October 29, 2018
I started out with a little more work on the various hole patches on deck, sanding the second round of filler and then touching up with a quick-dry finish putty to take care of any final pinholes or other low areas. Once I sanded that, it completed the basic prep work on these areas. I planned to work on the gelcoat matching and patching later in the day.
Meanwhile, I got to work on the loose brightwork pieces down in the shop, and sanded these as needed to prepare them for their maintenance coats of varnish. I found that some of the previous and recent coats of varnish on these bits were pretty rough and goopy, with thick brush marks, but fortunately there was ample base to allow me to sand the surface more or less smooth again while maintaining the base coats.
During removal, I’d noticed that one of the two teak rod holders from inside the cockpit was broken, but I found the missing piece inside the binocular holder, so over the weekend I glued it back together with epoxy. Now, I sanded the repair smooth, and also sanded off all the failing varnish from these fussy little pieces on which it’s tough to maintain the finish because of the myriad hard corners. I’d build up six or more coats of fresh varnish here, along with the other areas on the boat where I’d removed all the old coating.
In the afternoon, I decided to tackle the gelcoat repair over the holes I’d filled on deck. First, I masked off and prepared the areas for the refinishing, using a foam masking tape to minimize the transition from old to new, and sanding the entire area with 320 grit to prepare for the new gelcoat.
I spent most of the afternoon mixing and matching the gelcoat, trying to get as close to the existing color as possible. While the deck was basically white, pure white gelcoat wouldn’t ultimately match, as there were subtle undertones from aging, sun, and within the original color itself. Using various pigments, I adjusted my base batch in tiny increments, spreading some of the uncatalyzed gelcoat on the boat to air dry and check the match; pigmented gelcoat changes color slightly when cured. The existing white had a cold gray to blue undertone that meant the pure white would soon show up blatantly, much like a previous repair nearby that had been done at some point.
I repeated the coloring process over and over, abandoning three separate batches when the pigment I added took the color mix in an irreversible direction. At length, I found a color combination that seemed to match reasonably well, and I prepared to spray the areas. These photos show the various blobs of gelcoat that I tried out while matching the color.
Catalyzing the mix, I used a small sprayer to begin to apply the gelcoat, planning on several thin coats on each area, but to my dismay I found that after one coat I’d almost used up all the gelcoat I had. The wasted mixes from early on had used up my supply, leaving me without enough to complete the job in the end and essentially wasting the entire afternoon. Disappointed, I wiped off with solvent the gelcoat I’d applied, and ordered new supplies so I could try again in a day or two.
Total time billed on this job today: 4.75 hours, including two hours discounted
0600 Weather Observation: 40°, cloudy. Forecast for the day: Showers, 49°