Saturday, February 21, 2015

Week Four - Cold Sanding

For this week not much to really show in terms of photos. Progress is being made, much of it with the board file and large sander.

There are several hard (high) spots, particularly on the port side. Charlie is steadily working them down and making the hull fair. Work continues.

This past week we in the Mid-Atlantic have been in the grip of record low temperatures along with snow. Despite a “snow day” when work stopped at the yard, we’re still roughly on schedule. If the temperatures increase sufficiently next week then another layer of primer will be applied. Afterwards, well, more sanding of course.

Hard spots (grey areas) along the port hull:

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Sanded all the way to the fiberglass:

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Close-up of board file results:

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More filling and fairing of cracks at the waterline:

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Shot of the dock with frozen creek:

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Let’s hope for a change in the weather...

Monday, February 16, 2015

Week three, still scratching...

I think that at this moment it would be important for me to put down some thoughts about this effort that are not necessarily focused on what techniques, tools and processes that are being used to repaint Ronin. I know that I spend an inordinate amount of time scanning the internet for sources of techniques and tools required to complete the tasks and projects of this refit.

After observing how Charlie is approaching this project, I think some observations are in order.

First, he is doing this project from front to back. From arranging the haul dates with me, the length of time expected to complete the hull, the scope of work, the pros and cons of tackling certain aspects of the project to blocking the hull, prepping and painting the boat. There are no other people involved. Just Charlie. 

I feel as though I have relinquished control my boat and, to some degree, the vision for how it will turn out to him. But here’s the thing, after seeing several of his other jobs and working with him, I can’t imagine any other way to see it through. Although I think that I have a basic level of understanding about how to accomplish this job and a level of understanding about a good job versus a perfect job, it is clear to me that that the final outcome is going to be a level of detail that's a good cut above.

I’ve seen other Awlgrip paint jobs that are good. The hull is sanded, gross imperfections or defects repaired, prior paint jobs sanded off and then the hull repainted. That is not what is going to happen. As I watch Charlie work on the boat I can see that he is repairing gelcoat and laminate problems which is all well and good. But when I watch him sand, prime, sand and prime again to a level of fairness that 95% of owners would not even be aware of and then exceed that level, I am am impressed. It isn’t a matter of discussion with us as to whether this is needed or not. For Charlie it will be perfect and nothing less is acceptable.

When I was planning on painting the boat myself, my expectations of the final results were much, much lower. I would have been fine with that. I don’t have the chops to do more. My results would have passed the 15 yard distance away level of beauty, no sweat.

It has become clear to me that when this job is done, the hull will be more fair than when it left the factory. The finish of the paint will be of Hinckley quality.

Now, does it make sense to do that to a 33-year old production sailboat? No. Will others even notice or care? Probably not. Will we get the expense back on resale? Not a chance.

But will I appreciate the level of effort? Yes. I’m certain that every time I row away from the boat and look back at her I will be reminded of the dedication to the highest level perfection.

Sanding, priming, sanding, priming...

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I was concerned that already faint HIN numbers would get lost in the final outcome. Charlie’s fix was to take a Dremel tool and open them up:

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While the boat work has been proceeding in the boat shed, I have (very…) casually been working on the new cabin sole flooring. 

First cut:

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When I replaced the floor years back I converted the design from three access hatches to just two that were a bit longer. That proved to be a minor irritation because I couldn’t really get to the back part of the bilge for cleaning and finding lost tools.

For this iteration, I will go back to three access hatches.

Laying out the hatch boards:

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Expanding the opening with a 10 inch cut:

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This last weekend we lost power for almost 24 hours due to high winds from a brutal front passing through. Since the house was cold and we couldn’t get our daily internet fix, we jumped in the truck and drove to our favorite oyster and beer spot, Merrior in Topping, VA. One of the sights that is always sobering to me when we arrive is below.

Sad old derelict at very low tide:

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As the story is told, apparently a gentleman brought her in to escape the ravages of Hurricane Isabel (2003) but she went down anyway. And the owner passed away a few days later...

Monday, February 9, 2015

Week 2 in the shed.

Since the boat went into the paint shed I’ve been reduced to pretty much just showing up and taking pictures of the progress on the hull painting. I feel inadequate. But that’s as it should be because the true professional is working away on Ronin. Having seen his work on my friend’s J/40 I sleep well at night.

I need to turn my attention back to work on the cabin sole project residing in my shed but haven’t yet had the opportunity to do that. The “work” of retired life intrudes. Odd.

For this posting I thought I show a series of “before and after” shots. As of Friday, February 6th, the hull had been sanded, cracks and imperfections ground out and most importantly, four coats of AwlQuick primer sprayed on. A goodly amount of progress.

In the following set of photos there is an area on the stern quarter that is grey’d a bit. This is a process that Charlie uses to find imperfections in the hull and the sanding. I know how he does it but am under strict orders of confidentiality to not divulge them.

Stern quarter shots:

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Section on the port bow that required grinding and filling:

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Port side near the toe-rail:

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After some intensive sanding and filling of the stern counter:

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Next week, Charlie will be removing 75% of the primer that he applied. With a long-board. I’ve done that and I don’t envy him one bit….

Primed and ready for the board-file:

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Sunday, February 1, 2015

In the shed, Week 1.

The hull has been in the shed for a week now and Charlie has started in on prepping the hull for painting. When we realized that removing the vinyl rub-rail was pretty much a non-starter, he ran a buffer with mineral spirits along it and despite some cuts and gouges it cleaned up pretty nicely.

The next step was a complete wash of the hull using Mean Green. Afterwards Charlie started taping the boat. Before he completed that I needed to get below the cockpit to look at the layout of the bilge lines and the cockpit scupper drains. This has been an area of annoyance for me since we bought the boat. The main bilge line using the manual Whale pump next to the wheel in the cockpit exits on the port side underneath the stern. The smaller electric bilge pump line snakes up from the bilge, extends over to the starboard side and then “Tee'd” in the starboard scupper drain just above the thru-hull fittings.

When I replaced the replaced the thru-hulls and seacocks some years back, because of the extended height of the seacocks, the hose run from the scupper drains was not direct and had a small sump. Because of this water never completely drained and if there was any debris it often developed a clog. To make matters worse, C&C designed deck level drains with a narrow grove to channel the water to a small scupper drain that led to a 6’ length of hose that, again, did not drain directly downhill. While in theory this seemed a great idea, those drains never did. These lines “Tee’d” into the scupper drains too. A mess.

Up, down and around:

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Going forward I plan on doing three things: 1.) running the electric bilge pump line directly to a new thru-hull near the existing manual bilge pump thru-hull, 2.) capping the two small scupper drains in the deck and removing the lines and 3.) removing the grey polypropylene fittings and ensuring that the cockpit scupper drain hose run downhill and free.

The reason for not completely removing and glassing in the shallow groves is that if in the future the boat is used for cruising and I want to catch rainwater, they can be plumbed to the port and starboard fresh-water tanks using small valves to open the flow after all the contaminants have run off.

The drain and channel; nice idea in theory but...

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Manual bilge line running aft:

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After I finished scoping all that out, Charlie continued taping the boat. Afterwards sanding started. He mentioned that the gelcoat was “hard” and that it was taking longer to sand and using sanding disks at a pretty high rate. Oh well. In addition to sanding he spent some time grinding out any cracks and irregularities that he came across.


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Sanding and grinding:

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An area of resin deficient layup near the bow: 

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