So, it's been about five weeks since my last post. The time has come for a "Fancy Catch Up." By the way, back when I was truck driving, I used to pick up Red Gold Tomato products, made with pride in Alexandria, Indiana.
A couple weeks or so ago, I shed one of the part time jobs I had. I miss the people there, but my schedule was getting too tight. Several projects down at the boat required more time than money anyway.
I've been spending my free time where I should be, hard at work down at Tower Marine. The project with the biggest splash was getting some paint on her. It's only primer, but the boat is all one color above the waterline. That's a big deal. It is still exciting to drive up and see her.
The important part of one color was to be able to check the radiused gunwale; a big project from last fall. Without the distraction of all the colors of all my repair work, it is smooth. I am very happy with the result. It's not perfect but it nearly looks like it was made that way.
The frustrating re-patch that I wrote about last time is fixed and is probably stronger than it had been anyway. I had to give up on the skin. Originally, I had carefully cut through the top skin and saved it to cover over again. The skin was beyond saving, so I ended up just fairing it in with epoxy putty. More on that in another post.
With a "little touch up and a little paint" to show the boatyard folks, I dove into the next project on the list and the rotten balsa wood started flying. The cockpit floor was a known issue when I bought the boat. Some inept previous owner had screwed something to the floor of the cockpit without sealing the holes. When they sold the boat, they kept whatever it was, but left the holes in the floor. These holes allowed the core to get soaked by the elements and the structure of the floor was compromised.
Of course, not all the damn balsa was rotten. The rotten wood came up like warm butter, but about 30% of the balsa was just fine - solid. It had to be cut out, pried out, and ground down. In the fight, the bottom skin of fiberglass got perforated in a few places. But the wood came out - two solid days on my hands and knees in the blazing sun. I taped some of the worst holes and put down two layers of glass cloth; big layers of cloth.
After the glassing had cured, I installed my pre-cut and pre-coated 5/8" plywood new floor. It is rock solid. I haven't jumped up and down on it yet, but I will happily face a storm standing right there at the tiller.
The floor still needs a couple layers of glass cloth on top and some paint, but it is puttied in, smoothed over and sealed up. The re-patch is looking good too. It has been sanded down enough to get painted soon.
Further, there was one spot on the gunwale that had a little ripple. It was the one place that it was a little too obvious that I had been carving on it with an angle grinder. My obsessive compulsion came swinging back and I did some more work there to bring it up to standards that my old friends in the Florida boat business would approve of. It feels so good to be making lots recognizable progress.