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Progress Report:  2005 Archives

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Reports from April 2005
4/3/05  4/10/05  4/17/05  4/24/05

Log for the Week Ending April 3, 2005

Monday was all about cleaning.  It was time to prepare for spraying the finish primer, the last step before actually spraying the final coats of paint.  I planned to spray the boat on Tuesday, and to spray the Sanborn's boat on Wednesday, so it was paramount to clean the shop and rid it of the accumulated dust from the past several weeks of woodwork and other work that we had done since the high build primer application.

I began by clearing out as much extraneous stuff as I could--various jigs, pieces of equipment, boat parts, etc.  Extra stuff only collects and attracts dust, so out it went, mostly into the temporary lean-to outside the barn where it would stay till the painting was complete and the shop no longer needed to be a perfectly clean environment.

Next, I did a little sanding on the deck, as I had spilled some varnish and resin here and there during the past weeks' work.  With the sanding complete, I moved on to the first of several shop cleanings.  I swept the floor and counters, then prepared my shop vac blower and spent quite a bit of time with the big shop doors open, blowing out as much as I could, including the walls, light fixtures, and the tight areas beneath shelves and the like where brooms cannot reach.  When I had done the walls and floor, I moved up to the two boats and blew them down too, then back to the floor for a final blowdown.

The blowout was crucial, but was hardly the last step.  Once I had done all I could, I let the dust settle for a while with the doors open, then moved on to begin vacuuming the entire shop and all surfaces to pick up the settled dust, including  benches, shelves, the boats, and everything else.

Next, I set up the staging around the boat.   I planned to shoot the cockpit area first, then the decks, and finally the hull, so I began with the staging up at its highest level.  Then, I covered the cabin trunk, engine room hatch, and lazarette with plastic, and taped off the stem fitting and breasthook as needed to protect these areas from spray.  Finally, I vacuumed the boat again, and solvent washed the hull and deck with the appropriate Alexseal surface cleaner.

It had been an exhausting 8 hours, but before I left I organized and set up the paint equipment for the next day, as I planned to start early in order to get the entire boat done in the three separate spraying operations of three coats each.

Tuesday, I started at 0600 by tacking off the hull and deck one final time.  Then, I prepared to mix the primer and get ready to spray.  Immediately, though, I ran into a problem:  the primer had settled badly and was near solid on the bottom.  I had even left the containers upside down overnight in the hopes that the settled material would drop free, but it did not.  Therefore, I had to fight with an anemic drill mixer to break up the solids, and to incorporate them mostly back into the primer--a tough job, and I still ended up with chunks that I could not incorporate.  I determined to discuss this with my supplier to find out the root of the problem.  (See below)

Moving on, with the primer finally mixed, I prepared to shoot the first coat in the cockpit area--the first of three separate stages in the painting operation (cockpit, 3 coats; decks, 3 coats; hull, 3 coats).  But apparently I had done an inadequate job of cleaning the gun the last time I had used it a few weeks before, and  there was hardened paint on the nozzle and inside.    It took me some time to get things going again, an annoying delay.  Even so, some internal passage was apparently partly clogged, as I never this day got the volume out of the gun that I should have.

With these issues behind me, I began what turned into a marathon of mixing, stirring, spraying, and repeating the process all over again.  By just after 1500, I had completed the job.  Priming multiple coats meant that I had lots of down time between coats--usually each application took about 30 minutes, after which I would have about 45 minutes to an hour before I could spray again.

Click here for more about the finish primer and application.

The morning was punctuated by the Kellogg Marine delivery truck, which managed to miss my driveway and back off into the very soft grass next to the drive--dirt softened by lots of recent snowmelt, plus 2" of rain the day before.  I happened to be on a break from spraying when he arrived, and watched out my office window as he sank deeper and deeper, till the big truck was sunk up to its axles on one side, resulting in about 20 degrees of heel; he had to call a wrecker to pull him out.  The wrecker was the largest I had ever seen and made quick work of the stuck delivery truck, but trashed another area of the grass near the end of the driveway in the process.  It was a bad day for turf at the shop.



