Sunday, January 31, 2010

Top Sides: applying two part epoxy primer.

We are waiting for supplies to arrive before we can continue with the cabin top so we moved on to the topsides for a few days.
There is multiple layers of fairing compound near the hull and deck joint. As each is a slightly different color it  created a camo pattern making it hard to visually see the fairness of the hull. It was a good time to apply a couple coats of two part epoxy paint so its a more uniform color. We sanded the hull with 220 grit as directed by the paint manufacturer and wiped it down. 
We purchased two rolls of pre-taped plastic from our local Lowes home improvement center. The roll is about a foot long with the tape attached along the edge for the entire 100 foot length of the roll. We applied the tape to the hull (to protect the bottom paint) unrolling it as we went. The thin plastic sheet was then opened making it two feet wide, then opened again for its full four foot width. I really like this stuff, it costs about eight bucks a roll and uses a good quality blue tape. It makes it very easy to protect the hull from drips and overspray.
We used the second roll on deck, adhering it to the top of the cap rail and opening it towards the center line of the vessel to protect the deck and cockpit.  Smaller sections were added as required to completely cover the deck. The plastic was left very slack along the starboard side deck so we could still use it as a walkway.

I applied one very thin coat of paint with the HVLP sprayer, thinning it as directed by the paint manufacturer.
I had done a little more practicing with the gun and had adjusted it to a finer mist than before and really focused on keeping the gun at a constant distance  from the hull. The nozzle can be adjusted so that the spray is narrow and vertical, narrow and horizontal, or adjusted anywhere between the two reducing the width and making it wider and into a circle. They suggested not using the circle unless required to get around objects.
The air hose supplied with the gun is twelve feet long so I worked along ten foot sections of the hull before pausing to relocate the air pump. The nozzle was set up for the narrow vertical pattern and I started at the deck making rows of passes fore and aft descending towards the waterline with each pass.
The nozzle was then adjusted to the narrow horizontal pattern and the area was covered again working from the bow aft in vertical rows until the ten foot section had a nice even coat, or so I hoped.
A pause to relocate the air pump and the process was repeated time and again until I had gone right around the boat. It would have been easier if the air pump had come equipped with a longer hose or if I had a helper to hold the pump and move with me as I worked.  Hmmm, perhaps I can mount it on wheels like a shop vac and pull it around, I'll have to give that some thought.

The next day the topsides were sanded and wiped and the process repeated and a second coat applied.
Now the fairing of the deck joint can be more easily seen and we can adjust it as required and then apply two more coats of epoxy paint.

Deck tented

Painting on Deck

Once the second coat of epoxy primer on the cabin and deck was cured we sanded it with 220 grit production paper. The surface was cleaned and we applied a thin coat of Pettit easypoxy semigloss white. Its very important to apply this paint in very thin coats. If applied to thickly the paint film will never fully harden and will result in a permanent soft paint film.
The next day it was sanded with 220 grit paper and wiped down.
I was not entirely happy with the results we obtained by applying the paint by brush so I headed out shopping for an HVLP paint sprayer. We have high pressure sprayers at the shop but with other boats in the shop I dare not risk damaging them with overspray. HVLP stand's for High Volume Low Pressure. The low pressure greatly reduces the amount of overspray. I bought an Earlex 3000 HVLP system, it had gotten rave reviews online and was reasonably priced. We erected two huge blue tarps in the shop from floor to ceiling on the outside of the wall surrounding my boat. I had never used an HVLP gun and was taking no chances with the overspray. I practiced with the gun on some large pieces of cardboard and was very pleased with the simplicity of the gun. Its very easy to adjust and there was very little overspray, the tarps were unnecessary. 

If you would like large sheets of thin, firm, clean cardboard for making mock-ups, templates, and rolling out fiberglass on; Head for your nearest Costco store and then go to the pallets of paper towel and toilet paper. The paper products have these lovely sheets of cardboard separating the levels. There are two types of sheets, one is a better quality so be sure you become familiar with both so you get the good ones. They usually have stacks of em not far from the paper products and if you ask they will give you as many as you want for free. Don't say "I'll take all you have" unless you've come in an empty moving van! I said that the first time and the fellow chuckled as he led me to a stack that would have filled my pickup truck box a good two or three times. You can have it all, he said with a smirk.

The boat was papered and masked and I sprayed a coat of paint onto the cabin and areas of the deck that won't be nonskid. The paint job went OK, but I still have a little more practicing to do before I will be happy with the results. The gun performed well, but I need a little more experience to lay the coat down evenly.

