Sunday 25 September 2022

Upper Hull | First Gloss

When the upper hull was fully sanded smooth, I applied the first coat of gloss.

As with the primer I rolled it on with a 4" foam roller and tipped it out with a 4" foam brush.

Here is the boat after its first coat of Ivory White, seen from astern.

More coats of gloss followed. Here is the same view after the fifth coat.

I know you can't see any difference in the photos, but it does improve in depth of colour with each coat.

I glossed the tabernacle and drop boards at the same time. Here they are after their second coat.

No more priming to do - that's it!

Five more coats of gloss and she will be ready for wet sanding to the final finish.

Upper Hull | Sanding the Primer

While painting the lower hull and the rudder I learned a lot about how to paint a boat, mostly by trial and error. The main lesson was that the condition of the surface of the primer determines the final finish of the boat.

If there are thin patches where the primer has been sanded back too much or insufficient paint has been applied, they will show through the gloss. No amount of gloss will cover such patches. The gloss only provides colour and shine, and it needs a deep and even coating of primer to do its job.

Equally, if the surface of the primer has blemishes or brush marks they will show through the gloss. In fact, the shiny nature of the gloss paint merely amplifies the effect. It looks awful in daylight. The primer was applied by roller and tipped out with a foam brush, so it is quite smooth but still shows brush marks.

So, it was really important to make sure the primer on the upper hull was entirely flat and smooth, with even depth of colour overall.

First the entire upper hull was sanded with P150 or P180 grit to substantially remove the brush marks.

Here we are sanding the cockpit deck.

I quickly discovered that really good lighting is essential for this process, otherwise it is impossible to see brush marks and other blemishes. The direction of the lighting has to be perpendicular to the brush marks to show them up by casting a minute shadow, as in the above photo.

I found I sometimes had to go to ridiculous lengths to achieve this, especially when sanding vertical surfaces. Here I have suspended the work light above the deck when sanding the footwell sides. 

Here the work light shines down on the forward deck while I am sanding the Dorade box sides and forward cabin wall.

I made rubbers from foam and cardboard tubing to sand the fillets. Here they are.

They worked well. Here I am sanding the fillet on the rear cabin wall.

In this photo I am sanding the sides and the front of the companionway hood.

I clamped the work light to a piece of scrap and balanced it above the hood on a box to get good lighting on the vertical surfaces.

Inevitably I sanded away too much primer in several places.

As stated earlier I learned to my cost when painting the bottom of the hull that these would show clearly through the gloss as a slightly different shade of colour, very obvious in natural light.

So, they all had to be properly covered. I marked each patch with a piece of tape. Like this.

It's impossible to keep track of where all the patches are if I don't do this. Another lesson learned from painting the bottom.

The patches were all painted over and gently sanded back with a P220 grit until they disappeared.

Lastly the whole upper hull was sanded for a second time with a P220 grit to completely remove any vestigial brush marks.

It now looked like this viewed from the bow.

 And from astern.

That's as good as I can make it, so will hopefully provide a good substrate for the gloss.

Getting there, slowly but surely!

Cabin Roof | Primer

It was time to finish priming the upper hull by applying ten coats to the unpainted cabin roof and the companionway hood fillets.

This is the starboard view after the first coat.

And here is the port side.

It was of course predictably patchy.

As on the rest of the upper hull nine more coats followed to achieve a deep and even colour base.

The next step is to sand everything smooth, ready for gloss.

We're getting there!

Companionway Hood | Fillets (2)

I left the companionway hood fillets for a couple of days so they could fully cure, and then pulled the Peel Ply.

The port fillet looked like this.

And this was the starboard fillet.

As you can see, there was a fair amount of squeeze-out along the edges of each fillet.

The profile of the fillets was good, so the technique of using a plastic pipe and Peel Ply to shape them worked well.

If I had hit upon this idea earlier in the build I would no doubt have worked out a method of removing the squeeze out before it cured, but these are the last fillets I will ever make on PocketShip so I will just have to clean them up with the sander. It is a small price to pay for having decent fillets!

This is the front face and the port fillet after the application of epoxy filler and sanding everything smooth.

I was a bit worried about cutting through the fillets to make the drain holes, but they turned out fine.

First I drilled through each fillet to meet up with the drain holes already cut in the hood, and then I removed the plug of Blu Tak which I used to stop epoxy glue from filling the holes during installation.

Then I used the Dremel with a carbide burr to shape the holes through the fillets themselves. The port drain hole looked like this.

That looks good and will work well.

This is the starboard fillet and the front panel after sanding.

We are now ready for primer on the cabin roof and the sanded edges of the hood.

So far, so good!