Friday, August 29, 2008

Achievable Perfection

I have reached that point.

Touching up the hull was a mistake. The burned through spots I believe are caused by minute discrepencies in the hull. This old Pearson hull is no where near fair. Sanding the spot primed areas just hit the high spots again before the primer was completely sanded smooth bringing the burned through spot right back where it was before. In addition, the edge between the sanded primer and the fresh rolled on primer had a hard edge. Sanding the edge smooth often took away too much of the previously sanded surface thereby creating a new burn through spot. All and all it is a draw. I made a few spots better. I made a few spots worse. I would have been better off just leaving it alone.

I am holding onto my pennies until I get the final cost of the topcoat application covered. It wouldn't be right to leave my friendly painter with an unpaid bill. I was hoping my plastic deadlight windows would be okay for a couple of seasons but a good cleaning and honest appraisal quickly pointed out that only new lexan was going to work with the freshly painted boat. Oh well, add it to the credit card.

The boat will tentatively be picked up next Wednesday. Something might be done before the weekend but I expect at least a week before the painting operation is 'done' and I can take pictures. Let's say Wednesday, September 10th is the day the boat will roll out with new colors. Setting a deadline seems to be good for me. Hopefully, I didn't just make myself look like a lazy idiot...

I am tired from obsessing about this boat.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


With the move to the paint shop fast approaching I washed down the decks with a little soap and water. The birds have been eating blackberries and then using the foredeck for target practice. There is an industrial park next door that generates a lot of dust too. It was just time to hose it all down. The interior got rather wet but everything is painted or epoxied so I am not real worried about water damage at this point.

Then I indulged my vanity. The secret color is not going to go well with the black bottom. Wanting to put my fresh paint job in its best light, I painted the bottom with a more neutral color.

I seem to remember puting two coats of ACT bottom paint on and using less than a gallon of paint. I used about 3/4 of a gallon this time and only covered the bottom once. I used Micron CSC, more for the superior coloring than anything. I was pretty happy with the cheap ACT before but I thought I would give the Micron a try. That's about $150 worth of paint. Vanity is not cheap. It was nice to cover up the thru-hulls and hull patches. I want to spend a day on the rudder doing some preventative maintenance so I didn't paint it. Kind of makes the boat look sporty with the black rudder.

I fixed the tear in the tarp but I think I will be ordering a new tarp for the fall. Sadly, this tarp didn't make it a season but that is my fault not the tarp. I felt some resistance and gave an extra tug. Oops. My last silver tarp lasted two years.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

As good as it is going to get

I think I am reaching my point of achievable perfection on the hull prep.

I caught myself working on details that I couldn't even see from more than 3 feet away and under the counter to boot!

Having to wait a couple of weeks for the second coat of gray primer and having to open a second can to do so has its issues. It seems there is a slight color variation between the coats. As I sand through the topmost coat I hit a darker coat underneath. I am not sure it makes a difference. It might even add some mystery to to the final topcoat color. A sort of ambiguous shading. Others might refer to it as elephant skin.

Here is a closeup with my thumb for scale.

I didn't really notice it until it was pointed out. The pictures tend to really highlight the contrast and in real life I don't think it looks so bad. I probably have some dust on the hull which is making the color differences look worse too.

In any event, there isn't much I can do about it unless I want to put a couple more coats on and sand it off again. That's not going to happen. I can barely flex my wrists to type today. I am done hand sanding for awhile. With what I know now, I think it would have been much better to pay the painter to spray the 545 primer as well as the topcoat. From my conversations with painters, a sprayed prime coat often doesn't even need to be sanded or at most a light brushing. My last coat was relatively smooth but it still took some time to sand smooth. I probably spent 12 hours over the past two days with a hand sanding block in my hand. It feels great. It looks okay. Next time I will pay to avoid the pleasure. It was a good learning experience though.

