Thursday, August 9, 2012

That Stripper is Awesome

The paint stripper that is....

It is however really messy and the cleanup takes almost as long as just sanding.  The good thing is that it doesn't score up the surface and gets into corners that I really couldn't have reached easily with a sander.  This stripper (Peel Away) had been sitting in my basement for years (~10) and I wasn't sure if it still worked or not.  It certainly did!

I'm not really up on the latest chemical stripper news but when I first bought this stuff long ago, it was one of the first 'environmentally friendly' strippers out there.  I think it's soy based but I don't know because the label has long since worn off.  In any event, another cool thing that it uses is a paper backing that you adhere to the gel once it is applied (maybe they all do this now).  This serves 2 purposes; the first is that it keeps the stripping gel from drying out so it works longer.  The second is that when you peel it off all the paint is supposed to stick to the paper.  It sort of works, but doesn't get all of the paint off and certainly a lot of the gel is left behind on the surface.  This is where I spent my time.  Most of the paint does indeed loosen up on the surface your stripping, but removing it along with the leftover gel is just a really messy proposition.

So, armed with a garbage bag, a carbide scraper, and a set of cabinet scrapers I set to work getting it all cleaned up.  At first it didn't seem all that bad, and it was kind of satisfying seeing big sheets of paint come off, but after I'd been on my knees in the cockpit covered in the stuff for an hour it gets old.  Couple that with the boatshed temperature approaching the high 90's it gets old.  Mmmmm, fun.  Anyway, it was a job that I was dreading and it's done now.  I finished up with a bucket of hot water and washed everything down to get the residue off.

As I was finishing up, I stepped on part of the bridge deck that I normally reserve for the shop vac and felt something bad.  Further inspection revealed that a 2 foot section of the port side bridge deck was at the very least delaminated, but I suspected worse (wet core).  I drilled out a few test holes and sure enough, the core was completely soaked in that area (&*#^!@$ CRAP).  I really don't know why it was wet there, because there aren't any through holes other than an icebox access hatch that the previous owner had installed.  The only other spot water could possibly have gotten in was a small spot where the boom crutch has supported the boom for years.  Over time it had worn away the paint and had gotten into the roving (visible).  I didn't think that it had gotten all the way through the skin though.

Finding this was a complete kick in the nuts and I wanted to cry.  I thought I was done with core repairs and actually had hopes of getting the cockpit primed this weekend.  I threw myself a full on pity party and went back to the house for dinner.  I need to apologize to Steph and the kids because she had made a really nice dinner and we ate out on the deck, but I was in a foul mood so I don't think there was much merriment.

During dinner I resigned myself to the fact that there was more core work to do and it wasn't going to get done unless I did it. So after eating, I went back over to the boatshed with the cordless circular saw and my dremel multimax (poor man's Fein) and cut out the offending area.  Today, I'll clean up the bottom skin, grind the bevels, and epoxy in a new core.  With any luck, I'll be able to get 3 new layers of biax on over the weekend.  It's a setback for sure, but in reality it isn't a big deal considering what I've already done to this boat. 

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