Friday, August 14, 2015

Nose to the grindstone again

Or at least hands to the sanding block,  I’m unexpectedly home so have a chance to get some work done on SEI.  Its cold here, but the daytime temps are ok for WEST epoxy with fast hardener, and the sun comes in through the big windows keeping the shop warm enough for me to work in without heavy clothing.

So I’m sanding off the plank landings, the fillet between the skeg and the bottom and will be running a coat of ‘poxy with microballoons over the ‘glass to fill the weave before a final sand and then primer paint.

Sandpaper time.   Again.  Powered by elbow grease, It always seems to come to this.

I’ve several part pots of Toplac white oil based marine enamel, they came with my ship and that’s what I plan to use when I repaint her in our spring, and am very tempted to use that so I can get accustomed to its peculiarities before getting into the really big job of repainting the 40 ft motor boat.
So SEI will be white, boring but practical, pale green inside to reduce the glare, maybe some darker green highlights and possibly varnish on the seat tops just to tell people that she is a wooden boat.

Its nice to be at a stage where I can see the launching day off in the distance, we’re in the depths of winter here now, traditionally the worst is still to come but the daffodil plants are poking their heads up, I saw the first lamb of this season the other day and we’ve gained over an hour of daylight since the shortest day so there is, just occasionally,  a hint that there might be spring sometime .
I’d like to be sailing SEI when the good weather comes.

On the techo side of things, Howard Rice and I are both of us fans of anything that saves time when building  boats.  Our time on earth is limited so anything that speeds the building up means that we can build more of them, plus SCAMP Camp is a real teacher in that respect.
To explain, SCAMP Camp is 10 days, plus a little work over the in between weekend if the students want.  It’s a challenge to bring beginnner students along faste enough to get those boats ready to ship out on day ten, and anything that saves time is welcome.

We’ve been using the Ryobi cordless brad nailer for a while now, and it’s a real asset, saves about the equivalent of a day on each boat which is major.
We use the Makita builders laser cross level which not only makes it much easier to get the boats straight and true, but it takes a lot less time to do it.
The latest addition to our bag of tricks is the WEST System six10 cartridge epoxy glue system.  

The two parts of the glue are housed in separate chambers within the cartridge, and extruded through the blue mixing tube on the left of the "gun".  There are spares of those available as they are not cleanable but there does not seem to be a problem keeping a part used cartridge.

We don’t use it everywhere on the boats, just for the planking where the ability to run a controlled bead along an edge is very useful, and much faster than mixing by hand, pushing that into a ziploc bag and doing the cake decorating thing.  Sure its more expensive by volume, but there is very little waste and to give you an idea, at SCAMP Camp this year we were hanging a plank every 10 minutes, just about an hour and a half to do a pair of planks on each of the four boats we were building.  I remember that at the first SCAMP Camp we took more than double that,  that’s a saving of about half a day per boat.

Howard Rice running a bead of epoxy along the edge of a SCAMP plank.  The striped shirt is not compulsory equipment for this sort of job but it sure helps ( create laughter at least).

Well worth the little extra cost!


  1. I used Toplac international paint on Arwen, John. I gave her four coats of the stuff on top of three coats of prekote and that was on top of two coats of aluminium primer! Don't say anything!!
    I found toplac to flow easily, nasty fumes though but I was doing it in a small garage. The best compliment I had recently was from a professional boat builder and restorer in falmouth, who after commenting on arwen's sweet lines, but poor woodwrokmanship......said.......for someone who put all that paint on by hand with a brush...that is one of the best paint jobs I have ever seen........come paint for me!
    Now I have no skill as a painter but that toplac stuff went on easily, spread thinly with ease, dried well and barely showed any brush marks after tipping out
    Don't know whether that helps. I did the painting during our spring...warm days, cool nights and the garage was u heated. I painted at night and left garage doors ajar during the day where possible

  2. Thanks Steve, its pretty cool weather here but I suspect that the paint job is a couple of months away yet and the daytime temps will have improved by then.
    Hope Arwen is getting you out and about during your summer.

  3. yep
    posted some reports on the blog - rather soggy trip to Falmouth, but fun all the same
    You take care now