A year ago last month, I fabricated and installed an anchor platform for Cay of Sea. This took quite a while, because the platform had to accommodate a danforth-style hook – not the easiest anchor to fit to a platform. Also, it was a “custom” fabrication, so there was a great deal of measuring, marking, trimming, fitting, refitting, remarking, designing, redesigning – you get the idea. It was a lot of fussy work, but the result was a great improvement for stowing and handling the ground tackle.
This is the way it looked this spring before the finish failed. Compare with the following images:
So maybe this doesn’t look to alarming to you, but considering that it is made of red oak, taking action is indicated sooner than later. Red oak is a lovely dense, hard wood that is tough. The problem with it is that it is rot-prone. I knew that when I used it to build the platform, but I used it anyway because it was readily available and reasonably cheap. I reasoned that if I kept it protected with epoxy and varnish, it would do fine.
And it would have done fine, if I had kept up with it this year. However, I got in a hurry last fall to use it, and only put on 3-4 coats of cheap varnish, promising myself that I would do a better job soon. . . Soon is relative, you know. I should have re-varnished this spring with the good stuff, but I didn’t. Subsequently, here we are in mid-fall, and I’ve got to redo the finish correctly.
I was also dismayed to find out that the fender washers I used weren’t stainless, or were an inferior grade of stainless, and they rusted. I know I chose them from the stainless bin, but sometimes fasteners and hardware gets shifted about. When I reinstall that platform, I’ll be sure to use high quality stainless fender washers.
After removing the platform, I was happy to see that my sealant (Boatlife caulk) did a great job of keeping the water out of the boat and out of the bolt holes. I sealed the deck holes with epoxy last fall, but did not pot the holes and re-drill. I intend to do that while the platform is off too.
So the first step was to remove/strip all the finish off. I used Strypeez paint remover – the really thick stuff, and it did a really good job. It was in the 50s yesterday while I was using it, so it worked a little more slowly, but it did the job.
After removing the finish, I used oxalic acid to bleach the dark lines out of the wood, and lighten it over all. Three heaping tablespoons in a quart of hot water made a very strong solution.
I wiped the piece with solvent, then mixed my epoxy resin, and here I may have a glitch. My container of West System resin pulled air with the second pump, and I got an imprecise measure of resin. I pumped in two pumps of catalyst anyway, and hope the ratio is nearly correct. If it isn’t, it won’t cure properly – I’ll know tomorrow morning if it cured. If it didn’t cure, I’ll have to strip it again and re-coat with a properly mixed ratio. Regardless, I’ll need more resin for subsequent coats, so there’s no great loss if I need to take an uncured coat off – just a bit of time.
And, I got a comment on my introductory post requesting a few more photos of the platform, so here they are: