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Farr 11.6 (Farr 38)
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60 grit, got it. What is a 'sandals subcoat'? I don't really need it to look like a factory finish. This boat is not going to be original when I get done with it, but hopefully still attractive. I'm even thinking of ditching the Bristol Blue hull color for yellow or mint green.

This is it the day I took possession.
View attachment 140519
"Sandals subcoat" That was the smartphone doing auto-correct. It was supposed to be "sandable subcoat." In other words, a coat of paint that could be sanded to level any minor defects in the gelcoat such as sanding swirls open pores, or other scratches in gelcoat.

That boat needs a traveler. The boat loads up in a breeze and your best tool for quickly depowering in a gust is the traveler. You will get used to the traveler position once you sail the boat for a while.

Jeff
 

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I am going to be grinding down all the gelcoat in the cockpit and on the deck, along with rebedding the non-opening portlights and replacing a couple of them with ones that open. I am doing all this in an open boatyard where I'll be subject to weather and I want to be a good neighbor to nearby boats. I'm hoping for some advice regarding the best way to tackle this.

Do I want to pull all the hardware first?
Do the job in sections (e.g. cockpit first, then windows, then deck)?
What's the best way to knock down large sections of gelcoat relatively quickly without making a huge mess?
Any random advice?

Links to relevant pages, videos or equipment greatly appreciated. I'm new to fiberglass repair.

PS. I should add that I've been watching a lot of Boatworks Today and I know Andy has his favored methods and brands. Would I be well-served by following his advice, or are there places where his process can be improved?
How is the boat project going? Unless you live in the southern US this is not the time of year to work out doors. I have done this type of project about 4 or 5 times. The last time we pulled the mast and found a shop that we could work inside. We did this during the winter. It worked out the best. In the spring everything was fresh and looking great. Best of all I didn't spend much of the spring and summer doing the job instead of using the boat. You asked about tools for sanding the cockpit, decks etc. I found the most affordable and still effective unit made by Ridged. It is sold by Home Depot. The best sand paper is actually not paper backed but plastic fabric. I buy mine at a shop that sells to automotive body professionals. Buy it by the box. You will use a lot. Also I do a lot of hand sanding but use tools and sand paper in rolls with sticky back made just for the hand tools. You can sand with one hand and hold the vacuum hose with the other to keep the dust down. Pressure wash and clean everything with strong detergent before starting. You get the moss, dirt, loose varnish and paint off as well as any oil or wax residue that may be there.
Electrical wiring Gas Cable Auto part Electrical supply

Automotive tire Road surface Asphalt Wood Tool
As Jeff pointed out this is a big job. You have to push yourself to knock it out in two or three months. "Push hard, it will come easy". As for nonskid paint we used Interlux interdeck on the last job. It is easy to apply and touch up later. It works well as a nonskid but is not too aggressive. I like and use Interlux paint a lot but I think other brands are probably great too. I prefer semi gloss on deck. It keeps down the glare and imperfections are not as visible. By the way I like your boat. Just the writing size too. Not too big or too small!
 

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I am going to be grinding down all the gelcoat in the cockpit and on the deck, along with rebedding the non-opening portlights and replacing a couple of them with ones that open. I am doing all this in an open boatyard where I'll be subject to weather and I want to be a good neighbor to nearby boats. I'm hoping for some advice regarding the best way to tackle this.

Do I want to pull all the hardware first?
Do the job in sections (e.g. cockpit first, then windows, then deck)?
What's the best way to knock down large sections of gelcoat relatively quickly without making a huge mess?
Any random advice?

Links to relevant pages, videos or equipment greatly appreciated. I'm new to fiberglass repair.

PS. I should add that I've been watching a lot of Boatworks Today and I know Andy has his favored methods and brands. Would I be well-served by following his advice, or are there places where his process can be improved?
Are you only doing the outside? Or inside stuff first?
Break it down by task not by area, breaking down by area can lead to weird issues, like differences forever after in the paint colour/texture.
Gelcoat planes are great for hulls, not so good in areas like cockpits.
If you were say wanting to take the non-skid right off the correct tool in your price range is a 5" variable speed grinder, a concrete clear plastic shroud from Dustless and fibre backed grinding pads with ceramic abrasives.
For what it looks to me like you need to do, you're better off with a good quality big random orbital sander, the difference between say a 5" and a 6" are way more than you'd think. Hands down no comparison the best abrasive is the ceramic mesh from Mirka, available in sheets, and disks, fits any hole pattern, the only problem with them is that they are so good they tend to remove the hooks from the backing pad over time, not an issue with the right sander because you use an intermediate pad called an interface pad that come in packs for cheap and simply throw them out as they wear. Using that abrasive I would go 80 over everything, but have 40 on hand for bad areas like in your photos. For something your size I would think about buying the expensive tool for the job, either Mirka or Festool Rotex, that will run you 400-800$ depending, both have excellent sanding patterns, and have various soft/hard interface pads available for doing edges and not wearing down the velcro on your backing disk. They are very valuable and if you don't drop it and clean it well after you're done you'll likely only spend 150-200$ for the job. I don't think it's ever taken more than 2 days for me to sell mine, and as both manufacturers increase their prices often, some festool tools I've sold for more than I paid in the first place after years of use.
I do NOT like auto net the above poster used except for when I've got a coating issue where the mesh is clogging before wearing out, or with some primers that clog before the ceramic wears out. Then the cheaper cost per sheet is a good deal. In side by side tests on hard surfaces like gelcoat, when I looked at the overall job, costs were as follows:
Autonet 150% of abra net cost.
Abra net reference cost
Abranet ACE(ceramic) 80% of the Abra net cost. However, it dropped the job cost by a lot more than that, because it was so much faster so my labour costs were lower.

