Saturday, December 5, 2015

All White

Some days on this project, I just don't feel like I'm making any progress.  Then other days I do.  Today was one of the latter.  After spending way too much time applying gelcoat and then sanding it off, we got the rails "good enough".

Yesterday was spent preparing to apply the gelcoat to the body of the top. Using the sander with some 80 grit paper, I tapered the gelcoat "edges" to make a smooth transition from the handrail to the fiberglass surface of the top.  Then we applied a little more thickened resin to try and help fair (smooth) the surface of the top.  While that was curing (late in the evening with the heater running), we taped off that handrail that we just finished spending way too much time on.

This morning we awoke to temperatures just above freezing.  After being fortified with some coffee and getting the propane tank for the heater filled, we started the day trying to defrost and dry out the work tent.  About the time things were finally drying out I realized we were missing the spare roller cover for applying the gelcoat.  A run to the local Home Depot (I like their roller better than the one at Lowe's) and a quick stop for lunch (yes, it took that long to defrost and dry everything), we were finally ready to put some gelcoat down.

Using a hotplate and pot that my neighbor in the boatyard has, we warmed up the gelcoat to make it a bit easier to apply.  Just under a gallon of gelcoat later, the top is now completely white.

Masked off for the texture portion and first gelcoat application

Of course, this is only the first couple coats on the top side. We still need to add more gelcoat and create the texture.  Unfortunately, it is taking more gelcoat than we had planned and we aren't sure we have enough to finish the job.  So, we are debating our options right now.  We won't be able to get more of the same gelcoat we are currently using until Monday or Tuesday.  We could go to West Marine and pick up a gallon of gelcoat, but what they sell retails at about 3 times the price per gallon and has different characteristics in how it flows (the white does seem to be the same color though). We can alter they way we planned on applying the gelcoat to compensate if we want to.

Given the astronomical mark-ups that West Marine charges if you don't have a Port Supply account (Port Supply pricing can be less than half the normal retail price), I really prefer not to shop there unless it is an absolute emergency.  I just don't like rewarding price gouging behavior (if West wanted to be more competitive, I'd be more happy to shop there). Of course, getting this top done and getting out of here is getting to be an emergency of sorts and I would really like to have the top ready to go on the boat come Monday.

Guess we will see how we feel (and how the weather forecasts look) in the morning.


  1. Hi Mike,
    Top looks good, assume you were able to get a reasonably priced gal of gelcoat and have put on a skid-resistant coat using a roller. The cold weather has held off and it looks like 5-8 more days with daytime temps in the 60's at your location. I and other readers are hoping you finish, get your SS guy to make the front supports, put the hardtop on and head south. It's 70's in Fla and Bahamas and 80's in BVI's.
    Doug in VT

    1. Hi Doug,
      Yep, got my gelcoat. Just about to write up the post on the experience doing the non-skid. Next step is to get it on the boat with temporary supports so the welder can get accurate measurements/angles for the supports.

      We hope this can go quickly as well...would be a welcome change. Don't remind me of the temperatures...I know all too well we shouldn't be here. ;-)