Page published 21 January 2021
5 May 2011
With the May Day bank holiday weekend behind me and various domestic chores complete I finally manage to return to boat sanding. However, this time I am at home as I tackle the cockpit lockers. These had been stored in the roof of the garage since the strip down of was completed last October.
The first task was to remove the locker doors. I was quite pleased to see that they were in first class order. I had had two sets of doors de-laminate. The first set disintegrated after a single season. My fault! I had simply relied on the wood stain to stop water penetration between the plies. The second set lasted longer. I had applied copious resin to the edges of the board but by last year they too had begun to go. This third set were made with a proper custom-made edging strip of hardwood. It seems to have done the job.
The first Cockpit Locker is sanded!
With the doors removed I started work in the back garden. I didn't think that the lockers were that big, but it took four hours to get the paint off one of them. Perhaps it was that, to avoid generating too much dust, I used the sanding disks wet. Maybe my wet technique is not perfected? Maybe it was that there are a lot of edges inside the locker and so much of the time I was working with the Detail Sander. Certainly, I seemed to romp through the abrasive, but perhaps that was just because it took so long it seemed like I was using a lot.
At least it was a start, after what had been a much longer gap in work than I had originally hoped.
11 May 2011
After my usual catch-up on emails and the like on Monday and sorting out dad on Tuesday, I'm back to the boat today. That's not strictly correct, as it's back to the garage and back garden really. This time to fetch down the second of the cockpit lockers from the roof of the garage remove the locker door and then strip the paint.
All went well up to the point where I plugged in the sander. The Bee died! More exactly, the Bee took sick - seriously sick. There was seemingly no power in her and no jiggle to the sanding plate. If I lowered her onto the paint I only had to press very lightly and rotation ceased. If I lifted off slightly the plate would spin but the was no jiggle. It was lucky that I was working on the back of the locker at the time because I suddenly realised that I was leaving deep gouges. As I settle down to write this entry I have already emailed Ian to warn him that I have now killed the third of his sanders, including his two most heavy-weight models.
The first locker took a long time to complete, but comparatively I stormed through that one as I was able to use the 125mm sanding plate of the Bee on the larger areas. Mind you that is not saying much as the locker bins have more awkward corners per square inch than any onther area of the boat.
Sanding the second Cockpit Locker.
You can just make out the narrow white strip, the last of the paint still to be removed from inside the locker.
After well over four hours of dry sanding, I stopped. I still have not completely finished. There are narrow strips of white at the base of each end of the locker bins. They'll just have to wait till later when I have more enthusiasm for the task - and perhaps after some rain that, hopefully, will wash all the dust from the lawn.
12 May 2011
Ian is the proud owner of a new sander. He doesn't know it yet. But after confessing to incapacitating The Bee I asked him for advice on the best way to proceed. He recommended a tool from Screwfix and this morning I went to buy one - along with a couple of packs of the right size of sanding disk.
Of course, I can't use the new sander on the awkward last bit of white that I left inside the second cockpit locker yesterday and I couldn't work up the enthusiasm to return to the locker when I had a nice shiny new sander to play with. So, today, it was down to the yard at Wayford to see Imagination for the first time since 19 April. That's almost a month! It truly does begin to look like I'm not going to be able to make this year's Three Rivers Race, even if Horning Sailing Club did change its mind about me.
All is well at the yard. As ever, I'm later than I half promised myself I should be. The trouble is at this time of year it's not dark till after 20:30, I have no enthusiasm to turn up early, when I can get more hours work done than I can stand and still have daylight left.
The plan is to tackle one of the windows, remove the four window frame strips and have a go with a sander on that side of the cabin. I pick the starboard side to start. Pop rivets should be simple enough to remove. You drill into the hole in the centre of the rivet. That removes the rivet head, leaving you with a "washer" hanging on the drill bit. You remove that and take a hammer to knock the remains of the rivet through the cabin wall. It shouldn't take much more than 40 seconds a time and there's less than 25 to do. Two hours later I'm still working on it.
The starboard window frame has been removed. My worry is that with the frame removed the sealant will not have the strength to stop the perspex losing its curve and dropping out of the frame.
The trouble is that when I fitted the rivets the pin in many of them didn't sheer where they should have done. I had to saw off the end. That means there is no hole into which to thrust the drill. Worse, there is a hard, slightly proud, centre and the drill spins off the rivet like an out of control ice dancer. I end up taking hammer and chisel to each rivet and cutting off the head. It's not a pretty job, but at least it's done
However, it does mean that I haven't yet used to new sander, so I can give no report on how well it works.
15 May 2011
It's the first time I've done any work on the boat on a Sunday or, indeed, a Saturday. Up till now weekends have been non-boat days. Arriving at the yard, I was taken by surprise to find the entrance barrier down and a padlock in place. However there were people inside.
Walking under the barrier is easy enough, but it was going to be a right pain going back and forth with my tools. Eventually, things were sorted out and I set to work removing the frame strips on the other two sides of the cabin. This time, armed with a small grinding wheel, I let my drill take the tops of the rivets that had not gone in as they should.
In the end I'm not sure that I achieved a better result, as there are now a few grinding marks on the alloy strips, but it was certainly less stressful on the GRP than bashing away with a club hammer and chisel to remove the top of the rivets.
The remaining window frames have been removed.
