11 April 2015

Whaler Restoration part V- Bottom's up

With the hull flipped,
the gelcoat and fiberglass issues could be addressed.
The problems were a mystery,
and the main reason the 1970 boston whaler was a good deal.
The gelcoat was buried underneath layers of paint, 
dried scum, and more paint,
in that order.
Not sure if this was intentional,
or just beer engineering.
The algae scum was stronger than the spray paint.
I couldn't wait to sand it to the white original gelcoat.
Luckily the issues weren't worse than expected.
The boat had pox and cracks,
a mix of 60's chemical technology limitations,
years of abuse,
and sitting in the water with no bottom paint.
The hull had been out of the water long enough 
to dry out the internal foam.
Many believe the correct way to repair pox,
is to sand the gelcoat down to the green fiberglass,
coat with resin,
and build up with a new protective gelcoat layer.
Sure this hull deserved a yacht restoration,
but not from me.
This would be a test of 21st century resins.
Any flakey spots were sanded/ground down,
and even hammered,
until only the strong remained.
A handful of scars and rub throughs needed fiberglass build up 
using epoxy resin and FG cloth.
A thinned resin coat seeped into the fibers and cracks,
bonding and sealing any section questionable.
The epoxy fairing compound smoothed things out.
The white epoxy filler primer had turned peach,
due to moisture turning the catalyst brown.
The first primer coat magnified the need for more putty.
A polyester based green autobody filler was used for this.
This method has been strong for car repair,
should be ok for a boat.
The second primer layer was much smoother.
The bow section needed a ton of bondo sculpturing,
over the built up fiberglass base.
The wallet was ripped off about this time.
A tough decision was made that changed the trajectory,
towards my typical ways of doing things.
Instead of wasting money on special colors,
I raided my stash of excess work boat paint.
The linear polyurethane was rolled on,
a little bumpy but nice and thick.
Better than owing a painter friend at this point.
Every morning the choice was justified.
If this is what the paint looks like wet with the dew,
than I can live with a little orange peel.
One evening we rushed the hull flip,
switching the a-frame and cherry-picker sides.
A little slow-motion craziness,
as the boat had a mind of it's own.
No injuries,
no problem.
A couple scars on the garage,
and on the boat.
If this is all that happened,
this hull will be bulletproof enough for our use.
The side smack was a bummer,
the trailer just dug right in.
Fiberglassed and smoothed over,
only you readers will ever know.
Now it was time to prep for the top coat.
The sides and now had been sanded.
And the outboard extension welded up.
Good old stick welder.
The boys and I struggled a bit carrying the 50 horse to the boat.
Cool to see an idea become a reality.
Now the plan is to weigh the boat down,
float it in the water,
and mark the real waterline.
Then finish up the luxurious bench seats,
figure out the controls,
and whatever else is on the std list...


  1. Not a boat man so I don't understand the extention for the motor. Seems it would be hard on the boat.

    1. Hi and thanks for reading!
      The extension places the prop in cleaner water,
      Not the turbulent water next to the hull.
      Also the farther back,
      The higher the engine can be.
      This should make it more efficient,
      Less drag.
      Still an experiment...
      The control cables will also have more space,
      Instead of a tangled mess where a seat can be.
      The fiberglass is really thick,
      It'll be shown in the next post.
      Thanks again,