Monday, April 25, 2011

Cracks Filled - Filler Filed

After three coats of epoxy to get the boat surfaces sealed and relatively smooth, it was time for filling the grooves.

Following in the footsteps of others, the method chosen to make the pretty stripes and fill the cracks between the planks was pigmented epoxy. A little tape masking, a little white pigment in the epoxy, some white silica thickener, some loading of blank caulking tubes, some epoxy pumped into the grooves, some going all over the tape, some squeegeeing of the mess back into the grooves, some overfilling, some underfilling and turning out the lights and coming back in three hours to remove the tape.....then repeating the next day or so until the whole boat is a mess. After practicing on my sample board, I figured that I would develop a technique that would make the application better as I went along, but it seemed to get worse. Apparently more silica was not the answer as it became impossible to smooth out and was not a smooth consistency, always more like a vanilla milkshake from hell.

Well actually, the boat looks great in pictures, but the white stripes are a bit lumpy and need some dental type work to smooth the surfaces. After some experimentation with scraping and filing, I think I have developed a method using various files that will make it all OK....I think. As usual, it takes more time than initially thought. I've got about 2/3 of the stripes smoothed. Then I'll probably sand the entire surface and apply one more coat of epoxy before final varnish coats are applied.

Note: All plans subject to change without notice.

As noted, my plans changed. Due to a few voids in spots and several low spots in the white stripes, I masked off the stripes again and mixed up some more white epoxy with just a bit of thickener and poured it onto the stripes and smoothed it down with a plastic stir stick. The tape was removed after a couple of hours as before and the stripes look pretty good now. I think one more sanding of the whole deck and a coat of clear epoxy should complete this stage....I hope.

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