Sunday, September 21, 2008

Blog changes

Just a quick note to mention that I have added a 'subscriptions' gadget at the top of the right hand panel. With it, readers will receive notifications when a new post is put up rather than having to check in every five minutes... (yeah right)

There is also a new gadget at the the bottom of that sidebar list to add your name to the list of readers. I like talking to myself but I might also be curious to see who is actually listening. If you feel like being annonymous don't worry, you can 'sign in' annonymously. In any case, I will continue to blog even if there is no one on the list. Like I said, I like talking to myself. That way I never have to worry about being interupted or asked awkward questions. Well, that isn't quite true but let's leave it at that.

Paint = Done

Someone took my boat and I can't find it anywhere.

In its place is this other beautiful boat. I am finding it hard to get around the idea that this 'new' boat is mine also. It just looks so different and suddenly I am tip toeing around not wanting to leave a fingerprint anywhere.

Curiously, the topcoat was much darker when I returned. Something about the curing process continued to darken the color and I am just fine with that. My first impressions immediately after painting were of a little concern in regards to how light the color was. I was hoping for an almost black but not quite kind of look and right after painting the boat was clearly purple.

After a week of curing it is mostly black-ish with a hint of something else. With the sun low on the horizon I expect to show off the purple but I am okay with that; as long as the boat doesn't scream 'purple people eater' all day long.

What I find quite strange is that inside, when the sunlight through a window strikes the hull it still shows very purple. Outside it doesn't; just through the window. Its an interesting color and I like it. Definitely not like every other boat in the yard.

The non-skid is complete but I forgot to take a decent photo of the finished product. Sorry. I will try to get something next week.

The deadlights and opening ports are in. The opening ports in the head/hanging locker area are only in temporarily as the removal of the headliner there (actually the falling out of the headliner) left a gap that needs to be filled in before the ports will seal tightly. Suddenly the interior feels much smaller when I can't just reach through the holes to the deck or feel the afternoon breeze through the cabin. Putting the glass in definitely makes the boat look more 'complete' though.

Everything I wanted to do at the 'paint shop' is done now but in talking with the shop owner we both came to the conclusion that 1.) the toerail would be much easier to fabricate and install in the heated inside shop space and 2.) There was an open bay at the shop for another week that was going unused and 3.) It sure would be nice to get that toerail up quickly and make the boat look more 'finished' on the outside at least. So, I am shopping for teak tomorrow and will plan on installing it this week. At that point my resources will be tapped out (actually they are now, thank you VISA card...) but at least the 'heavy stuff' will be basically done and what will be left is a thousand small 'one day' projects before the boat is ready for launch.

It has been a productive summer being unemployed and working on the boat every day but I am fast running out of financial resources and I desperately need some income. Anyone got a boat bottom that needs sanding? I work cheap...

It has been an expensive summer but happily, I have a fabulous looking boat to show for it. Not a bad trade in my opinion. No regrets at all.

I will be back next week and the boat will be home the week after or so.

I hope everyone is out there enjoying the last of the good sailing weather. Next spring it will be my turn!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Big Ports

Cutting out the polycarbonate (Lexan) for the large deadlight ports turned out to be quite easy.

Using my jigsaw (technically saber saw I know) with a fine blade I had no problems cutting out the new lexan to match the old ports. I was concerned about heat and melting but it was never an issue. I kept the saw blade moving quickly and I pushed the saw lightly and it cut fine. 'Just like wood'.

I tried using my aggressive hand file (the name escapes me now) to fine tune the fit but the file made slow work of it. My belt sander with 60 grit did a much better job. Again, 'just like wood'. A real bench sander would have been nice but the motor is burned out a the moment. (I got it for free with the burned out motor three years ago. I took the motor out earlier this year so that means I must be making progress!)

The truck is packed with supplies and tools I might need so I just have to get myself ready and I am out of here. I should be back at the end of the week with more progress to report. The same link I posted earlier is still being used to post updates by the shop and will continue to be used until the job in the shop is 'done'.

See you next week!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Getting the ports ready

When I head back up to the paint shop tomorrow I am bringing my ports along so I can start closing the boat up and making it water proof. While the boat is enjoying the indoor storage for now I know it can't last long so I need to get the boat prepared for rain. Somehow I know those first few raindrops on my new paintjob are going to hurt.

By mixing and matching I was able to get all the broken parts (mostly) on one port. I spent a few hours trying to find a glass company that could fix the broken glass. When I dropped it off they said it would probably be ready tomorrow and cost around $7-$8. What a deal.

The port comes apart by pulling out the rubber seal (carefully- its 40 years old) to get to the six #4 screws holding a retaining plate underneath. 5 of the screws came out with some soaking in penetrating oil. The last screw I had to drill out. Sometimes my left turning drill bits will grab the screw at some point and spin it out. Not this time. I am pretty sure I can fill the hole with epoxy and tap a new hole. Its not a high stress fastener.

