and cockpit. -We used 50 oz of paint/converter (not including thinner) for the topsides. -We used 4" long "Whizz" white foam rollers (as recommended by the Interlux tech reps).
24 May 11 Today I begin final sanding in preparation for applying paint to the cabin sides, cockpit, and topsides. Even though the Primekote was applied only 18 hours earlier it was rock hard and very difficult to sand. I used two sanders, both electric, and both fitted with 220 grit. One is a new Dewalt RO and the other is my trusty Dewalt palm/finish sander. I started off at the starboard stern and worked towards the bow and then came down the port side. I stopped at about 8:15pm because it was almost dark. I worked up the starboard side first to stay in the shade. There was a good breeze blowing today but the temps were in the mid 90s in the shed. Very hot. I didn't quite make it to the end so I will have about two hours of sanding in the morning on the sunny side. Doesn't matter because as soon as I finish the topside I will move up onto the boat and start working on he cabin sides and it will be hot there anyway. I have considered rigging a grey tarp over part of the shed to create more shade inside. But, I think the wind will play havoc with it. Even though the cover is white plastic it sill gets pretty warm inside.
I probably have two more days of sanding and prep work before we can paint. Sanding is now my life . . . . .
The end of another long day of sanding.
23 May 11 We had a little luck go our way today. After the first primer coat disaster, and all that sanding a few days ago, we applied the second coat of Interlux Epoxy Primekote without fanfare. The directions state that you are supposed to sand between every coat. But, I did not know how smooth it needed to be sanded--I obviously had little motivation for a lot of sanding on an intermediate coat. I suspected that all I needed to do was scuff it up before applying the next coat. However, to be sure I called Jay Smida, one of the tech reps at Interlux who seems to be pretty knowledgeable about their products. He is the one guy that knew what caused the bubbles during the first application of Primekote and got me back on track. Anyway, he told me that it just needed to be lightly sanded with 220-320 then wiped down with 2333N solvent before applying the next coat. But, he went on to say that if the last coat was applied yesterday, and I applied the next coat today, I did not need to sand at all. This info is not in the directions or in any literature I have seen. Didn't matter, I was all over that opportunity. So, I performed the required 2333N solvent wipe-down and during the required two hour window to let the solvent evaporate I drove up to West Marine and picked up another gallon of Epoxy Primekote(after getting a price match with Jamestown Distributor and my commercial account).
Then, it was a simple repeat performance of the last coat--mix, allow 20 minutes of induction, mix in a maximum of 20 percent thinner and roll it on. It took about 3 1/2 hours to cover the locker hatches, companionway hatch, sea-hood, cabin sides, cockpit, and the topsides.
It was very hot today. I was soaked with sweat but much happier painting vice sanding in the heat. Because I was able to keep some air moving through the shed with the downwind doors and transom hatch open I did not don my respirator which I normally wear. I don't take a decision like that lightly. I think I am pretty safety conscious about the work I do but the reality is today I would have had heat stroke.
Tomorrow we start sanding but with any luck this will be the final sanding before applying Interlux "Perfection" two part LPU finish paint. I imagine it will take two or three days to get the surfaces smooth enough.
Applying the third coat of Interlux Epoxy Primekote.
22 May 11 -- "Gloom, despair, agony on me; deep dark depression, endless misery." Or, how I bollocksed up the first coat of Interlux Epoxy Primekote and spent 20 hours repairing the damage . . . .
Ugghhh. It's been a very painful couple of days to say the least. The short version is this: I read the data sheet on Primekote. I discussed the procedures with the Interlux Tech rep. I applied the primer and it bubbled. I foolishly kept going thinking that since I had followed all the steps to the letter (or so I thought at the time) that the bubbles would evaporate (what was I thinking?). They were there as soon as the rollers moved across the boat. After the first batch I called Interlux and they said I was "not using enough thinner--go to 30 percent" I should even "make sure the rollers have some thinner wiped on them." Silly me. I added more. The bubbles got worse. The definition of insanity to do the same thing over the same way and expect a different result. Finally, I called Interlux again and talked to a different rep. "You are using too much thinner. No more than 20% max. It was too little, too late. The damage was done.
Mad and frustrated do not accurately depict my mental condition at the time. But, I had to get over it. All I could do was to get the sanders fired up and get too work. The bubbles went nearly all the way to the bottom of the new primer layer. The sanding was very difficult--a quick pass with 120 grit on an RO sander then 220 grit on a finish sander. Nine hours of very difficult sanding the first day to get to a smooth coat on just the topside. Twelve hours the second day for the cabin top and cockpit. Hot, tired, and wore out. The "Agony On Me" theme song from the old Hee-Haw variety show kept running through my head. It would have killed the average man . . . . :-)
This morning we tried again. Much better. No bubbles. I may need another coat of primer but I won't know till I start sanding. Moral of the story. Before you start a project like this know what the result is supposed to look like and what it is not supposed to look like and stop if you don't get the former. Oh, one more thing--go easy on the thinner.
I'll provide more details when my mental state is a little more rational.
Bubbles--15 minutes after application
Repairing the damage--20 excruciating hours of sanding.
2nd coat--mo' betta.
18 May 11 Yesterday and today were spent taping the boat for paining. We also taped the cockpit locker tops which are laid out in the garage. We used 3m solvent resistant 233 tape. Good stuff. I taped wide around a few areas like the primary winches since I don't know how big the bases will be and we can cover Perfection with the non-skid . . . better safe than sorry. Tomorrow we apply the first of two coats Interlux Epoxy Primekote finish primer. We sand after each coat--oh joy--then two to three coats of Interlux Perfection Mediterranean White. Since I don't have any spray equipment we will roll and tip. All the reviews are good so we have high hopes for a nice finish.