Another disappointment was that I still didn't manage to test the new sander. Although I got both the remaining windows done in much the same time as the first alone had taken me, I had started to late and needed to get home to cook my meal.
On the more positive side there was no trace of the sealant giving way. The starboard window remained firmly in place. Next time I really will be testing the new sander.
19 May 2011
With the window framing strips removed on Sunday I could finally get on with sanding round the windows. I started with the Detail sander, working along under the starboard window. It needed a little care as the gap was smaller than the size of the triangular "disk", but was fairly straight forward. Next were the sides and top of the window and then round the cables for the navigation light. Finally, it was time for the new sander to do the larger areas.
The new machine from Screwfix was one of the cheapest in their catalogue as it had been heavily reduced, but users of it on their web site seemed to report it as doing a good job for them. I, too, have no complaints. If I hadn't already named the last sander to fail as "The Bee", then this one might have got the name, but by comparison is has a higher pitched hum, and it's very much a hum. I guess I can now put the previous machine's noises down to motor brushes near collapse.
The new machine also has another feature I'm not used to - adjustable speed. I settled on something in the mid-range, and opted to call the machine "The Mozzie". Even at the mid-range speed it seems to have much more gyroscopic action that the previous machines. I worried, at first, that it wasn't producing the shudder necessary to avoid gouging out the surface. However, there seemed to be no evidence for that, so overall I was very happy with the results.
Today I started sanding round the windows.
After the evening's session, I started late because of a visit to see Dad, I now figure there should be less than four hours work left on the sanding. Hopefully I can then start reporting on some other aspect of the repaint. About the only good thing to be said on progress so far is that last time I did this job it took me till the September in that year to relaunch the boat. At least I should get a little more sailing in this year!
25 May 2011
Today I began to feel that I'm getting close to finishing the job. The last of the old paint was removed. The job involved removing the final fitting from the hull, the U-bolt that the winch strap hooks to. The winch arm itself was moved too, as the last of the paint to be removed came from the area of the U-bolt, which was inaccessible with the winch arm in place.
Tim, the guy who will be doing the paint job for me, came to take a look at my progress. We discussed one of my worries, how to handle the waterline and anti-foul, and what colour paint to order. I have settled on white all over. Then we discussed what else there was to be done before Imagination goes into the shed for painting.
As he previously warned me, I'll need to rub down the whole surface with a finer grit. I've been using 120 grade in the main, but the work with the Detail Sander has been done with either 60 or 80. They didn't seem to make finer grade sheets for that machine. The result is that some areas look a little scratched, so I need to smooth those out a bit. Tim has recommended 240 grade, saying I will have to do it by hand if it can't be done with machine.
Today I finished the sanding.
Then there are a few chips to be filled. They'll need sanding back too, of course. Some of these are, in reality, voids in the original resin, caused when the glass fibre mat that is laid inside the gel coat was not wetted out properly leaving gaps. The sanding seems to have stressed some of them to the point where the gel coat has cracked. It only takes a slight push on such cracks to open up a bigger hole. There's also a number of tiny pin pricks in the gel coat that need to be filled. Some of the scratches, made with the Detail Sander, may also be better filled that sand away more of the gel coat.
All in all, it means there's a few more hours yet before Imagination goes into the shed. After painting they'll be more to do on the inside. Removing all the fittings, particularly the cockpit lockers, over the long snowy winter meant the inside got unusually damp and so there is some tidying up to do in the cabin. A bit of paint and a coat or two of varnish is called for before everything gets put back on her again.
Nevertheless, I think it is now time to apply for my river licence so the Toll Plaques will be available once she is ready for the water. However, before that, I need to decide on whether to give a her a new name. I've never liked Imagination, feeling that it lacked any! Some say changing a boat's name is bad luck, but as there's never been a name on her, except that typed on the plaques by the Broads Authority, so I could argue that it's not a renaming. Certainly, it would be good to get some large lettering to go on the raised gunwales forward of the cockpit. I promised myself that the name would go there during the last repaint, but never got round to it. I've always fancied getting the URL of this site there too!
31 May 2011
I may have finished the sanding but there's more work to be done before Imagination goes into the shed for painting. While, from a distance, she looks ready, close up the blemishes can be clearly seen.
You might think she's ready for masking the windows, but there are plenty of blemishes to be fixed.
Following Tim's recommendation, last Thursday I had bought a can of P.38 filler, which I had thought was massively too big, but there wasn't a smaller can in Roys DIY store and I wanted to check whether I really had over bought. So Tuesday ended up being just a quick one hour session. All I did was wash her down so I could see what was paint dust and what was remains of paint still stuck to the surface. Then followed a good look round for the chips, dents and damage that needed needed fixing. In truth it wasn't so much having too much filler that worried me but not having enough hardener. The sachet of hardener in the pack seemed so small.
A montage showing damage on the bows caused by an encounter with quay heading, voids opening up because of poor laying up at the manufacturing stage, over aggressive sanding in the cockpit with the mighty "Beast" and older chips that need cleaning out and re-filling.
The one thing that I didn't take photographs of was the small areas where I had had to use the Detail sander. Some of this was done with the extremely coarse 60 grit and it has left marks so deep they may need to be filled as I don't want to take any more of the gel coat off with further sanding.
The next trip to the boat should see all the filling done. How much of the final smoothing I get done with the recommended 240 grit and whether that can be done in a single session, remains to be seen.