Hanging tarps

 masking off the deck (HVLP sprayer in foreground)
First pass with the HVLP sprayer

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Priming On Deck

We have applied the first coat of two part epoxy primer thinned twenty five percent as recommended by the manufacturer.  We started at the bow and continued aft stopping at the cockpit. We still have a little more work to do in the cockpit area before its ready to prime. We left it overnight to cure and today will sand it with 3M 220 grit production paper and fill and fair any imperfections we find.

Mast Step

The mast step was secured with six stainless steel machine screws. They were stuck fast and required a little persuading to be removed. We didn't want to contaminate the area with oils or solvents so we used a long screw driver and gently tapped the end of the screw driver with a plastic dead-blow hammer as we tried to turn the screw. We were able to turn the screw a quarter inch back and forth and continued using the hammer, gradually being able to turn the fastener back and forth more and more until it was removed. All six fasteners were removed in this manner. Once the fasteners were removed the fitting offered no resistance and was lifted off the deck. Under the fitting was a crumbled mess of some kind of old compound mixed with light corrosion from the fitting. The bottom of the fitting was in very good condition and the corrosion was very slight.


Taping off areas of the deck

We have begun taping off the nonskid areas of the deck in preparation for applying the two part epoxy primer to all the other areas. Tyler, Noah, and I spent a few hours taping using 3M 2080 tape for the straight stretches and slight bends. It is a light to medium tack tape that you can leave on for up to sixty days. It is thin and smooth with a slightly plastic feel to it. We like using a light to medium tack tape as it really lets you know if you've done enough surface cleaning. If you missed a spot the tape wont stick. Its far better to have the tape fail rather than the paint film! We use 3M 471 for going around corners. It is a stretchy plastic tape that can turn a tight corner without tearing. We put a little piece of 2080 over top to prevent it from contracting when stretched around the tight corners.
Almost ready for taping

Taping off areas

3M 471 turns tight corners

Friday, January 15, 2010

More filling and fairing.

Tyler has removed the cockpit hatch hinges and hardware and all of the fittings and hardware that was still on the vessel on deck and in the Cockpit. It was a tedious task, the hardware had been in place for decades and was not easily removed.
With the cockpit hatches removed it is easier to access the lockers and we will be finishing the glass work in them to ensure each is an independent watertight locker.

Today: fill and fair, fill and fair, fill and fair.............

The boys are back in town.

Tyler moved back to town and he and Kris have been helping on the boat for the last two days. They had done the majority of the tough sanding of the bottom and were impressed and inspired by how it looked when finished and painted. They offered to help some more and have sanded the deck and cockpit and cabin. Their friend Anthony stopped by and was pressed into service by the boys, lol, when their friends stop by they hand them a tool and put em to work.......we got fewer and fewer interruptions as the word of our press gang got out among their peer group. They are 19-21 years old respectively and a powerhouse of energy and endurance. All three hand sanded all the corners and edges I could not get with the DA. We are down to spot filling and sanding now.

The cockpit was a mess, someone in the past had taken a grinder to areas of the deck and cockpit and created scars and gouges. Some had been haphazardly filled with resin alone, some had been left ragged and filled with dirt and dust. The areas were sanded down to clean glass with the DA and forty grit disks and by hand where the DA could not get into and then filled with epoxy mixed with west systems 406 and 407 fillers.

Tyler removed the worn wood inserts from the cockpit seats. The one on the starboard side was pried up and popped right out. Not so for the port side. It was bedded well in the original resin and had to be chiseled out, then sanded down with a grinder equipped with a flap sanding disk. They cleaned up well.

The inventor of the Jordan drogue recommends two chain-plates be bolted horizontally to the topsides at the transom to connect the bridle for the drogue. The area must be very strong and transfer the potentially high loads to vessel. I squeezed into the lazzarette and started removing the gel-coat from large areas of the Hull and underside of the deck with the flap sander. The area will be glassed with heavy roving and tied into the bulkhead.

We all wear dust masks......but when the camera comes out the boys ditch the masks for the photo opp if the air is not to bad. They say they've got to look good for the ladies......I told them I didn't think there was that many ladies reading the blog......they told me they show the blog to their friends and have to be lookin' good!

left to right: Anthony, Kris (foreground), Tyler.

Tyler and Kris

Tyler long-boards the cap

Thursday, January 14, 2010

New gadget added to blog.