16 May 11 Before you decided to get a bigger boat, try sanding the one you have first. I spent the day going back over areas on the Far Reach that had the remnants of stipple from the application of the four coats of epoxy high-build primer that I applied last year. I got about 80 percent of it last year but there were a few areas that needed more sanding else it would reveal itself when high gloss paint is applied. I had somehow forgot just how much work it is to sand this stuff. I am wore out. I focused my efforts on the areas that will receive Interlux Perfection two part LPU paint as much of the deck will have non-skid. Mostly I used 220 grit and my finish sander. I used a vacuum to reduce the amount of dust. It's not perfect but it's going to have to be good enough. At least until the finish primer goes on and I can see what it looks like. To be fair it's pretty good.
This afternoon, UPS came by and delivered the bronze dinghy chalks Port Townsend Foundry cast for me. Very nice. I think they look great. For the near term I'll set them aside, but later ,when I install them, I'll cut a piece of teak or Iroko to fit into the slot and I'll shape the upper end to support the gunwale of the inverted dinghy. I won't through bolt them to the cabin top. Instead I'll drill out a larger hole, fill with epoxy and then tap them for flat head machine bolts. If we ever ship green water and, God forbid, it tears the dinghy off I don't want the cabin top to go with it. I'd rather lose just the dinghy. Also, if they are tapped into the epoxy I can remove and rebed this hardware without removing the overhead liner. Much, much, easier.
15 May 11 Today, I wiped down the exterior of the boat with Interlux 202--using the two rag method--to remove any contaminates that might being laying dormant waiting to launch an attack on the soon to be applied paint. It is slow, boring work. Though I was in shorts, I wore a full respirator and three pair of latex gloves on each hand. The solvent is so caustic it melts the gloves pretty quickly. I have tried nitril gloves but they don't seem to last any longer. By wearing three sets of gloves I can keep the chemical off my hands. I just peel off the outer layer every minute or so and add a fresh layer. It took about four hours to thoroughly wipe down the boat. I took a break every 20 minutes or so to wipe the sweat out of my mask and relax. There was no need to rush. I started on the cabin top and worked my way down to the deck, cockpit, and finally the topside. The scaffolding is the perfect height.
This afternoon, I walked around the boat circling any dings or unfair spots with a pencil. I marked for the areas that needed filler added as well as those areas that need additional sanding. Then, I mixed up some sky-blue colored Interlux Water-Tite epoxy filler and filled in the designated spots. It is apparent to me that I'll need to lightly sand the entire boat tomorrow. I found a number of spots that had the smallest vestige of stipple left over from rolling the Awl-Quick primer on last year. I remember struggling to get through it last year so I am not surprised to find it now as I examine the boat very closely. This should be much easier as the sanding requirement is pretty light. I'll use the vacuum attachment to control the dust since I washed out the shed about a week ago preparing for the upcoming painting. The Far Reach looks ready for the next step but she also looks very sterile and plain sitting there with her dull white matt primer. She and I are both ready for her to have some new clothes.
Ready for final sanding.
14 May 11 I spent the last two days preparing the Far Reach for painting. There is a lot to do and we are probably about a week away from rolling on the first coat of finish paint. Yesterday, I did a wipe down with Interlux 202 to ensure any contaminants were removed from all the locker hatches, lazarette hatch, companion way hatch and the sea-hood. They are on a rack in the garage where I will apply finish primer and then paint them. I also cleaned up the shed and vacuumed the deck. I have a Shop-Vac that sits on the cabin top with an extended hose. I pull the hose down through the hatch to vacuum the inside of the boat. The hose will just about reach the ends of the boat. While vacuuming the cockpit I moved it from the center of the deck to near the companionway hatch so it would reach the stern. With my back to the vacuum I was trying to vacuum around the lazarette with I heard a terrific crash. Sure enough, I had pulled the Shop-Vac over and it fell down the hatch into the boat! The vac was about 1/4 full of wood dust and other detritus. The motor was whining and dust was floating up through the portholes. There was nothing to do but stop, go down into the boat, shut the motor off, and reclamp the top to the collector. Then I spent about 30 minutes cleaning up the inside of the boat. "No good deed goes unpunished." At least I didn't fall through the companionway hatch.
Last night, about 0200 we had a huge electrical storm. Some of the longest rolling thunder I can recall every hearing . . . like an endless artillery barrage. Everyone in the house was up. It lasted about 90 minutes.
Today, I taped off the portholes with plastic and tape. Then, I spent about two hours washing off about a year's worth of grime. Tomorrow I'll perform a 202 wash down on the deck and topsides. Then, if I have time, I'll repair any dings with Interlux, Water-Tite epoxy filler.
Preparing the Far Reach for paint.
12 May 11 Final fairing for the gammon iron. Today I used Interlux Water-Tite fairing compound for the first time. Saves a lot of work since it is pre-thickened. It's also a 1:1 ratio so its quick and simple to mix up. The nice thing about it is I can use as little as I need. I use the pump system with West System and sometimes I need a lot less than I can get with one pump. After working on the gammon iron I faired in some small dings on the hatches. Will apply finish primer to the hatches tomorrow and wash the boat in prep for finish primer soon. Spent the rest of the day cleaning up the boat and working on small projects.