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From a Bare Hull:  High Build Primer (Hull & Deck)

With both hull and deck faired, longboarded, and otherwise prepared, the first step in the painting process was to apply a high-build primer, which would fill small voids and imperfections, and allow me to fine-tune the smoothness and fairness of the hull and deck surfaces.

Before priming, there was minimal masking to perform.  I covered the cabin trunk opening and bulkhead with masking tape and plastic, and also covered the cockpit engine hatches (which required additional construction steps and would be painted later), the lazarette hatch opening, and the stem casting. 

Final preparations included solvent-washing the surfaces with Awl-Prep, and then, right before spray application, a final tacking off.

After some consideration, I decided that I would need to paint the deck in a couple stages.  Since multiple coats of the primer could be applied in a short period of time, more or less wet-on-wet (not quite), I realized that I couldn't paint the cockpit one coat and them immediately go on to the sidedecks; doing so would mean that I couldn't get back to the cockpit for all the wet surrounding paint.

Therefore, I planned to paint the requisite 2 or 3 coats in the cockpit, and then move on to the decks in a separate operation.  With only primer, wet edge maintenance was less important.

My product of choice for primer was part of the Alexseal family, a high-build primer called Super Build 302.   I mixed product as required and began spraying inside the cockpit, using the taped-off engine hatches as a convenient place to stand and spray.  I sprayed two coats in the cockpit and determined that was enough, as the surfaces had been fairly smooth to begin with.

With the cockpit done, I moved on to the sidedecks and foredeck.  Working from staging around the boat, I could reach all areas of the deck, and sprayed three coats of the primer over the course of a few hours' time, waiting 45 minutes or an hour between coats.  Once I learned how the new product would spray, I found the spraying to be easy, though it was very hard to keep track of where I was spraying each coat.  I thought that it might be an interesting idea to incorporate some basic primer tints, which the user could add to the product for various coats, just to change the color of the product enough to make spraying subsequent coats easier.

The next day, I rearranged the staging and continued by spraying three coats of high build on the hull.  Each coat took 30 or so minutes to spray, followed by  45 minutes or so between coats.  Again, I was pleased with the spray performance of the heavy primer, and there was no propensity for the product to run on the surface.

Spraying the hull radically altered the appearance of the boat; while the primer was actually a very light gray, it was extremely bright and close to white in appearance.  The boat appeared to be larger, and the whole shop reflected the light; it actually was hard to work on the boat later on in the direct sun streaming through the nearby shop windows.

I continued the next day by sanding the primer on the decks.  I might have been able to sand the hull as well, but because of some other commitments in the morning I didn't get started till late morning, and had to first clean up the shop from the previous days' spraying, as well as reconfigure the staging again.  Plus, I was exhausted from the previous day's spray marathon:  in addition to spraying three coats on my own hull, I also, later in the day, sprayed three coats, in two separate operations, on neighboring Dasein's decks and cockpit.  My day was a blur or mixing and applying paint.

Excuses aside,  I managed to sand the decks and cockpit with 120 and then 220 grit on a palm sander, leaving a very smooth surface behind.  The primer did a good job filling minor voids, pinholes, and sanding scratches left behind from longboarding the decks, and there were only a few minor areas that might require additional filling.  There was something very satisfying about sanding the primer and ending up with a lovely smooth surface at the end; it's always more enjoyable to sand to 220 grit than when using something like 40 grit.




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