I did burn through in a few small spots about the size of a quarter. No big deal but I decided to spot prime them and sand them in a couple of days. Whether it works or not I am basically done. When the painter sees it we will talk about whether it is good enough for a base coat. If not, I will cry, and hopefully he will offer to spray a coat of gray 545 on the hull before putting on the topcoat.

I started going over the decks again but the industrial park next door has been laying down a slight amount of dust and dirt that really needs to be cleaned up before I grind it in with sandpaper. I installed the mooring bit temporarily so the boat hauler will have something to hook a strap around.

And I did an improptu experiment today. Last week when I was finished with the hull priming I still had a quarter of a can of mixed up primer. I didn't want to leave it lying around so I poured it back into the empty can and took it home. Then I forgot about it until today when I needed a bit more. I had to do some testing before I figured out which was the mixed up batch and which was the single base part. The mixed part seemed to still be viable so I used it on a couple of spots. It dried REALLY quick on the hull and it hardened very quickly in the paint tray too. I tried it on two spots before I really noticed how quickly it was going off. The directions give a pot life of 12 hours or so. This can had been sitting with the lid tightly sealed for maybe a week. The results of the experiment was that the old mixed primer might look okay and seem to behave okay at first but it isn't the same as the 'fresh' stuff. It was an interesting experiment but I can't recomened using old mixed up primer.

Another day, another inch of sanding dust...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Punch lists

With time running short, it was time to create a punch list of things to do to get the boat ready for painting. Nothing like a list a mile long for a little extra motivation.

1.) go over hull and spot sand the small stuff.

2.) go over deck and spot sand the small stuff.

3.) Install the mooring bit temporarily. (per boat hauler's request - he wanted something near the bow to hold onto)

4.) paint the bottom. Pure vanity on my part. I don't want the pictures of the fresh paint job marred by the black bottom paint.

5.) prepare windows and ports. With luck, I can get these installed before the boat comes back.

6.) clean the inside of the boat and make it presentable. More vanity.

7.) repair tarp. I ripped my new tarp and it needs to be repaired. The rip is over the cockpit so any water getting in hasn't been a problem but it is time to deal with it.

So, not too bad. Should be possible without too much stress.

Then I thought I would make a list of things that need to be done when the boat comes back. Depending on how long the boat is at the painter's, I might be able to knock off some of it up there. Being unemployed, I was thinking of following the boat up and 'helping out'. I have a couple of strong-ish job leads though so I don't know how it will work out yet.

First priority is making the boat weather tight. So...

install ports and deadlights
install chainpipes
install deck fill fittings
install stanchion bases
install water deck fitting (chimney)
install anchor roller
install mooring bit (permanently)
install cockpit locker lids
install cockpit hatches (4)
install wood trim (mostly vanity but it also clears out my storage area which is good since I might be moving sometime)

I may or may not start the winter cover. I am going to do something a bit different this year because I don't want the tarp to rest on my new paint. It is easier to show than describe but I basically need a ridgepole, supports at either end, and a way to anchor the tarp down low and away from the hull sides. The only point of contact will be on the sheerline which is okay since the toerail and rub rail is there.

And that brings up the other big(-ish) project of the fall which is:

Build toerail and rubrail. I feel a bit daunted about it but I have been assured it goes relatively quickly and I have a helper lined up. I could skip a toerail as I can launch and sail without it but it would look funny I think.

I also need to complete my engine electrical panel and engine instrument panel.

And the final punch list goes something like this:

install engine throttle and choke controls
install engine transmission shift linkage
install engine electrical panel
install engine instrument panel
wire engine
install engine fuel system (from tank to carburetor)
install engine raw water inlet hose and strainer
install engine exhaust hoses and muffler
install bilge blower
install propeller shaft and propeller

install deck drains
install cockpit drains
install chainplates
install stays and struts
intall stanchion tubes (hopefully replacing them with double wire tubes)
install stanchion gate braces so I can open the aft section without all the lifelines drooping
run lifelines
assemble and install roller furler
remove wires from mast (so the clanging doesn't drive me batty again)
run halyards
install traveller
install jib sheet tracks (4)
install manual bilge pump
wire and plumb electrical bilge pumps (2)wiring them temporarily for the season
connect head plumbing
install hardware for companionway ladder

change engine oil
wake up engine

That should get the boat launch-able.

