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Project Log:  Saturday, December 5, 2009
Home Page > The Project > Project Logs > 12/5/09

The last remaining area to be bulk-sanded (my term for the heaviest round of paint removal and initial grinding) was the deck and cabin trunk.  I was anxious to get this done:  partly because it needed to be done sometime, and now, with all the other sanding that had been done, was the right time to do it; and partly because I was plain sick of looking at the old, tired, black-stained white paint.  I always feel better once I've removed all the old paint.

To that end, I spent the day sanding the decks in order to remove the paint and vestiges of the old molded nonskid beneath.  I used a right-angle random orbit sander, or DA, equipped with 40 grit cloth-backed PSA discs.  After weeks of heavy-duty interior demolition and fire-damage removal, with its inherent nastiness, it was almost relaxing to lounge on deck and simply sand paint and gelcoat away.

However, despite the vacation-like atmosphere on deck, I found the sanding progress to be almost absurdly slow, with the speed and difficulty compounded by two factors:  first, the existing paint was extremely tenacious and tough; second, with no internal support, the sanding tended to set up vibration in the laminate, which vibration works against the sander's effectiveness.  I believed that this was the main factor that affected what I saw as a poor work output for the day:  a bouncing, vibrating laminate simply doesn't allow the sander to remain in good contact, and resists the sanding pressure required to power through grit-based nonskid and what was clearly 2-part polyurethane paint.

I started on the coach roof, where I knew I'd not be able to reach from staging.  It took half of the aft, raised portion of the coachroof for me to learn and adapt the sanding style and technique required for this particular boat and its conditions; each boat, with different materials and other conditions, tends to require its own specific approach to the sanding based on the performance of the sanding discs.  I removed the painted nonskid (paint with polymeric grit particles mixed within), underlying polyurethane paint and primer, and, as needed, sanded smooth any remaining molded nonskid pattern left over from the original construction.

After completing a the coach roof and a portion of the center of the foredeck, I set up some temporary staging (I'd not yet built real project staging for this boat) and began work on the sidedecks and sides of the cabin trunk.  I quickly found that I couldn't effectively sand the cabin trunk from the staging, at least not for this stage of paint removal, so I had to complete that part kneeling on the sidedecks--not my favorite posture.

Back on the staging, I worked my way forward along the port sidedeck, stopping at the foredeck so that I could move to the other side and sand the cabin trunk (again from the deck) before knocking off for the day.  I left the starboard sidedeck and foredeck for tomorrow, disappointed that I'd not made better progress today.

The original gelcoat color of the decks was off-white/beige, so there was a clear change in the boat's appearance.  The new look was ugly, but then so was the old.  I preferred the new ugly, what I termed "progressive ugly", since I can stand ugly appearances when I feel that forward progress is being made.  As bad as the whole boat looked now, at least she looked this way because something was happening, which was a positive thing.



Total Time Today: 7.5 hours

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