Sunday, May 1, 2011

Bottom Preparation

     This job has to be one of the worst. I have spent about a week and a half under the boat, sanding imperfections, filling scratches, sanding some more, smoothing, shaping, etc. It is not easy work, and you have to wear a dust mask the entire time.
     When the boat first arrived last year, I hired Tri-State Soda Blasting  to soda blast the boat, and remove the old, hard bottom paint.They really do a nice job, but the bottom is still not ready for barrier coating when they finish. More details need to be attended to.
     I started by carefully grinding open any pinholes with a Dremel tool and a small grinding wheel. Then, my wife and I slowly scanned the entire bottom of the boat for scratches, and circled each one with a magic marker as we found them. Each scratch or ground pinhole was carefully filled with epoxy fairing compound. Once the compound had fully cured, I sanded each faired area smooth with a small, 1/4 sheet sander. Be careful if you are stripping and sanding a fiberglass boat bottom - the gelcoat is not very thick, and you really don't want to do anything more than clean off any old paint, and slightly roughen the surface to accept the subsequent coatings.
     Next, I sandblasted the struts and rudder ports with a small portable sandblaster, and then my wife and I cleaned the boat bottom in preparation for the barrier coating. The fully prepped bottom looked like this:

     The cutlass bearing bore of each strut has been cleaned, and lightly honed with a spring loaded cylinder hone mounted in a 3/8" drill. The same procedure was used for each rudder port.
     Then we masked off the appropriate areas with blue masking tape, and started to prepare for the barrier coat application, which I will discuss in the next post.

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