Other stuff that would be nice

interior paneling on bulkheads and settees
galley countertop
galley water plumbing (fresh and salt water)
lazy jacks
solid fuel heater
finish the icebox
mounting for the single burner gimbaled swing stove

Things that will HAVE to wait:

electrical system (everything but the engine start system)
painting the mast
wiring the mast
new boom
boom vang
reefing hardware on new boom
finishing the interior (trim and nice stuff like window blinds)
cooking stove
fathometer (depth meter)
all the fancy electronics

So, I shouldn't feel bored in the near future...

Monday, August 25, 2008


Just some pictures today of last week's work. We have a bit of rain coming through but the rest of the week is looking okay. Now I really need to sit down and see what needs to happen to get the boat ready to move. Funny to think that I was hoping to send the boat to the paint shop in May.

This is the only good hull picture. The rest were taken in the middle of the day and the contrast was a bit much. Silly me. I am a sucker for the wet shiny hull look.

A second coat of paint on the lower portions and the fourth coat on the overhead. I am still not thrilled with the overhead. I am getting concerned that my abilities and talents are not going to match my expectations. I should 'settle' for the best I can do but I am not too happy with that. I want better but I really don't have the skills. Its a dilemma.

The v-berth panels minus the fake drawer fronts. The drawer fronts have a couple more coats of varnish to go before I install them.

The panel behind the head. The area suddenly got smaller with the panel in place. Funny, it fit perfectly before I took it home to paint and install the door frames. Now it seems a bit off. Luckily I can cover the discrepency with trim pieces.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Guest visits and a night in the doghouse

Work is being done but my ability to update the blog has been hampered by a number of guest visits to the boat. Last night my guest visit extended into the time my girlfriend had reserved for a special home cooked meal and I got to eat the special meal cold and out of the dog's dish.

I am busy getting back into good graces today and the pictures will have to remain in the camera for another day or two.

In brief, (since I have to get off this computer immediately!)...

I put what I think is the final coat of hull primer on. The starboard side is sanded baby bottom smooth and it looks good. I burned through in just a few spots but they are pretty small and I am not sure if I am going to worry about it.

The overhead got a fourth coat of the yacht enamel. It doesn't really look any different from the third coat except I missed a spot so graciously pointed out by one of my guests. I may say good enough for this year or I may deal with it but I am pushing it down the priority list for now.

The settee bottoms and lockers got a second coat of Bilge-kote. They are looking pretty good. I will probably hold off for a final 'freshening' just before I close the settee lockers in with paneling.

I put a first coat of the yacht enamel on the previously primed beadboard. I don't really think they need a second coat. I will think about it.

I put a first coat of varnish on the oak mast beam and vertical oak posts.

I test fit the beadboard panel behind the head. Suddenly the head area looks much smaller but the panel with the original and freshly varnished doors look pretty nice. For some reason the panel fit perfectly before but it doesn't now. I think I can fix it with some trim. There seems to be more angle in the deck than I thought. The door frame is level with the deck line which makes it look a bit slanting. I am not sure if I am the only one to really notice or not. It was much easier to put the frame in on the bench but now I wonder if I should have installed it in place where I could have visually checked it while putting it together.

I really have to go now and buy a nice breakfast. Pictures soon.

never never leave your girlfriend with a fancy home cooked meal at home while you hang out at the boatyard talking about your overly obsesive boat project. Being forgetful is no excuse.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Clear, dry, and windy

Clear dry and windy so no hull primer today.

Yesterday had the threat and afternoon arrival of thundershowers. The usual. I really don't have to mention the weather any more. It is always the same. Too hot, too windy, or too wet...

