Wednesday, October 28, 2015

60 Degrees and Raining

My usual luck with weather returned yesterday.  I think the high may have been 62 degrees at sometime around 3pm and the gelcoat says don't apply below 65 degrees.  And while it doesn't explicitly say not to apply it in the rain, I think that is a safe assumption.

Fortunately version 2.0 of  the camp gave us the ability to apply a little gel coat anyway.  While some of the tarps are getting a little worn, one was still pretty waterproof and we were able to raise it enough to access one side of the top.

We mixed up some gelcoat, catalyzed it at the high end of the range (the bottle says to use between 1 and 3% MEKP) and brushed it on the starboard edge and the first couple inches of both sides of the top.  Then we fired up the heater to bring the temperature inside the tent to about 75 degrees.  Once the coat started curing, we turned off the heater, mixed up some more gelcoat, and applied it over the first, brushing it on at a 90 degree angle to the first coat.  Started the heater and let that cure for a little bit and then did one more coat. After all three coats had cured a bit, I brushed on some PVA (this is laminating gelcoat) and let the heat complete the cure.

Gelcoat curing under the heated tent.

Today the rain continued and I spent most of the day sanding and shaping the gelcoat after washing off the PVA.  I think it was due to the temperature, but for whatever reason, the gelcoat didn't flow as well when applied the day before and so a lot of sanding was needed to make everything smooth.  Since I don't have a real longboard sander, I'm using a drywall sanding block and it worked really well. As it turns out, even with 3 coats, there were still thin spots once everything was sanded smooth.  So, at this point, the edge shape looks really good but I will need to apply another coat and try not to sand through it.

The rainy weather is supposed to break tomorrow, so hopefully I'll have a bit better luck getting the gelcoat to flow and can get a nice even 30+ mil coat applied to the rest of the edges (so when I sand there will still be 20 mils or so left on the top).  With any luck, maybe I can get the rest of the edge done without sanding all the way through the gelcoat and having to reapply more.


  1. Hi Mike,
    I see that the next 9 day's forecast has only one day (Mon) of rain and some mild temps during day. Hope that holds true. Glad to see the heater is working. The gelcoat pic looked good. Sanding seems the norm whether gelcoat is put down by brush or sprayed. Have you designed the front support posts for the hardtop yet?
    Doug- Back in VT

    1. I hope that holds true, I could use a good stretch of nice weather. Gelcoat is going slower than expected...well, getting it smooth is anyway.

      The supports are pretty simple. Intend to use stainless the same size as the arch supports/davits. Won't be able to get exact dimensions until the top is temporarily on the boat (that is when the welder will come out, measure, and make them).