Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Preliminary Sanding

(It's been a while since I've updated the blog. Fortunately, this time, it wasn't because I wasn't working on the boat - I just wasn't working on the blog).

Once I got done with filling holes, it was time to start sanding in preparation for the epoxy coats. The bare wood needed sanding to remove scratches and the odd drips of stray epoxy. The fillets needed sanding to smooth them out. And finally, the fiberglassed sections needed sanding to allow epoxy to adhere to them.

I started on the bottom, with the boat upside-down. It was tedious, but certainly not difficult. I hand sanded it because it was easy enough and to avoid sanding through the top plies. I started with (bulk purchased) 80 grit, moved my way into 150 grit and ended with 240 grid sandpaper.

The outside, after sanding.

I then flipped the boat over and started working on the inside. This was more tedious (and not because I was hand sanding) - there were a lot of fiddly bits to worry about: bulkheads, under the seats, etc. It was also time to deal with the large divot I put into one of the panels on the inside when the boat slipped off one of its sawhorses. I used a trick I read about in "How to Build Glued -Lapstrake Wooden Boats" by John Brooks and Ruth Ann Hill. He recommended placing a wet paper towel over the gouge and then placing a very hot iron over it. The iron causes the water to turn into steam which re-expands the crushed wood fibers. I worked extremely well, athough there will alway be a mark in that spot. But no putty or extra epoxy filler would be required.

The inside, after sanding.

At the end of the second day of sanding, the boat was ready for epoxy.

During this time, I began epoxy coating the kick-up rudder. I used the same technique for the first coat that I used for the seat bottoms: 30 minutes after putting the epoxy on, I scraped off all of the excess. After the first coat had hardened, I lightly sanded and added the 2nd coat. I have to admit that I was underwhelmed by the resulting finish. I guess I was expecting too much, something approaching a smooth varnished look. The epoxy surface was not perfectly smooth. There were bubbles (or dust) in it. Its thickness wasn't uniform. After doing this I questioned the value of scraping back the first coat.

The rudder pieces, after the 2nd coat of epoxy.

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