Dinghy Progress

No photos today – I had my camera set wrong and everything came out overexposed. Not much to look at anyway.

I concluded all the paint and varnish removal for this year’s refit. I ground the paint off about three inches on the topsides (up from the bottom), so that when I lay glass on the bottom, the fabric will overlap the seams of the panels.

I also stripped the thwarts. Several times. I have concluded that the epoxy sealer I used on the thwarts is very resistant to chemical stripper. The varnish, however, bubbled up and scraped clean. I stripped each of the three thwarts twice, using liberal amounts of the chemical each time. After scraping with a paint scraper, I wiped them down with mineral spirits and sanded. They are very smooth now, but there are still black lines where water had penetrated the varnish/epoxy, probably though the end-grain of the plywood thwarts. I can bleach out the lines with oxalic acid, but I’m not sure it’s worth it. The thwarts will never look pristine with perfect varnish and finish unless I replace them whole-sale and start again. Not up to that this time around. The material is still solid, and generally presentable, so it’s just down to deciding how much trouble to take on the less-than-perfect appearance. I’m not sure whether to reseal with epoxy then varnish, or just use varnish. It’s so much easier to repair the finish if only varnish is used. On the other hand, the finish resists the weather longer with epoxy. Hmmm. . . .

Next step is to apply sealer on the thwarts and effect epoxy repairs in a few places. I’ll need inject some resin in one or two voids at corner seams, then clamp or draw together the repair with a band clamp or line/spanish windlass. Then there are some gouges and cracks to fill with fairing compound on the bottom. When that’s done, I can set a layer of glass fabric in epoxy on the bottom and transoms. I’m going to reenforce the insides of the transoms with glass too. Maybe several laminates of glass on the transoms and seams, as those areas seem to get stressed a lot with moving and lifting.

Whew. That seems like a lot of work, and we haven’t even gotten to the painting. Last time I did this, I was amazed at how much paint was required, and how long it took, especially on the inside of the boat.

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4 comments
  1. Rick – when I refinished the exterior teak on my boat I used a two stage cleaner from West Marine. It worked better than I could have hoped for. This was the first time I had used the brightener, part 2, and that removed all the black from the grain. I had hoped to get 8 coats of varnish but only got through 4 but after eight months it still looks great. No black streaks in the grain.

    • Hmmm. . . . Worth a try! Thanks Tom. Hope you guys are doing great. How’s the trip going?

  2. Good idea with the 3″ grind up the sides to blend it into the sides and cover the seams.
    I believe I’d go with the varnish if you need to do repairs regularly. Can’t wait to see your final results.

    • I keep going back and forth on this. To epoxy or not to epoxy. That is the question.

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