With a guest coming I decided to do some heavy sanding in the interior and then vacuum inside and hose out the bilge to get rid of the dust that has been accumulating for too long. The settees often get used as a workbench so they had lots of drips and spills. The V-berth bed got a little messed up when I was insulating and the fumes from the contact cement started effecting my motor skills and I got sloppy. So, I took the DA sander to the V-berth bunk and settee bases. I also took a belt sander to a couple of edges that had never lined up and ... well, made them line up. While I was sanding I did a quick wipe on the oak beams that support the mast. Then I cleaned. That hole I drilled in the bottom of the boat to drain the winter water has really paid off. I can hose down everything and it always drains out completely. Drilling a hole in the bottom of my boat was a very good idea.

So, with a clean boat I decided to give all the raw wood a coating of boiled linseed oil to seal it. It's my nod to the old time traditions and it can't hurt. Its kind of nice to work with stuff that isn't so toxic too. I tend to use it as my first method of protection on all my wood.

Today, I really had hoped to prime the hull. It was way too windy. Since I had oiled my teak drawer fronts yesterday I decided to give them a first coat of thinned out varnish. I can do this at home in the garage and out of the wind. Since I had the varnish out I decided to give my head locker doors and framing a last coat of 'rubbed effect' varnish. I really like the look of the rubbed effect on the interior wood. A nice satiny look without the bright shine of varnish. And since I was in the varnishing mode I decided to look at my other exterior wood bits. I will have to put some on after painting to close up some holes in the deck. Most of the exterior wood was in good shape. It all has 7 coats of varnish and six months of actual use before being removed and stuck in the basement. It was pretty dusty but after cleaning it up most of it looked pretty good. There were too pieces that I must have dripped some epoxy on at some point so I sanded them down to wood and put a thinned coat of varnish on. Then I put a coat of varnish on all the other pieces just to 'freshen' them up. They aren't perfect but perfectly adequate for one season so I am not going to go crazy on them with so much else to do.

So, since my painting skills were up I decided to put a third coat of the semi-gloss enamel on the overhead liner. This time, I thinned to the recomended amount (10%)and added a drop of Penetrol. My chemist friend said that all oil bases paints used to have the ingredients in Penetrol but when they started trying to save money they left it out- along with switching to low quality synthetic resins. So I tried it and applied it with just a foam roller, no tipping with the brush afterwards. It came out much better. I might put a fourth coat just to make it that much better and cover some stubborn dark spots. I had sanded through the primer in a few spots where I had made repairs and I should have re-primed. The Interlux Premium Interior Enamel just doesn't cover up the dark spots very well. All in all though, looking much better and close to acceptable.

So... then I thought I would keep going and primed the V-berth lower panels and icebox front panel with Interlux Pre-kote primer. The fir beadboard grain shows up badly and really needs a lot of prep to make look nice.

Then I thought I would get out my favorite paint and start painting the settee bottoms and the inside of the future storage lockers. I love working with Bilge-kote. Hardly any prep is necessary. I have never primed first. I just lay it on and it works well. It isn't up to exposed interior standards but for the bilge (which is what it is designed for after all) and the inside of storage lockers it works fine. Plus, it is super resistant to oils, mold, and other yucky stuff that finds its way into the nether regions. When I cleaned up my V-berth I thought I was going to sand through it but it held up quite well and I could sand off all the glue drips without cutting through the paint. Good stuff, that Bilge-kote. Anyway, I applied a single coat all over the place. It needs another coat to cover. The wood was VERY thirsty. But I expected that.

So now I have a very white boat interior.

I almost continued to the cockpit storage lockers but they really aren't prepped for it. In the past few months they have received some drips and other anomalies that need to be sanded out first. I wasn't going to sand with all that wet paint everywhere. It was a good day so I called it quits.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ready, Set, ... oh... wait a minute.