I added the "follow" gadget to the blog today to make it easier to follow, just click the follow button on the right if you would like to be added.
I really appreciate the feedback I've gotten from readers of the blog.
Thank you. : -D
You've inspired me to keep at it.

Cheers, Don

Thursday, January 7, 2010


The days are cold and crisp outside. The shop is kept at a comfortable fifty five degrees at ground level, about ten or fifteen degrees higher at deck level as the shop heater tends to blow just past the bow and wash the deck with warmth before heating the rest of the shop.
Jon applied new fine-line tape over the antifouling paint to protect the paint line. The measurements for the stripe were transferred down to the new tape line and the old tape removed from the hull.  Now we can prep the topsides and get them ready to paint. There are still some areas that require a little hand work before they will be ready to coat and we are slowly getting them done one by one. I am nervous about the fairness of the topsides.....will it be good enough? Its sometimes hard to see in the lighting of the shop just how fair the hull is. It seems to change as you move around the boat and look from different angles. We typically take a vessel out of the shop into natural light and take a good look at it and see how it looks before moving to the next step. I don't have that opportunity, my boat is not easily moved. There is the wall we built and another vessel cribbed in the shop impeding passage to the outside world. We will do the best we can to get it fair and tweak it a little here and there as we proceed.
We will be applying Interlux Epoxy Barrier-Kote 404/414 primer to the topsides when they are ready (hopefully this weekend). It is similar to Pettit Protect but is white. We will also be using it on deck and the cabin as an undercoating as it is recommended for use on crazed and cracked gelcoat.
All day yesterday was spent on deck sanding along the starboard toe rail with a hand block getting it faired and ready for undercoating. We want to have a large portion of the deck ready so we don't waste any excess epoxy primer we may have left over when we coat the topsides.

Nothing will be done today. We got called out to save a sinking boat. We got on site in less than an hour but it became evident it was a sunk boat,.....not a sinking boat, so we've gone to plan B and have to get our dive team and tug ready to lift her to the surface for pumping. Then run containment booms etc and get the boat back to the work on my boat today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bottom Paint

After much sanding, filling, fairing, the bottom was finally ready for coating!
In total, eleven holes from previous thru-hulls, instruments, etc. were repaired and glassed over. Three were left, and a few more will be added when required.
The hull was vacuumed then wiped with Awlgrip surface cleaner TO115 with wax and grease remover using the two cloth method (one wet, one dry) for wipe down. Its a medium fast evaporating solvent that gives you more time than fast evaporating types to do the wipe down. This was then followed by the same two cloth method using Awlgrip T0008 fast evaporating solvent just before painting. It is a mild cleaner that removes hand oils and light contaminants.
Jon (our coatings and detail tech) was kind enough to come in and strike the line, laying the 3/4" fine-line tape on the hull and then 1-1/2" blue tape above and over half of the fine-line to give us more room to over brush the line. He gave us some pointers on rolling out the paint and off we went.
Two coats of two part Pettit Protect epoxy barrier coat was applied by roller. No sanding was done between coats, its not required if you follow the dry and recoat times on the can. It has a long recoat time before sanding is required so its easy to schedule and make work.
The following day the entire hull was sanded with 80 grit and wiped with the T0008 in preparation for the antifouling paint. We could have tried to apply the antifouling in the allotted time without having to sand, but the margins allowed for recoating between the barrier coat and the antifouling paint are much shorter than the margins for the barrier coat. Its very temperature and time dependent and if you get it wrong then the coating fails after its been in the water for a few months, just falls of the barrier coat in large flakes. Hulls don't dry evenly, and the time between starting at the bow and finishing at the stern must be taken into consideration.Yup, we know this from experience. We have used Pettit for all but a few of the bottoms we have done in our yard for the past ten years. We got bit twice in the first year with the antifouling flaking off the barrier coat and made it a company policy to sand between the barrier coat and the antifouling coat and have never had a problem since. Two coats of Pettit Trinidad SR was applied by roller. The stuff is 76% cuprous oxide and has anti-slime agents. Two more coats will be applied before the boat heads for the ocean. If applied more than two months before launching the Pettit rep recommended misting or spraying  the hull with water once a month to keep the paint active.
After painting we sat there and just stared at the hull for a while and grinned.......two years we've been waiting to see paint on the hull.......two long years! 

Jon applies the fine-line tape

Pettit Protect Barrier Coat

Pettit Trinidad SR antifouling coat