Wednesday was spent spraying finish primer on Dasein (aka Gud 'Nuf) on decks, cockpit and hull, in much the same way as the Daysailor.  This was another 8-hour spraying session (elapsed time), interrupted a few times early on by more spray equipment problems caused by my insufficient cleaning weeks before.  I was angry at myself for allowing such a stupid mistake, but managed nonetheless to get the gun going again, after a few teardowns.  Late in the day, when the spraying was complete, I tore the gun down for a thorough soaking in solvent, and ordered a number of replacement and spare parts to have on hand for the future.

I also received a thorough message from Michael Laurence at Lewis Marine, the supplier of the Alexseal (and other marine products that I use), indicating that the manufacturer was aware of the problem and making a few packaging and other changes to help suppliers better handle the product and allow it to be shaken pre-delivery, but also that the high-solids product was prone to settling (which I understood).  As usual, I was pleased with the excellent follow-through from Lewis Marine.

Thursday, I sanded the hull primer.  I hand-sanded the hull using a small 3M foam sanding block and 220 grit sandpaper for the initial sanding, followed by a full sanding with 320 paper on the block.  This left a very smooth surface suitable for accepting the high-gloss topcoats a few days hence.

Click here for more about the primer and sanding.

Friday, I began by finishing up the hull sanding, getting the areas beneath the counter and the transom.  Then, I sanded the decks and cockpit.  Since most of the deck areas would be covered with nonskid paint, the prepwork didn't need to be quite as fine as that on the hull, but I still sanded all areas with both 220 and 320 on my little hand-sanding block.  This, and a few small, nondescript projects, completed the day.

Saturday, I treaded water, with little to do except wait for painting next week; with a second boat in the shop also preparing for paint, I couldn't choose to paint any sooner, as I needed to thoroughly clean the shop once more and it only made sense to deal with both boats' paint jobs--and the shop cleaning--all at once.  I did install the wooden cabin trunk knees I built last week, and applied the heat lamps to accelerate the epoxy curing.

 I fiddled with this or that, briefly worked on the engine room hatches, for which I planned teak tops, but after some frustrations put those aside and instead turned my attention to the cabin, cleaning the interior varnish and applying one (hopefully) final coat of satin varnish to the overhead beams and cabin trunk sides and knees.

Things ought to look very different next week.

Log for the Week Ending April 10, 2005

I began the week on Sunday morning by permanently installing the first layer of the cabin trunk overhead, which I really wanted to get out of the way before painting.  Since the pieces had already been test-fit once, it was relatively straightforward to install them in a bed of 5200 adhesive.

Click here to see the final installation.

The rest of Sunday, and most of Monday morning, were spent preparing the shop and the boat for final topcoats Monday afternoon.  Once more, I cleaned the shop from head to toe to remove the surprising amount of dust that had arrived thanks to the primer sanding of the previous week.

When the shop was clean once more, I taped off and covered the deck to prevent overspray, and moved on to make final preparations to the hull for the snow white Alexseal paint.

Click here to learn more about the topcoats.


With the topcoats done, I spent Tuesday taking care of other business away from the shop.  Then, the rest of the workweek was spent in the shop working on Dasein, making final preparations for her own painting--both hull and deck.  On Wednesday, after covering the Daysailor with plastic for protection, I sprayed Dasein's cabin trunk, deck areas, and cockpit, but thanks to a mistake on my part I had to respray the cabin trunk Thursday to correct some runs.  Finally, on Friday, I applied three deep, glossy coats of dark green to Dasein's hull, completing the painting phase in the shop.

Click here for more about Dasein's paint. (Outside link)

After an exhausting two weeks of primer, sanding, and topcoats, each with their share of frustrations and difficulties, I vowed to enjoy a weekend off, but looked forward to getting back into some more serious construction next week.

Log for the Week Ending April 17, 2005

This week turned out to be fairly lacking in progress, partly because I had a series of other commitments away from the shop, and partly because the shop had to remain clean for most of the week while paint and varnish work continued on Dasein next door; it would have been inhospitable for me to create buckets of wood dust all over his new nonskid.

Therefore, I managed to accomplish little of note.  I did cut and install the second layer of plywood to the cabin trunk overhead, using 7mm Meranti for the job, which I laminated to the first layer with epoxy and screws.