Yesterday dawned bright and sunny. I rushed out to the boatyard, untarped the boat, water rinsed the hull, taped the water line, dry wiped the hull for any remaining dust, and then noticed the flag across the street had begun to stand up straight. Too much wind for hull priming.

Soooo, I switched gears and put a second coat of semi-gloss white on the cabin overhead liner.

This time I doubled up the amount of thinner, twice the recomended amount, because I had trouble with brush marks on the first coat. It definitely came out better but I still have some slight brush marks on the saloon cabin liner. The aft overhead liner was the last part I did and I suspect the thinner might have evaporated a bit which contributed to the brush marks. The vertical surfaces and the surfaces under the side decks don't show any brush marks. My reasoning for doing the top last is that I had a chance to work out my technique under the sidedecks where no one will ever look. Now I think I can start with the part that is most visible. In the forecabin liner I used a foam roller and did not tip it out afterwards. The foam roller leaves lots of little air bubbles in the paint but they virtually all went away before the paint set up. The layer was completely even though I can see roll marks faintly. I definitely need a third coat to cover everything and I hope I can refine my technique just a little bit more.

With the second coat of paint on the overhead liner I switched to cabinet making. The forward lower panel on the V-berth has bothered me for some time. I usually just leave it up so it looks finished in the pictures but actually it has simply been resting there. To do the job properly, I had to build a little framework around the edges for the panel to attach to.

That framework is actually made out of some sticks I found in my basement that were used to hold up vegetables in the garden at least 30 years ago. My grandfather's aunt used to rent the place I am in now so there was a lot of very strange stuff down there When I was cleaning out the basement I found these sticks and they were just too nice to toss out. They look a bit like mahogony but I really don't know what they are. Good wood - I only know that much - and I finally found a good use for them.

Here it is with the panels all up.

The rectangular cutouts are for fake drawer fronts. I have held onto the original Triton teak faced drawers thinking I might use them somewhere. After four years I am convinced I will never use the drawers but I felt the drawer fronts were too nice to toss out. So, I have busted the drawers apart and I will mount the teak fronts to the beadboard panels for show. I think they make for a nice look. The forward middle panel is cut in the middle and is hinged to fold down so that I can access the top of the water tank as well as the tank outlet and the small area behind the tank. On the starboard side, I cut into the panel to expose the storage area I built last year. The two water fill hoses run through this area under the V-berth too so I needed to gain access at some point. Once the deck is painted I can finish up the water fills. As for the port side, I just cut out a rectangle for the drawer front. The holding tank is right behind the panel and there is nothing to access on that side. I just thought it would look funny not to have its own drawer face. It would have been much easier to cut out the hole before I mounted the panel. There wasn't enough room for a saw blade behind the panel and bumping into that heavy stainless steel tank isn't good for saw blades either. I ended up using my drill and a wood chisel to make the cut and it was rough. Today I had to 'fix' the paneling a bit with some epoxy. It will all get painted when I am done...

And then I glued in the two brackets that will hold the interior panels under the galley. I can't finish the insulation or interior panel until I have the cherry plywood to make the galley cabinet fronts. Hopefully this fall, but my money supply will dictate when that low(er) priority project gets done.

Rain clouds ended my day early but I also managed to sand down the decks where the non-skid will be with 220 grit sandpaper. I had a single coat of white 545 primer on the non-skid areas that didn't cover very well. I had hoped to put more down but ran out of material. I have been holding off on this sanding because I had hoped to go back and work on the cabin top some more. Every time I am on deck with a paint can I spill or splatter a bit so I didn't want to sand until I was finished with the deck and cabin priming. With my time window running short and the weather continuing to cause problems I decided to make the best of the sunny day and knock off this obnoxious project. I found that I still have bad feelings about sanding and I am not quite ready to love it again.

Finally, I found a special tool every deep keeled Triton owner needs to buy. I found this at CVS and it makes reaching down into the deepest parts of the bilge a breeze. And only $10 too! Sorry for the funky picture. The lighting was funny and I have tried to fix it by playing with Adobe photoshop with only limited success.

