Time to Flip!

So, with the assembly of the lower hull complete, it is time to seal and paint the bottom, then flip her over. I had to do some research on just what steps were necessary to finish the bottom of the boat, what kind of paints to use, etc. I determined that the procedure was going to be as follows…

First step was to spend some additional time sanding the hull. In order for the finished boat to look good, I had to smooth out every divot, clean up the edges, etc. Yet more sanding – and after every pass, it seemed like I found new stuff that had to be handled. Finally, I had to declare things “good enough”.

After sanding, I sealed the hull with a clear sealer. The point of the sealer is to protect the wood from the water. Since I won’t be leaving the boar in the water for more than a few hours at a time, it may not have been necessary. But, I figured what-the-heck, might as well do it right.

After sealing, it was time for another pass with the sander. The sealer leaves a rough texture when it dries, so I had to smooth that out. Once the hull was smooth, it was time to prime. The job of the primer is to smooth out imperfections (of which there are many!) and help the paint to stick. It is nasty stuff. Thick and sticky and toxic-smelling. I put on one coat and let it dry, then it was time to sand again. After sanding, I did a second touch-up coat of primer, and put the stuff away, hopefully for a while.

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After priming, it was finally time to paint. But before that, it was time to address the paint odor issue. Painting in the basement was smelling up the whole house. And, I was worrying about the toll that all these fumes were taking on my limited stocks of brain cells. So, I bought a cheap canopy and the best respirator I could find, and moved the whole kit outside.

The paint went on smooth and looked awesome when it dried. I went with white for the hull, with dark blue trim. Managed to get two coats of both colors on while fighting the heat wave. Early morning breeze and late morning heat (not supposed to paint when it is hotter than ninety degrees) left me a slim window.

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By the way, the safety glasses are actually bifocals – normal if I look ahead, but magnified if I look down, so I can see what I am doing for close-up (like, within two feet) stuff. Ah, the ravages of old age…

The boat looks great from a distance – just needs a little touch-up. I’m not going to let anyone within five feet of her, though… that is where you can start to tell just how much of an amateur I am! But I am happy with things so far.

Usually when boatbuilding, the “flip” is a big deal. With most boats, it is difficult, takes lots of people, and is followed with celebratory drinking afterword. In my case, though, it just takes two of us to pick her up and turn her over – about like moving a couch. So I skipped the party, flipped the boat, put a coat of sealer on the inside of the hull, moved her back inside, and started plotting my next steps.

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