With the retainer removed I had to scrape out the very hard -what appears to be- window glazing. Its hard, flaky white stuff. With the glazing out the glass popped out easily.

Two of the outer retaining rings are broken on my boat. On one, it is only cracked at one point so I think it will still function correctly. On the other, it was cracked in two places and a chunk was missing. That one I had to fabricate new.

Unfortunately, I didn't have the 0.1" stock I needed so I substituted some 0.063" stock instead. Its a low load application and for now it will hold the port in place and make it water tight. I am going to order the correct material to fix it properly before I set off on my next ocean crossing... The holes are custom drilled so I need to wait until the glass company returns my frame before I can drill the final holes.

One of the large deadlight frames was cracked completely through too. I don't know how I am going to fix it well so instead I stuck some epoxy in there and I am hoping for the best. Again, it is only clamping the lexan sheet between the inner and outer frame so I don't know if it makes a difference - other than cosmetic under close scrutiny. I am going to have to keep my eyes out for a replacement but I am not holding out much hope. Maybe I could have it welded. That might look worse than it is already. For now, it will keep the interior dry until I can do better.

Tomorrow, I pack up and head north again. The plan will be to raise the waterline up to the new bootstripe. When we found the original scribed waterline that I had painted to be no good we raised the bottom of the bootstripe up to more appropriate place and made it straight. That left some topside hull below the bootstripe. I need to sand that bit and apply bottom paint up to the bottom of the bootstripe. It doesn't look bad as-is but the awl-grip isn't going to like being submerged for long. I need bottom paint below the bootstripe.

Then I have the non-skid to paint.

Then I will be installing ports and whatever deck fittings I can squeeze in. I expect the boat to remain at the shop - indoors or outside - for another week or so until the paint has a better chance to cure and its convenient for the painter to haul it back.

Then its rush rush, build a winter cover install a toerail and rubrail, and get to work making the boat launch ready for next spring. Chop chop, there is a lot to do...

Saturday, September 13, 2008


I forgot to mention that working indoors makes a tremendous difference. The boat stays much cleaner, work continues while the rain falls and the wind blows, no tarping up at the end of every day; just far more effective. Next time, shop first then boat project :-)

Friday, September 12, 2008

First impressions


I was looking for a color that was somewhat unique and I think I got more than I bargained for.

The goal was a unique hull color; preferably dark. Blues and greens are good but have already been done often. Dark green has actually been my favorite boat color for many years but I have been seeing too much of it lately. Green is the most popular color in my boatyard- after white of course. Reds are nice but they really aren't 'Me' I guess. It was close. My backup color was claret. Most of my friends in the know were pushing me to make claret as my first choice. Instead I called Awl Grip about making a custom color like a really dark 'eggplant' purple. It turns out they have a stock color in their Awl-craft 2000 line called Aubergine that seemed to be perfect. I wanted an almost black with a little 'something' to it that might be hard to identify right away.

My first impression on seeing the boat after the hull painting was that I had hit the jackpot. It was exactly what I was hoping it to be. As I walked around the boat though, it appeared as though the color was a much lighter and bolder purple. This appears to be a color that changes a lot depending on how the light strikes it. Overall, I think it is a lighter shade than I had envisioned but still very nice. It is less subtle than I had expected and it makes a stronger statement than my meek personality is really comfortable with. This is a color that doesn't hide but rather expresses itself rather strongly. It is purple and it doesn't apologize. Strange as it might seem though, it is a very pleasing shade of purple. In some lighting conditions it retains the very dark, subtle shade that I was looking for. All in all I am very happy with it and I am happy to have found a very unique and pleasing color. I could continue to try and describe it but it is really tough. Even looking straight at it, it just makes you stop and stare and dares you to define it. Both the painter and I spent a good hour or two just walking around saying 'hmmmm...' It is very striking and unique.

The pictures so far are not very good. The boottop is being painted today and will really help set off the hull. The toerail really needs to be there to help define the deck too. And then there is the plastic covering over the deck to protect from overspray. The overspray on the deck covering is a very light pink and purple which makes seeing just the hull difficult. More pictures coming soon.

The plan had been for me to do all the prep work before sending the boat to the paint shop. Then I would stay on site to do all the grunt work like taping, sanding, solvent washing, ect. so the painter dude would only have to spray. This was done to help support my failing finances. The first issue that came up with the deck priming. When the 545 primer is applied by brush or roller, each coat has to sit for 24 hours and then be sanded between coats. This makes it tough to build up any kind of thickness, especially on the rounded corners and sharp edges that tend to get over sanded anyway. We decided to re-apply the primer with spray equipment. That made a HUGE difference. Not only does the spray gun lay down a much more even coat that doesn't require much sanding to make smooth, but all three coats can be applied 45 minutes apart thus sparing the sanding between coats ordeal and guaranteeing a much thicker buildup. That made all the difference. Maybe Awl-grip and the like can be rolled and brushed but it is clearly designed for spraying and when sprayed it is a totally different ball game. There is no comparison between the two methods and I am convinced that spraying is the only way to go. At least as far as the priming is concerned.

