Petestack Blog

12 August 2018

Jigsaw pieces

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 10:24 am

Having got about as far I can with on-boat work till I can check everything with Twig, I’ve been turning my attention to some of the removable pieces stored in my workshop. So now reporting progress with the chart table and forecabin bunk boards, and it does feel like the pieces of the jigsaw are starting to come together even if there are plenty more (battery box, heads door, pilot berth sections, saloon floor, headlining panels etc.) still to ‘fit’.

When we tested the folding chart table (first photo) for fit between original main bulkhead and replacement nav. station bulkhead, we discovered that it had never sat right. It folded up parallel with both, but folded down (to use) so far out of parallel with the main bulkhead that Twig couldn’t stand it any more than me! But we couldn’t rehang it straight with the existing lugs because the boat geometry just didn’t allow it, so had to drill a new pivot hole in the main bulkhead and adjust the pivot points on the chart table lugs. Now it folds up straight and folds down straight, but it took the best part of an afternoon months back to get this right, and I’ve just caught up on the associated lug surgery (see the two pieces I’ve cut off) and varnish stripping. We’ve also discussed adding fiddles to the lid and fixing a teak strip to the main bulkhead to support the forward end of the table when it’s down so it can hang on one (aft) cord instead of two, and I’ll need to replace the horrid little hooks and eyes that held the chart table shut after having to file the heads off almost slotless steel screws to get the catches off for varnish preparation.

I wasn’t planning to strip the forecabin bunk tops (second photo) back to bare wood, but the paintwork was in such poor condition over large areas that it quickly became a no-brainer. I’d already got the smallest one sanded (retaining much of the paint) for repainting before the middle one changed my mind, but it really wasn’t a lot more effort to strip them all completely despite finishing off three old nylon flap brushes and two-and-a-half new ones in a mere six hours or so! So now considering varnishing or resin-coating instead of repainting because (while not perfect) I think they’ve come up well enough for either.

In other news, the new hose for the pressure washer came yesterday and I’d better order some more flap brushes for jobs yet to be done. I’ve also gone through c.40 dust masks in 13 months (so c.40 days of paint or varnish stripping) and am well on the way to killing a third 240V drill with last summer seeing off both my old Black & Decker and the locally-bought Einhell (all I could get) that lasted just days, and the bearings on their basic Makita replacement undoubtedly the worse for wear now after so much work since. Hopefully that one will see out any remaining stripping jobs, but I guess they’re just not designed for constant sideways pressure!

8 August 2018

Cavernous hellholes of peeling paint

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 10:43 pm

No more!

You have to read that with the title because, one week and approximately 41 hours of work after I described Fly’s cockpit lockers as ‘cavernous hellholes of peeling paint on dirt on paint on dirt still awaiting a good clean back’, they’re just about ready (bar some minor filling etc.) to recoat with something more practically durable. Some surprises along the way, not least discovering that the plywood bulkhead we’d decided to strip to resin-coat appears to have had a very thin coat of resin (now gone) under the paint all along. But it’s a moot point when the paintwork was both terrible and not coming off without it… perhaps I might with hindsight have considered trying to sand and repaint that part without going right through, but then I’d never have found out and it’ll do no harm to treat it again our style. Also still planning to tidy up the wee bit of paint on the bulkhead up beneath the centre locker (ex-outboard well) floor before coating, but think that’ll be quick and painless enough when I work out how…

You might also notice a pretty cursory attempt to clean the surrounding deck area for the photographs, which was never going to be thorough just now but became even less so when the pressure washer hose burst and I had to order another one. Not that it’s easy to do some bits (e.g. the side decks a bit further forward) with my temporary roof in place anyway!

