Tuesday 16 January 2024

Repainting The Hull | Sanding & Stripping

With the boat back inside the workshop it was time to gird up my loins and start the daunting task of removing all the paint.

I kept telling myself that all I had to do was repaint it, and that it would not be too hard.

I had learned how to do it the wrong way, so now I would do it the right way by adhering strictly to the paint manufacturer's instructions. And that would be a lot less work than my original approach which was (let's face it) driven by pursuit of a perfect finish and therefore doomed as a result!

So out came the sanders again. I thought I had seen the last of them for a while, but no.

I've got two Festool sanders.

The big one is 150mm in diameter, and is really too big and aggressive for this sort of thing, as the test soon showed.

The smaller one is 90mm in diameter, and proved to be just what was required when fitted with a semi-flexible sanding head.

Here they are on the bench, ready go.

I used a P80 grit to sand the bottom and side panels with the Rotex 90, carefully avoiding all edges such as the chines, stem, transom and keel.

I planned to use paint stripper on all edges and the keel, because it would be less aggressive and allow more careful removal of paint.

This is the paint stripper which I decided to use.

It is eco friendly and doesn't contain any of the nasty stuff present in traditional paint strippers, so it is easy and safe to use.

I don't know how it works but this is what it says on the tub.

It is water based and cleans up very easily without burning your hands and eyes!

I used my Bahco scrapers to remove the paint from the keel, chines and rub rail joins. Here they are.

The sanding took ages but was effective. Inevitably I sanded through the fibreglass cloth sheathing in a few places, so some patching will be required.

The paint stripper was surprisingly effective, and very easy to use. I was prepared to find it didn't really work as well as the nasty stuff (like Nitromors), but it was excellent.

I didn't quite manage to finish the entire lower hull before Christmas brought activity to a halt. I've still got the bottom of the keel and the varnished transom to go, but it's nearly ready for the next stage.

Here is the sanded and stripped hull.

We set off on our travels in the South Pacific at the beginning of January, and I am writing this post in New Zealand.

It will be March before we get back to the UK and I can start work on PocketShip's second and final coat of paint.

Let's hope she sees the water this year!

Thursday 23 November 2023

Moving The Boat | She's Back Inside!

I felt that the boat should be moved back into the workshop as soon as possible, before the weather turns too cold and wet for it to be enjoyable.

A crew of friends and family was assembled and a date was set. The move was scheduled for 1300 on Sunday 19th November.

The (by now) usual bribes of homemade pizza, cakes and biscuits, and bottles of beer were dished out.

Not much beer was consumed but everything else was devoured, as if by a plague of hungry locusts!

Here is the boat back inside and upside down again, seen from the side.

The manual says something about hoping that's the last time you see your boat the wrong way up when you flip it upright again.

Well, I've seen it upside down twice now and it hasn't even touched water!

Here she is, seen from astern.

This is one side of the rear dolly.

I had to raise the height of the front dolly and reinforce it, because I had measured incorrectly. This is what it now looks like.

I was relieved to have the boat back inside, although not looking forward to all the prep and painting that now lies ahead.

Finishing The New Tiller

Like the acrylic drop boards, making the second tiller was a fun project.

I had previously varnished it and when it was nice and hard I wet sanded and polished it to a smooth and shiny finish.

This is it.

It's going to be a while before that gets deployed, but it's done and I enjoyed making it.

Drop Boards | Making Acrylic Boards

While getting ready to move the boat (again) I decided to make the acrylic drop boards that came with the kit.

I thought it would be fun and might distract me from thinking about repainting the boat.

I had already made a flange for the upper drop board from Sapele.

Here I am polishing it after wet sanding to get a nice smooth and shiny finish.

I removed the protective covering from the board and masked it off for the transparent caulking compound, and fitted the flange with the board in the vice. Like this.

That was straightforward and looked very nice.

I used M4 pan head machine screws and domed nuts, as on the drop board retainers on the companionway.

I used a steel rule to make sure that screw heads lined up nicely, as here.

I waited for the caulk to cure and then made a test fit.

Here are the boards with the slide closed.

And here they are with the slide open.

They look really good! I enjoyed that.

