My Boatamalan painter calls the topcoat of any paint job “the shiny.” It doesn’t matter if it’s Imron MS1 clear coat for exterior woodwork or an Awlgrip topcoat…it’s all “the shiny.” Finally, after more than 12 months of weekends stretching all the way back to February 2009, when we first started fairing the hull, it’s ready for the shiny.
Yesterday started at the crack of dawn. First, we sprayed a guide coat of flat black paint over the whole hull. Then we broke out the sanders, fired up the air compressor, refrigerated air dryer and the five exhaust fans at the aft end of the tent and got to work.
The black guide coat tells you when you’ve sanded enough: when the black’s gone, you’re done. If you only sand until the black is gone, you’ll avoid putting divots in the faired surface. But we’ve found that there’s variety in the characteristics of rattle can paint. The stuff at large retailers tends to gum up the sandpaper no matter how well it’s cured, and it doesn’t matter whether you’re using paint that’s 99 cents per can or $3. Fortunately, the local hardware store is affiliated with the Best brand. Their el-cheapo rattle can flat black paint dries fast and doesn’t clog up the sandpaper.
We’ve been using Mirka Abranet sandpaper, which is very tough stuff, and at my painter’s suggestion I also bought a Mirka Ceros 6″ electric random orbital sander. It was the most expensive sander I’ve ever bought, but with it you can do about 50% more sanding than any of the air sanders in the same amount of time. It’s also extremely light, which is very important when working on a big hull like this one.
By 3pm, the sanding was done…time to clean up. We blew off all of the loose dust that accumulated since we replaced the bungs on the mahogany toe rail, the last time we covered everything from the rub rail up with plastic. After two trips around with the blow gun, we carefully peeled back the plastic film covering everything on top. Then we blew it off once again. It was nice to see the boat with all the plastic off.
The last step was to wash the boat, the tent, and the scaffolding. We used soft sponges and plain water from a hose to scrub the freshly sanded primer, then used chamois (chamoises? chamoii???) to dry the whole thing.
We left the fans running overnight to vent the humidity from washing the boat. Next we’ll tape it up and, if all goes well, spray shiny on the hull.
Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: The Hull is Shiny!