Click here for more about the overhead.

Early in the week, I ordered the new spars for the boat from Metalmast Marine in Putnam, CT.  Using an existing Triton spar as a guideline, I produced a series of measurements and specifications for the new mast, modifying things as required to fit the specifics of the Daysailor.  The most notable change was the addition of about five feet of spar length to accommodate the new keel step, versus deck step.

I also began the lengthy task of spec'ing out the various products required in order to complete the systems on board:  fuel, electrical, deck hardware, rigging, and so forth.  With a stunning variety of choices in many cases, this process took much time, and was a good way to spend part of an otherwise unproductive shop week.  While significant work remains to complete the boat, there is no question that I have entered the final stretch towards completion, and that I had little choice but to start ordering materials required to finish the job.

I hope next week brings much more significant progress!

Log for the Week Ending April 24, 2005

This week seemed to be all about the cabin and cabin trunk.  Visual progress seems slow, but each aspect of the various jobs took substantial amounts of time.

On Monday, I began by laying out for the companionway opening.  With both layers of plywood secured in place and laminated together, it was time to cut the opening.  Before I could do so, however, I needed to add some longitudinal beams around the future opening, from the inside.  This took most of the day.

Please click here for more about the companionway work.

I also began to mock up a profile for the toerail.  I hoped to make a single piece that would overlap the hull-deck joint and provide a pleasing profile, but ran into a snag when I discovered that it would be difficult to screw my chosen profile into the boat; I put the mockup aside while I considered other options, including making a 2-piece toerail/rubrail.  I'll post more detail about the whole process once I get a little further in the process.

Tuesday, I was away from the shop all morning and into the afternoon.  With limited time available, and no inclination to get involved in a more lengthy job, I sat down and finalized my purchase lists for the various systems on board, which I had started last week.  Then, I ordered all the various parts online from three different suppliers, a process that took several hours in its own right.

Wednesday, I prepared to fiberglass over the new coachroof.  I laid out two overlapping layers of 10 oz. cloth, and then installed them in epoxy resin.  It was an extremely warm day--in the 80s--so the resin cured very quickly; I had to work fast.  This process took most of the morning; in the afternoon, I began work on the myriad interior trim pieces required to finish off the interior.

Click here for more on the fiberglassing.

Thursday and Friday, I divided my time between work in the shop on the interior trim, adding additional fiberglass to the coachroof, and working outside on several other boat-related projects, attempting to take advantage of nice weather that was not forecast to last.  I continued work on the trim, which seemed to be going at a snail's pace, and managed to get the worst of the layout and head scratching on the v-berth trim pieces out of the way.

Click here for more on the interior trim.

Late in the morning, the delivery trucks from two of my vendors arrived bearing numerous boxes filled with all sorts of boat parts, from electrical connectors to exhaust systems to fuel components.  The small items filled several large boxes, in addition to the individual boxes containing pumps, panels, and other parts.  All this made an impressive pile on my bench; more parts--including the aluminum diesel tank--were on the way from a third vendor.

Friday, I continued work on the interior trim, and, after sanding the fiberglass on the cabin trunk, applied the first coat of fairing filler to the cloth, to fill the weave and take up any low spots there might be.  With one more decent day on hand, I continued some of my outside work as well, as the weekend was forecast to be rainy.  Later, when the filler cured, I sanded it to prepare for a final application to fill in the few low spots.

Read more about the trim.

Saturday, in the rain, I worked again on the interior trim, and despite all the time so far, I was still far from done.  Each piece needed to be conceived, measured, the raw stock cut to the appropriate rough dimensions, each piece test fit and recut as needed, and then final milling and sanding operations could occur--all this before the pieces could even be fit in place.  Sometimes the amount of labor required for seemingly simple jobs is staggering.

Throughout the week, at the end of the day when the dust was down in the shop, I continued the long process of applying 10 coats of varnish to the huge cockpit coamings; painting and other significant projects in the shop in the weeks since I had removed the coamings  had prevented me from getting to this chore, but with two sides, I was looking at 3 weeks' worth of work, one coat per day, before the varnish could be completed.  After several coats, though, the coamings were looking great--at least on one side!

Continue to May>


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