Thursday, 8 July 2021

Upper Hull | Sanding & Third Clear Coat

I left the second clear coat to cure for a couple of days before sanding it to a P80 finish.

Here I am nearly through sanding the port half of the boat.

The Rotex 90 sander fitted with a medium soft sanding head is ideal for this, allowing small and curved areas to be neatly sanded to a matt finish.

I finished the cockpit deck and had just started on the starboard topsides, reflecting on how well this sander stands up to continuous use, when with no warning it abruptly stopped working. Totally dead.

This was something of a setback.

Fortunately I had the second sander to fall back on. It's Rotex 150 and is a much bigger and more aggressive beast, so not ideal for this task, but I completed the starboard half of the boat with it.

The third and final coat of clear resin was then applied.

Here is the cockpit viewed from port at the stern.

And here is a view of the forward starboard topsides.

Luckily there is a Festool dealership close by so I was able to put the sander in for repair on the day it failed.

I can't finish-sand the third coat until it comes back from Festool which will hopefully be next week, so I'm taking a break from PocketShip until then.

Upper Hull | Second Clear Coat

There are two more significant activities to carry out on the boat before we flip it over to finish the bottom hull - clear coating the upper hull with epoxy resin, and painting the interior of the cabin.

There are a few minor activities to finish also, such as drilling the footwell drain holes. But they can be done at any stage.

I decided to do the clear coating first.

The entire upper hull was covered with fibreglass cloth in November last year, with the exception of the forward deck and inside topsides which were already finished.

The upper hull had been sanded to a P80 finish and was ready for resin, so thankfully no big sanding job was required.

In a previous post I said that I had problems gluing the mast because the resin had crystallised without me noticing until it became too 'gloopy' to pump and failed to cure properly.

The cure for this is to put the resin container in boiling water and warm it until the resin flows freely again. I did this for all three resin containers which I currently posses and it was completely effective, although it does take 20 to 30 minutes and a lot of hot water to restore a 4 or 5kg container.

But now I was ready for clear coating and had no problems rolling out a thin coat over the exterior of the upper hull. It took several hours, reminding me yet again that this is a big small boat!

Here we see the port forward topsides and roof.

And here we see the cockpit viewed from starboard.

Lastly, here is view from starboard of the forward topsides and cabin roof.

Clear coating is always fun because it covers large areas really quickly!

Friday, 2 July 2021

More Clear Coating

Some parts of the boat still remained uncoated with resin so I gave them a first coat.

This is the slot in the transom for the tiller.

And here are the tabernacle backing plate and the drop board flange in the cabin.

In the above pic the mast has just received its third and final clear coat in situ on the boat..

Cabin Interior | Sanding The Fairing

Some time ago I applied fairing compound to all the seams in the cabin interior, to hide any unattractive joins or gaps.

They now needed to be cleaned up and sanded smooth.

Here is the finished article on the starboard side of the cabin.

And here is the forward cabin wall, with the backing plate nicely faired in.

Sanding these seams was a horrible job. It had to be done by hand and created a lot of dust.

Here is a top tip for sanding right into tight seams. Use an old plastic card and a folded piece of sandpaper, like this.

The card is hard and rigid, but slightly flexible, so you can sand right up to the seam or join and get a neat, clean edge.

Time to think about painting the interior. The manual says to do this when the boat is upside down but I can't see how that would be easier than doing it now.

I'm looking forward to that!

Air Bubbles & Patches

Way, way back when I 'glassed the upper hull I managed to get a few small air bubbles underneath the cloth.

I marked them with a bit of blue tape so I wouldn't forget where they were.

Here is one on the forward cabin wall, in the forward deck well.

This one I created myself when I used the hot air gun to remove a temporary screw. The heat must have forced some air out of the wood.

I will sand out the bubbles and apply fibreglass cloth patches before I clear coat the upper hull.

Building Flip Cradles

We can't realistically flip the boat yet to finish the bottom. There are still too many pandemic restrictions in place for me to comfortably ask people to help me turn it over.

However, with the time available I can do everything that remains to be done before the flip.

When upside down the boat will need to rest on a support of some kind at bow and stern, and the supports will need to be on wheels to allow the boat to be moved.

After some experimentation and measurement I devised this cradle for the bow.

It is actually a dolly rather than a cradle, made from cheap studding timber and fitted with braked casters.

And here are both dollies outside.

The bow dolly is 30" wide and will need to be chocked up to a total height of 10 1/4" when in use.

The stern dolly is 72" wide and will need to be chocked up to 17".

They were set aside to await deployment when feasible.

I will need to find a way of providing a flat surface on the driveway to roll the boat out of the garage. The driveway is coarse gravel and impossible to navigate for anything with small wheels.

But it's good to know that the dollies are ready and waiting! 

Mast | Clear Coating

The mast received the first of three clear coats of epoxy resin in situ on the boat.

I put a piece of plastic sheeting under the mast where it rests on the boat, and in this way was able to cover all four sides at once.