Monday, May 14, 2007

Fairing begins

Executive update: I've decided to go with Alexseal products on my F22. (Pronunciation guide: "uh-lex-sea-ul", accent on the second syllable.) After reading Alexseal's online product guides, I still had some questions. Fortunately, I was able to get the cell phone # of the local Alexseal sales rep ("Alex") from another local boat builder. So I called him Friday afternoon around 5:30pm, wondering what kind of reception I would get (obviously I'm not a large account poised to order thousands of gallons of product). As luck would have it, I caught Alex waiting in his car for a ferry, and he turned out to be a really nice guy - so I was able to talk with him for over half an hour. Great customer service! -- so nice to find that these days. Alex answered all of my questions, was very encouraging, and told me to feel free to call him back any time. So it turned out to be an easy decision in the end to go with Alexseal.

Family stuff caused me to be busier than expected this weekend, but I did get started on my fairing chores. Saturday I headed down to Fisheries Supply, and picked up some of Alexseal's fairing compound:

Then we put the port float up on the frames, and I got started. I had originally planned to use the candy-bag approach to lay down the initial beads of fairing. Unfortunately I was working by myself and getting some gloppy fairing putty into a little bag proved to be beyond my abilities and patience that day. (And no I didn't have a notched trowel -- duh on me.) So instead, and I am regretting this somewhat now, I just started troweling the stuff onto the float. I was working in small batches... it took me awhile, but I ended up with one port float side troweled, and both decks. Unfortunately I was lax about taking pictures, but here's a shot of the starboard float deck the next day, prior to sanding:

I've used System Three's QuikFair before, and I definitely liked it and would use it again. I'm using Alexseal's stuff this time mainly because I feel more comfortable staying within a single product system. The Alexseal stuff seems similar to QuikFair, except that it takes longer to cure even when using their Fast hardener (or "converter" as they call it), is purple instead of tan, and doesn't smell like grape (that's what QuikFair always reminded me of anyway). Both products spread about the same IMO (both are excellent).

Anyway, on Sunday I was faced with the tough job of sanding down the troweled-on mess I had created for myself. This picture should give you an idea:

Ah, the joy of sanding. I won't belabor the point here, but yesterday wasn't much fun, even with 36-grit paper. But I made reasonable progress.

Here's a picture from when I was done sanding and getting ready to fill in the low spots with more fairing compound:

By the way, the interior side of the port float (what you see above) bears the most scars from the bubble-hell wars. I chose this one to start with since I figured it will be the most difficult to fair, and I might as well learn fast. I was concerned about how well I was covering the patches up, but it seemed to turn out okay. I did end up with a couple of hard spots back near the transom, that I need to be careful with:

And another after I started putting the second coat of glop on the low areas:

Truth be told, I was feeling a bit nervous at this point. There seemed to be an astronomical number of low areas, even if they're weren't very deep, and I'm pretty sure this is because I didn't follow the standard fairing procedures (but dammit - it was fun covering the whole thing with glop! :).

Anyway, after work today I got back out there and started longboarding again - the fun never stops around here. Here's how the port float looked after a couple hours of longboarding:

It's hard to tell in these pictures, but there are slightly fewer low areas than yesterday, and better yet, the low areas I have now are shallower than yesterday. Hopefully this is a sign of progress. I ended up the day by troweling on some more glop to fill up the low spots:

Virtually every swipe of glop you see in the picture above, is actually quite thin. I am looking forward to tomorrow's longboarding -- hopefully it will begin to sand out evenly. The decks have not yet gotten as far as the float side above -- I'll catch up on those next, as time allows.


Edward said...

I have a feeling you are going to surpass my progress VERY soon. I am almost envious of how much fairing you have been able to do. The deck is almost done on ours for the stbd float, next we'll do the inside and finally outside surfaces before putting primer on. then still need to laminate the port float. I should take a few weeks off from work so I can build a boat.. ;)

Jay said...

Thanks Ed. I too have a hard time balancing the boat project with work -- don't they understand we've got boats to build?!? :)

I do have an advantage that I can work every day on my boat, whereas you seem mostly limited to weekends. OTOH, I envy you that you've got your dad helping out; the extra - willing - set of hands must help a lot. I have yet to convince my wife or kids that boat work can be considered fun.

Edward said...

Yes - very nice having help and someone else that can pick up some slack during the week when I'm unable to work... The only other thing that would be great is a bigger place to work in so other things could happen while waiting for resin to dry.