Thursday, July 16, 2009

Annual Maintenance: Brightwork, step 1

Well, I realize that this brightwork isn't actually all that "bright" - it has too many layers of varnish on it. Three coats per year, for the 11 summers we have been caretakers of Eolian. One these years, we are going to have to "wood" it (take off all the varnish and start over). But not this year - there isn't time. In fact, I have been running behind all year due to the bowsprit replacement.

So far in the evenings this week, I have taped off all of the caprail and the lower "feature strip" - all the way from the bow on the port side to the bow on the starboard side. I have used about 2 1/2 rolls of tape so far. I also need to do the cockpit coaming cap this year. And instead of being out there taping, I am in here blogging and drinking a beer. Whose fault is that?

We use the Scotch #2080 blue tape - it goes on easy, but more importantly, it will come off easy next week, after baking in the sun - even if it gets rained on (perish the thought).

The hardest part is taping the side away from the dock. To do it, I put the dinghy in the water and work from it. But it is an exquisite platform for teaching basic physics principles: every time I apply pressure on the tape going onto the boat, the dinghy slides away from the boat. So it is a constant battle: apply some tape, pull the dinghy back, apply some tape, pull the dinghy back. I spent an entire evening doing the work from the dinghy (starboard side and the stern), and I was sore afterward. From fighting the physics teaching platform.

Tomorrow, I tape the cockpit coaming, and then I start the sanding. Yes, it all needs to be smoothed out and roughed up... I use 150 grit for this first trip around the boat. If I am forced to miss a day between coats (if it rains, perish the thought), then I need to go back and resand everything again to allow for at least a physical bond between coats, if I can't have a chemical bond. For this return sanding I use 220 grit.

But for now, I'm going to finish this beer.

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