2 August 2018

What I’ve learned about nylon brushes

Filed under: Sailing,Uncategorized — admin @ 9:41 pm

Last year, when I started stripping that infernal flaking paint from Fly’s internal hull surfaces, I quickly settled on a electric drill with (mostly) nylon brushes for the job. And equally quickly discovered that some of the most useful looking ones were effectively useless! Nylon cup and pencil (aka end) brushes just melt out in no time, especially if you angle them and/or raise the speed at all (NB all brushes are being used within their recommended speed range because my drill’s not capable of turning faster). Flap wheels aren’t man enough for most paint-stripping jobs although I’ve come back to them for varnish, of which more anon. So my staple has been 4″ orange (coarse) wheels, which have been great on glassfibre but need (even) more care on wood. And I thought I’d learned everything there was to know about orange nylon wheel brushes till something I wrote just days ago proved I hadn’t. I prefer to use them perpendicular to the surface being stripped because they last much longer if you do, but found myself angling them to take the old glue and paint from the forecabin deckhead, then had to keep them angled to avoid grooving the resin. But today I discovered that this grooving is caused not by using the brushes perpendicular (which I’ve done successfully many times) or carelessness (when I’m really pretty careful), but by using them perpendicular after they’ve been reshaped (bevelled) by using them at an angle. And trying to reshape them by angling the opposite way just compounds the problem. So I had a brainwave and trimmed the offending strands back perpendicular with some snips, and all was sweetness and light again. Or perhaps not, because eight hours of non-stop paint stripping can never be described as sweetness and light!

So what of those flap wheels, of which ‘more anon’? Well, I’d been using the blue (fine) wheel brushes for stripping varnish off wood, for which they’re excellent if fast-wearing where the orange ones are really too abrasive, but the blue wheels more than doubled in price overnight while I had several sitting in my Amazon basket waiting to buy and never came back down, with similar apparently permanent increases everywhere else. And, while I was prepared to write off a blue brush in a morning’s work* at less than £6 each, I’m just not tempted at nearly £15! So here was me stumped when I’d been depending on piles of them to make a good job of the wooden surfaces of which I still have plenty to do. But then I remembered the hitherto rejected ‘puny’ orange flap wheels, and have since found them nearly as good (can be used with similar impunity!) as the blue wheels for the job.

*They don’t wear down in that time, but the strands quickly start splaying out to a broader edge that doesn’t strip the varnish so cleanly and easily.

Anyway, enough of that! What have I been doing with orange wheels today?

What you see in the first three photos is what you can do to a cockpit locker if you work non-stop for about eight hours. It’s not finished, but getting there. I was originally planning to try knocking off just the really loose paint (see final pic of port locker for the state of these things!), but soon discovered there’s really no satisfactory halfway house. The wooden bulkhead is to be epoxy-coated like so much else I’ve stripped of dying paintwork, and probably the whole lockers too now. And, yes, the outside of the boat’s filthy even though I cleaned it again last year before building the Noah’s Ark roof over the main hatch!

Nylon brush summary from one year and hundreds of hours use:

  • Orange wheels are the most useful overall as well as the most robust, but too abrasive for some softer surfaces and can be compromised by using at an angle. Also impossible to use in narrow spaces and/or where flat surfaces meet at acute angles (obtuse angles are fine).
  • Blue wheels are excellent for stripping varnish from wood, but currently unattractively expensive.
  • Orange flap wheels are a useful substitute for blue wheels at a saner price.
  • Cup or pencil/end brushes of any colour are wasted money when you can destroy them in five minutes.

1 August 2018

Cockpit locker false floor

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 5:09 pm

So what can I tell you about Fly’s cockpit lockers? In 26 words, cavernous hellholes of peeling paint on dirt on paint on dirt still awaiting a good clean back and not seen at their worst in these photos! Today I cut out the starboard locker’s plywood false floor identified last October as rotten, non-structural and surplus to requirements since we installed the inboard and haven’t needed a level base for a petrol tank in there since 2001. There’s one little corner to tidy up in the angle between side wall and cockpit bulkhead, but really a pretty clean job when I’d expected some minor glasswork to be necessary somewhere.

Note the slight bulge below the drain tube in the first two photos but gone in the last, which had no port-side counterpart and turned out to be holding a vertical piece of ply to support the false floor where the front of the central locker (ex-outboard well) angles up to meet the bulkhead.

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