Any progress is good progress. There might be a weather window this weekend for the final hull primer application. Or maybe I will just send it up to the painter's 'as-is' and let him fix it all for me :-)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Rain, rain, rain, rain...

Sadly, a miserably sad report this week. Rain every day. I managed to roll back the tarp and do some small bits but I couldn't leave the tarp off long enough to apply any primer or do anything substantial.

The little I did this week was to sand the first coat of Interlux Premium Yacht enamel that I had applied to the overhead liner last week. I also worked on finishing up a panel in the V-berth. Its an opening panel so I had to build some support for the moveable portion. It was in between rain showers and I didn't have my camera with me.

I really, REALLY wish I had put at least a tarp roof over the boat when I had the chance. Of course I had no idea we would have this freaky weather pattern. This rain is definitely not normal. I would put up a ridgepole and framing for a tarp roof to work under but the boat is scheduled to be moved at the end of the month so I am not sure I see the point. Although, at the rate I am making progress maybe I should anyway. I will have to dismantle it to move the boat so I figured it wasn't worth it. Once again, I underestimated my obstacles...

No matter what, the boat is moving for final topcoat at the end of the month. So no matter how bleak it looks right now it will look very different a month from now. At least that is encouraging.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

More rain

The weather is killing me.

I have a whole month before the boat goes in the shop for painting and all I really need to do is to put another coat of primer on the hull and sand it smooth. The ways things are going however I am actually getting a bit nervous.

This week, I managed to sand the inside cabin liner that I had primed months ago and put the first coat of Interlux Premium Yacht Enamel Semi-gloss white on. I thought it was thinned appropriately but I have some light brush marks so I guess I better up the thinner. The liner needs at least another coat and probably two anyway. I feel like all I do is paint and then sand it off, and then paint, and then sand it off...

The semi-gloss white is going to be a hit though. I thought the primer made a big difference but the real paint really looks good. It was a nice hint of things to come.

I also continued with my struggle to paint Interlux Brightsides on some aluminum panels. Of the two panels, one came out okay.

I am thinking I really should have used black plastic for the instrument panels. As a matter of fact, if I can find the money I am going to order some. I am sick and tired of trying to get a professional looking paint job with my skills. Or maybe I will live with it for a year and add it to my 'someday' list. It isn't really THAT bad. I just know I can do better. The Stewart Warner guages are nice, I had forgotten I had them in a box on the shelf. Lucky for me I forgot how much those little buggers cost too. The five guages are: Tachometer in the center with built in hobbs meter. The tach is actually a Datcom product. Stewart Warner didn't offer a tach in the same style as the other guages strangely. Oil pressure on the upper left, Water temp on the lower left, Ammmeter on the upper right, and Voltmeter on the lower right. All the guages are lighted and (except for the tach) come from the Stewart Warner 'Heavy Duty' line of guages. There is room for expansion on either side if the mechanic in me decides to add some cool stuff later. I really don't need the voltmeter but I wanted to balance the panel (it was pretty cheap) and it can help interpret problems I see on the ammeter

The panel is going to go in the original hole at the back of the cockpit. There was a teak access door there and I am filling it with this panel. I am also planning on picking up some teak to frame the panel and set it in a little. The framing will probably cost over $50 with the price of teak today so I am going to wait until next week to face that dilemma. I suppose I could cut down some of the teak trimmings from the original interior and re-use it. I was going to put the trim back in but I could just as easily use new cherry trimmings that will match the planned cherry panels anyway.

Sorry for the continued delays. I really try to get out to the boat more often but there was only one day this week without rain or the imminent threat of rain and the humidity has been wicked. On the one sunny day this week, I had an all day job interview. It took all day to drive, fill out paperwork, take tests, and be told in the first ten seconds of the interview that I was way over-qualified. Grrr...