Thursday, July 5, 2007

Sanding the finish primer

As planned, on Monday night I put three coats of finish primer on the starboard float. Since then it's been back to sanding. Fun fun. At least yesterday was a holiday (happy 4th of July!) here in the USA, so I got a full day of work done.

I don't have much to report otherwise -- more sanding is about it. The finish primer starts out nice and shiny, it's almost a shame to have to knock it down:

But hey, someone's gotta do it. At least the sanding seems much easier now that I'm in the higher grits. I'm not trying to take off lots of material anymore, just enough to smooth things out. The floats are feeling buttery smooth. I don't think I will end up with a professional looking paint job, but I'll be happy so long as I'm not embarrassed by my own boat down at the boat launch.

I find that it's not as easy to keep track of where I am since the floats look and feel about the same now. I started keeping notes, so I wouldn't forget. Here's the state of things after tonight:

In the picture above, "edges" means the keel, bow edge, and deck-to-side radiuses. Those are all 100% sanded by hand, of course.

I haven't changed the bag in my Festool vacuum since I bought it, and finally got off my butt to check it this evening. Oops - probably shouldn't have waited this long:

The dust was very compacted in the bag, and it felt like it weighed about 25-30 lbs (~11-14 kg for you metric types). I'm not kidding, it was totally packed in there.

So I'm getting closer and closer to the final paint. It feels good. However the new plan book has a sheet detailing how the wingnets will attach to the floats. Basically, you have to construct a raised flange\web that is laminated to the inbound side of the float deck, in between the beams. This flange then supports the the outer edge of the wing net. Obviously this raises the question then, of when do you want to construct this flange and attach it -- before or after the initial paint goes on the float? I sent mail to Ian asking about this and will update this post with his advice once he replies.

Last bit of news, is that I've decided to spray the final topcoat after all. I've never sprayed before in my life, but I finally decided that I just could not risk wasting all of this hard sanding work on a subpar roll-and-tip job. I've ordered a Citation 4 HVLP turbine sprayer from Axis Pro; it includes a fresh-air supplied mask and an Accuspray gun. This system is near top of the line, from what I can tell, and is honestly overkill for just one project. However I have been wanting to get myself set up with a sprayer for some time now -- so it's really a long-term investment, not just a F22-specific cost. And yeah, I'm still a bit worried about the health aspects of spraying but the full-face mask should mitigate that.

I also considered one of the Turbinaire products, but I really liked the idea of having a fresh-air supply integrated with the main unit.

My brother-in-law was over visiting on the 4th; he worked in the cabinet trade as a sprayer for a long time, and was giving me lots of advice.

I'm taking Friday off from work, but don't know how much time I'll have for boat work -- I've been letting chores pile up around the house, so this will really be a catchup day. I have also submitted a request at work to take the last three weeks of August off for vacation. One of those weeks will be devoted to family time, but with any luck I should be able to make significant dent in the main hull construction.

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