Buy a Rigid vacuum, the smallest one that uses a full height filter, and buy the HEPA filter and a supply of liner bags. The bag catches 95% of the dust and you simply throw it out when full, using the bag means you can get a lot more into the vac before you have to stop as the filter isn't getting plugged. Oh and buy a second dust hose, and put it on the exhaust then exhaust it out of the boat. I HATE vacuums blowing dust all over the work area. As a bonus it gives a slight negative air effect so you keep the dust from spreading outside the work area much.
I like the festool hand sanding block that takes a vac as well for fussy areas, with a soft interface pad.
Even for hand sanding I buy a set of the body work sanding blocks with velcro on them. The one that takes a disk the same size as your orbital sander is brilliant. Disks usually wear out around the edge, with the centre being good. So I save all my disks, and then throw them on the hard foam hand pad, or a cut down interface pad for convex edges. The middle part is now the part in use.
The only place I use sticky back is on a long board, and there only because my air file was not available in hook and loop and since they use the same sheets it was logical.


For best results you want hardware/windows out first so there isn't an obvious masking line around them. But for winter work I would leave that all alone and focus on your sanding for now, pull them as weather improves, finish sanding, paint then re bed/replace windows.

Workflow as follows:
Clean boat well, I would use 30 second off for this. Rinse, let dry, rinse again.

Use electrical plastic conduit to create an arched tunnel from outside to outside of stanchions, cover with a high quality tarp, the clear ones with the string weave in the middle are the best. Blue tarps are worthless.

Mask fittings with blue 3m masking tape to prevent damage from sanders.
Sand everything
Grind and repair cracks etc with polyester resin and mat.
Spot fill with Duraglass trying to keep your fills as smooth as possible. Metal body mans knives are best for this on a project of this size. Plastic wear out too quickly. Keep them clean, never let it kick on the blade.
Pull fittings, feather in these areas and the spot fills and repairs finishing @80 grit. This is usually about the point where most people give up and give the boat away. If you make it past here then good on you.

Skim coat with easy sanding filler, Everglass Rage gold is good. Bondo is not. I've seen too many cases of bondo sucking up water and swelling up/failing. Use pieces of aluminium etc to skim as wide an areas as possible at a time. Skim it right to the existing surface don't treat it like a cake or you'll be filling and sanding forever.
Final sand with 150 grit ceramic.
1 coat primer. Spot fill the now obvious areas you couldn't see before it was all one colour.
Sand again this time with 220.
Primer
Sand with 400.
Paint.
Nonskid paint. I like interlux either Interdeck(only ok) or a 2 part paint with the grip tex additive(much better). I'm thinking of experimenting with Deckkote this year, it's a 3 part system that uses rubber grit.
Reinstall fittings and bed windows etc.
Buy slippers or special deck shoes for guests and become one of those annoying boat owners because you don't want to do this again ever.
Go sailing?
 

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Discussion Starter · #24 · (Edited)
Thanks for the replies. I live in the Northeast and I am done with the boat for the winter. Before the weather turned cold, I removed the portlights, along with the stanchions and pulpits, filled mounting holes and ground down some of the cracks and fractures, as well as cut a few big holes in the deck to fix big leaky cracks and waterlogged balsa. I have mostly finished repairing those holes and they looked good enough that our marina's boat restoration guy asked if I wanted a job. I don't know if he was kidding, but they do look better than I was expecting when I started this. Come warmer weather, I'll glass the cockpit sole and repair the mostly minor dings on the rest of the deck before priming and painting. I don't know if I'll have the boat back in the water this season but if all goes well, I'm going to take it to Lake Champlain and learn to sail her properly.

I've started a YouTube channel to document my work and keep my family informed. Not that any of them have watched it. As Midwesterners, they all think I'm crazy/suicidal/having a midlife crisis (the latter is probably true). The first few videos are not very interesting, mostly (poorly) documenting my search, purchase and trip home with the boat, but I get into the boatwork around Episode 11. I'm still a few episodes behind but that's what winter is for. If you watch, may I offer a shameless plug to give them a like and subscribe? And definitely leave comments if you see something I could be doing better.

 
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