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From a Bare Hull:  The Hull

Fairing and Surfacing
During the unbuilding stage of the project, I ground all the old paint off the hull, leaving behind a rough-sanded gelcoat surface.  The new fiberglass on the deck, which wrapped about 6" onto the hull,  also created an uneven surface, which was compounded by the still somewhat dished out areas where I had covered and filled the boltheads securing the sheer clamp.  Substantial fairing, smoothing, and surfacing was certainly in order.


To begin, I applied  a coat of QuikFair with a plastic squeegee, basically running the squeegee from top to bottom in a vertical fashion to spread a thin coat of fairing compound  over the fiberglass wrap at the top and then down onto the hull a fair bit.  There were too many low spots and too much unevenness at this stage to even consider any attempts to actually fill all these low spots; instead, I intended the first coat to just begin to fill the deeper low spots, possibly fill some of the shallower areas and the weave of the fiberglass cloth, and, most importantly, to act as a signal coat which, when sanded, would truly highlight the areas requiring the most work.

Despite my earlier complaints and reservations about QuikFair, I decided to continue using it not only because I had it in stock, but also because it actually was rather good for use in these thin, skim-coat fairing applications.  I found that mixing the product on a flat board was effective, and some plastic measuring cups with handles minimized the mess when obtaining the two parts from their containers.  None of this stuff is particularly neat, after all.

I applied the first coat over the entire hull--again, not even attempting to make this any sort of final fairing application.  When the job was complete, I left the material to cure overnight before sanding.

It was too early in the stage to consider using the hand longboard to sand, since there were undoubtedly more low spots than high.  Therefore, I used a vibrating sander with 40 grit sandpaper to sand the surface and perform the first, coarse fairing.  The sander was non-aggressive enough to be safe for use, and the firm pad, coupled with quick and continual movement of the sander, enabled the sander to be an effective enough fairing tool at this stage.  I sanded only enough to truly highlight the low spots, stopping when raw fiberglass appeared at the top edge, which was relatively fair.  I moved the sander in a variety of directions over the filled areas and was pleased with the results.

Later, one or two subsequent filling sessions down the road, I imagined that the low areas would be filled enough to then allow use of the longboard to truly fair in the upper half of the topsides.  Until I reached a point using mechanical sanders where there were virtually no low spots remaining, however, I felt it didn't make sense to wear myself out sanding by hand.

After the sanding was complete, I vacuumed the surface free of dust and cleaned with solvent to prepare for a second coat.

The second coat of fairing compound actually ended up using more material than the first, since now I had a better idea of where the low spots were, and therefore made more of an effort to fill them.  The most significant area requiring filling (and ultimately fairing) was the area directly beneath the edge of the fiberglass that wrapped over the top of the hull from the deck.  In some areas, the fiberglass layer was fairly uneven, and these spots also required significant filler.

I worked my way around the hull and filled all areas as best I could.  When complete, the results looked better than the first time around (as they should). 

The next day, I sanded the second application of filler, using the same basic process as before.  The second coat did a pretty good job smoothing the entire surface, and there were only a few low spots remaining after the areas were sanded.

My goal in these early stages of fairing was to smoothly incorporate the new fiberglass into the remaining topsides surface, and to obtain a roughly fair profile.  With the second application, I neared completion of this initial stage of the fairing project.

However, a few low areas remained, most notably at a few of the butt joints between widths of the new fiberglass.  Therefore, I cleaned and prepared the surface for application of a third, minimal layer of QuikFair, this time concentrated only in the dozen or so low areas.

When the new filler cured, I sanded the hull a third time.  I concentrated on the filled areas, but also worked to continue the overall fairing process, incorporating the new fiberglass near the deck edge into the shape and contours of the hull. 

When I finished, the hull appeared to be relatively smooth and fair to the naked eye, but I knew there were low spots around from when I ground the paint off the hull earlier, and from other sanding and repairs.

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