Monday 9 July 2018

Watching paint dry

My adventures in painting, though hardly the sort of thing to make a blog-reader quiver with excitement, have got off to a good start. Doing one of the front lockers first got me used to the behaviours of, successively, rust converter, primer and bilge paint, and refreshed my memory about how to use panel wipe and tacky rags. I was surprised to find that the primer paint manufacturer recommends four coats which, with an overnight wait between them, meant the whole process lasted a week.

I rigged up a cheap blue tarpaulin over the front of the boat to provide both the worker and the work with some protection from the sun, and that provided appropriate conditions for starting also on some of the bodywork at the front whose colour will change from green to black. Where slight corrosion had caused paint bubbling or other unevenness, I used a bodywork filler to make for a smooth final surface – something that would have terrified me with a car. What most impressed me from the start was how much confidence you get from using top-quality products, especially the paint and the brushes.

The heat has been oppressive, even with the shade I'd set up. Fortunately there were excuses to take long breaks from painting, in order to observe balls of one size or another being knocked around grassy areas of one size or another by two, four or twenty-two people of one size or another. However, the second job awaited. I decided that corrosion in the struts supporting the stern deck needed to be addressed urgently.

I'd never paid sufficient attention to cleaning them out and keeping them clear, and their original green colour had obscured dirt and corrosion. They drain through four ports in the side of the hull which inspection showed had become full of spider debris, and from which a plastic bottle cleaner extracted more rust than was healthy. So they got a good clean with sugar soap, rust treatment and the recommended coats of primer. I finished them with two coats of grey bilge paint rather than the original green gloss – I think it should provide better protection.

So – so far, so good. Eventually it will be time to take Erin Mae out on her travels, and start the gunwale-painting process, which we're not allowed to do while in the marina.


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