Sunday, December 10, 2006

Ideas From Readers...

Here are two comments from readers who posted on our thread on the builder's forum at

---Comment 1---
The thing is, high-build primer is expensive, so getting a good sanding done first will save you time and money.

That said, I would do just as you wrote, prime, take a look, and then work those areas that specifically need attention. I've had best results with two coats of the high build then sanding. You might try that misting thing Joel has been doing on the FS14 thread. It seems like a great way to really pick out the problem areas.
---End Comment 1---

---Comment 2---
Before you put primer down...

1) Use straight edges with a light behind it to look for a fair surface. The light will show through between the hull and the straight edge if it is not fair.

2) Position a strong light close the hull surface. Step 6 or more feet away from the hull and look right down the side (block the light with your hand while you can still look down the hull). This will show many imperfections if they exist.

The above doesn't take very long and will tell you if you are ready.

Resist the urge to forge ahead if you have doubts that you are really ready for the next step.
---End Comment 2---

Saturday, December 09, 2006

For Clarification

I want to clarify things a bit. From my perspective, there's no tension between Greg and me on this project. We have the same vision for this boat... a high-quality watercraft that we built with our own hands. I know that this is ultimately his baby and I'm basically playing "Gilligan" to his "Skipper." He's a mechanical engineer and has done tons of research every step along the way. He's got a more developed vision than I do, and more knowledge and insight about how to achieve that vision.

At the same time, he's not autocratic. When I have an idea or disagree with his approach, I tell him what's on my mind and he listens. Sometimes we implement my thoughts, others we don't. When we went into this project, we knew we'd occasionally disagree. Since it's ultimately his boat, I've got no problems with doing what he wants and to his satisfaction. We really are doing this as a team; we're simply using the fact that it's his boat as the tiebreaker.

My frustration is merely that we've been stuck in the sanding and fairing stage for over seven months. Part of this is the pursuit of perfection, and part of this is because we're both family men who can only devote a few hours per week to this project. In the end, please don't think that my previous post was designed to imply that I'm frustrated with Greg, because that's not true. Mainly I'm illustrating, with my own personal experience, that building such a large boat carries its share of challenges and frustrations.

Friday, December 08, 2006

A Snail's Pace

Once we're done with this project, I certainly hope that the boat goes through the water faster than we're progressing on the boat. It was two and a half months ago that I declared us "almost done" preparing the hull for painting. In retrospect, I feel like Bush proclaiming an end to major combat in Iraq.

Since saying "almost done," we've done still more sanding and fairing and filling holes, and I'm starting to get frustrated. A couple of weeks ago, I asked Greg if we could set the end of 2006 as a goal for flipping the boat. This would require us to be finished sanding, fairing, and priming the hull, and painting the bottom. He said it was doable and we set 12/31/06 as a tentative date for flipping the boat. We pissed away the next two weekends doing more sanding and fairing and quite honestly, I'm tired of it. I understand that Greg wants the boat to be perfect, but eventually you need to say "good enough." Part of the issue is that the boat is a huge patchwork of different colors and textures. There are areas where the eye says "this area needs to be filled in a bit more," but the hand says "it's perfectly smooth." There is one minor area on the port chine, toward the front, that needs to be touched up, but other than that, I think it's ready to prime.

Greg agrees with me in theory, but in practice we end up sanding and fairing when I get over there. We're both tired of the routine and we're both failing to see real progress. I think it's time to finish up the chine and prime. The primer we've bought is high-build primer, so it will perform two complimentary functions. Because it's high-build, it will fill in the smallest flaws, and because a primer coat would make the boat a uniform colors, it would expose any remaining flaws.

Your thoughts?