With the muffler platforms installed, I’m getting close to being able to make the exhaust risers. I’m working out how to make square cuts on 4″ stainless tubing, since it turns out the 4 x 6 metal cutting bandsaw I bought doesn’t track straight on long cuts. This is apparently a common problem, and exhaust fabricators sometimes use bandsaw blade guides to ensure square cuts. I’d prefer not to buy $300 worth of tools I’ll use just once and that aren’t in especially high demand. But while I stew over this and adjust my saw per some instructions online enthusiasts of these saws recommend, there are plenty of other things that need doing…like polishing the rub rails, since they represent the single biggest source of open holes on the exterior that need to be filled before the boat can exit the tent.
I’d previously sanded the rub rails and then installed them to protect the new Awlgrip paint from incidental contact with the Tent Model X upright frames during storms and days with very high winds. Even then I knew I’d have to remove them all to polish the rub rails and then reinstall. It’s tedious having to do the same job twice, but they served their purpose and protected the paint.
It takes about three minutes to polish each section between the screw holes.
There are ~40 screw holes per 20-foot stick of rub rail.
Fortunately, there’s immediate gratification in this job. It’s tedious, but the pay-off is worth it.
After working my way down the rail with the coarser pad and rouge, I have to do it all over with the fine pad and polishing compound. But first, I’ll do the first polish pass on the rest of the rails.
The black goop on the back-side of the rub rail in the picture above is the original 1969 bedding compound that Chris Craft used. It came off with the rail when we first started the project back in 2007~08, and exposed slightly corroded aluminum below. What I noticed here (and elsewhere) is that the bedding compound that stayed attached to the stainless was close to the screw hole.
I took the pic above after I’d already used a razor blade to remove the original bedding compound, paint, and primer. When bedding compound, paint, and primer all pull away from the aluminum below, it means water got under the primer.
Each screw hole has a very slight ridge around it that wasn’t reamed or sanded smooth back in 1969. The ridge isn’t enormous, but it’s on the back-side facing the paint and is at least as thick as the paint. With vibration over time, I’m speculating that the ridge filed its way through the paint and primer, letting water react with the aluminum molecule by molecule. This, plus the fact that the original screws were not installed using TefGel, might explain why the paint sometimes fails on these boats in the vicinity of the rub rails.
I ran out of rouge and have ordered more, but I made good progress on getting the rub rails polished. This is a good “time filler” when I run out of supplies or need parts on some other job. I’ve got the process worked out, and with the deburring and sanding to remove the ridge on the backside, hopefully once the job is done I’ll never have to polish these again.
Next up in our 1969 Chris Craft Roamer 46 Refit: Running Lights