With the deck primed, I spent half a day sanding it smooth (compared with 2.5 days for each coat when I rolled it on) and the second half of the day was spent taping and covering the non-skid areas. The following day the deck topcoat was sprayed.

A year's worth of grinding, filling, sanding, fairing, priming, re-priming all covered in a day by shiny bright white topcoat. It is head spinning how fast it all comes together right at the end.

Then of course came the hull which I have already talked about. The priming was decent and didn't require any extra work other than washing off the bugs that got mashed into the bow on the road trip to the paint shop.

Today was boot top day. There was a bit of a head scratching moment when we realized the original scribed in waterline was hogged by about 2 inches. It rose up in the center to an unacceptable amount. It looked okay by eye but when we tried to strike the top edge something was clearly wrong. This meant spending some time getting it straight and going through some old photos to see where the boat liked to float and lining up an entirely new waterline. This turned out to be about 3 inches higher than the scribed line and right around the top edge of the original scribed in boot top which was also hopelessly not straight. I had to leave for home to pay bills and open my 167 emails that I hadn't read since I left for the shop. As I was leaving the painter was just getting the equipment warmed up for the painting of the boot stripe.

And now a plug for 'the painter dude':

Most people involved in boat restoration have heard of Tim Lackey and his Triton Glissando. If you haven't please go right now to my links section and check it out. Don't waste your time here if you haven't read Tim's thorough website detailing the rebuilding of his Triton. Really. Go now. That website is why I am here today with my own boat project. As some have figured out, Tim is 'my painter' that I keep refering to. He is really more of an overall boat guy that paints rather than strictly a painter but 'painter' is easier to write than 'overall boat guy who paints boats too'. Anyway, Tim had a couple of weeks between major projects and he was willing to allow me to work alongside him in his shop to cut down labor costs. He made a professional spray job affordable to me and let me tell you again, spraying is the only way to go unless you have a lot more natural ability than I do when it comes to paints. Tim also happens to have an incredible eye for small details that I would never have thought about and he kept me out of a lot of trouble. There is no way I could have come close to achieving the great results I have had without him. I suggest you also check out his business site where he posts details of his projects. The link I posted last week is the project page he set up for my boat. Really, he does great work and he has an eye for details few can match. More of a 'boat artist' in fact. Check him out.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Good as it is going to get

I really wanted the overhead liner to be finished so I could install the windows and ports as soon as the exterior is painted. So today, I sat down with some paint and thinner, and penetrol and 2 different kinds of rollers and a nice natural bristle brush and decided to experiment until I figured out how to correctly roll and tip.

I failed.

Working under the galley area where no one will ever really look I rolled a short section with a 3/8" mohair roller and then tipped with the dry brush and waited. The brush marks never went away. So I mixed in some more thinner and tried again. Slightly better but not good enough. So I did it again. Same result. I mixed in some more thinner. Same result. I tried my foam roller and tipped. Getting slightly better each time but brush marks every time. So I mixed in a little more thinner, and now I start seeing orange peel. I tried tipping it and it looked like orange peel brush marks.

So I went back to what I knew which was the foam roller and no tipping. I mixed in a fresh can to reduce the percentage of thinner and painted the overhead, starting with the undersides and working my way up to the sides and visible overhead. Its okay. Orange peely. I will get used to it or I will put some automotive headliner material up there some day. It is as good as it is going to get.

I am just not a very good painter.

Wednesday is the day for transporting the boat up to the paint shop so tomorrow is the day for me to prep the boat for moving. I need to clean it out of everything I don't need and put the stuff that does need to go up (like the paint) into the boat so I don't forget it. (that would be embarrassing)

The only other thing that has been happening is that I have been working on a real website. I am a little bothered about Google having all the rights to everything I blog and post so I was thinking of my own real website. I will continue the blog. Its the best way to post the day to day activities. I can also rant about silly stuff and a month later no one will remember it. The website, as I envision it, will be more of a permanent record of what has been done. It will be an easier way to navigate around to see what I did on the various parts of the boat. Going back through these blogs to find the same thing sounds like a nightmare to me. Maybe I am fooling myself to think that someone would want to know what I did but I have enjoyed and benefited from the websites of other boat projects and I wanted to contribute my own efforts. Plus, it is rather fun.

I have never coded in HTML before so there is a bit of a learning curve but my plans are modest and what I have so far suits me fine. When I find a host I will announce it on this blog. Probably not for a couple of weeks yet. The blog will continue throughout the project.

And that's it for today.