|Sea Glass Refit |
May 2, 2007
Well, it seemed like there were a lot of distractions keeping me from working today--administrative stuff, shop visitors and chatty delivery drivers--but in the end somehow it came out OK, and I got done what I needed to.
I began, as usual, behind the grinder, and sanded yesterday's application of fairing compound--the final bulk fairing application, I hoped (and expected). A few minor low spots remained, but my next fairing step would cover those.
After a break for some visitors and then lunch, I got back to work on the toerails. I started with a sharp scraper, and removed any remains of silicone that I could see around the screwholes from the stainless steel rubrail (previously removed). It became clear that the gelcoat hiding beneath the paint was in poor condition, particularly where it had been beneath the rubrail. I carefully chipped away the worst of it, being cautious to avoid scraping the hull paint below the line of the rubrail.
Next, I sanded off the layers of paint covering the molded toerails. The shape of the rails was such that the sides and top were basically flat, which enabled me to use the sander to remove the paint, rather than by hand.
The gelcoat on the toerails was heavily crazed all over, still fairly well adhered but still in worse condition than the gelcoat on, say, the cabin trunk. Unfortunately, this would just have to be what it was; any process that might eliminate the crazing--here and on other deck areas--would just be too time-consuming for this project, given the widespread nature of the crazing. I settled for sanding away only the areas containing loose gelcoat.
Once I had most of the paint off, I switched tools to a random orbit finishing sander equipped with 80 grit paper, and sanded the rails smooth and removed any remaining vestiges of paint left behind by the more aggressive tool earlier. Then, I sanded the entire deck, cabin, and coachroof--except for the cockpit area--with the RO sander and 80 grit to prepare for my final fairing step. The additional sanding with a more finish-oriented sander helped to even out the surface just that little bit more to ensure that only the "real" low spots would get filled with the fine fairing compound, which was the next step.
I thoroughly cleaned the decks with a vacuum, solvent, and blow gun to expose all the pinholes in the epoxy fairing compound from earlier steps, and then applied Alexseal 202 fairing compound to the low spots and to fill pinholes. I also applied some of this over portions of the toerail, as required, to fill areas that I had ground out to remove bad material, and also to help smooth the contours in the waterways aft, just forward of the deck scuppers, where the gelcoat was in such poor condition. I turned the heat up and left things to cure overnight.