Moving The Boat | Making New Dollies

The boat will need to be supported when upside down in the garage, so a pair of dollies is required.

I didn't need to think too hard about how to do this, having already done it once.

I used the same measurements and used the mitre saw to cut some inexpensive but strong studding to length. Like this.

It didn't take too long to make them, and I fitted some braked casters so the boat can be easily moved around.

Here they are.

As before a stout vertical timber post takes the compression load at the stern on each side, and a strong plastic bucket is fixed over it to keep it upright.

Onwards and upwards.

Paint Blisters Update (2)

In the previous post I said that the expert from TeaMac told me that the blisters are being caused by microscopic air pockets which I introduced to the paint when using a soft foam roller and brush to roll on and tip out the paint.

He may well be right, but a friend who is a professional painter and decorator has told me that blisters are usually caused by water. He asked if moisture could be coming out of the wood. That isn't possible of course. The marine ply is encased in fibreglass cloth and epoxy resin. But I do remember painting the boat during the winter, when I suppose dampness could have been a problem.

And I have been thinking about what else I might have done to cause the problem.

It only happens to the white paint, and it occurs all over the boat. So it is something which I have consistently done regardless of season, temperature and humidity.

One of the things Andy from TeaMac told me was that I should be using their own Thinners 14 to clean brushes and rollers. This is it.

I didn't. I used inexpensive brush cleaner from the DIY store. Here it is.

Even worse, I reused it after the paint had settled to the bottom over night … so I am thinking that this might have contaminated the foam brushes very slightly, and something in the white paint could have reacted to it.

So there we have it. One expert says it's air. Another says it's water. And now I think it could be solvent.

It could of course be all three.

The only thing we can be sure about is that we don't know. Not for the first time!

Friday 27 October 2023

Paint Blisters | Update (1)

I got in touch with the paint manufacturer who had supplied all my paint and asked them what could be causing the blisters.

They were really helpful and sent someone out to inspect the blisters and offer any help.

So Andy from TeaMac spent an hour with me and gave me some extremely useful advice.

I explained how I had painted the boat. Five coats of primer sanded smooth, followed by ten coats of gloss which was wet sanded with wet'n'dry and then polished with buffing compound.

I was relieved to be told that was the right strategy, but the tools I had used were not suitable. I used a soft foam roller to apply the paint and a foam brush to tip it out. These are my tools.

It turns out that the foam in both roller and brush actually introduce tiny air pockets between the layers of paint which are sealed in when the paint dries but expand under certain conditions of temperature and humidity.

That's what is happening to my boat. I was so relieved to find out.

Andy said that he would usually remove a square of paint for testing by cutting it out with a knife, but he was very impressed with the build quality and would not damage the surface. He knew what the problem was.

Again he said he would normally tell some people to just live with the blisters but in my case he said I should repaint the boat because he knew I couldn't do that.

He was really, really complimentary about the boat, which made me feel a lot better about messing up the paint.

He told me what I should be doing, and even brought a top quality roller set and a brush for me to use. This is them.

The roller sleeves are short pile micro fibre and interestingly the brush is synthetic. I have always been told to use pure bristle brushes for solvent based paint. But I am going to do what Andy says!

He is going to send me some fresh paint and thinners to have a practice at getting this right. I should be using a special Thinners 14 for cleaning brushes and rollers - not brush cleaner.

I asked about when and where to do the repaint. Andy said it would be best to wait until the spring, and do it indoors.

My idea of using a PVC car tent was not good - they harbour moisture and cause humidity problems. So that's out.

So it looks like the boat is going back into the garage at some point. Unless I can find a suitable workshop but that's not looking likely so far.

I need to make a pair of dollies for it to rest upon upside down again. We are certainly getting a lot of practice at this!

The build has now entered its sixth year. I fervently hope it will be its last.

The great thing is that I will have an opportunity to correct some things that I am not happy about, apart from the paint.

I have always worried about the centreboard pendant. The hole in the board was too small but I didn't know at the time and forced the knot into it. I also didn't seal the knot very well and was concerned that it might fail. I can fix this now because I have to remove the board anyway to to repaint it.

And the keel fillets are not very good. It's purely cosmetic, I know, but they can now be made much nicer.

What a journey she really is turning out to be...