Tuesday, September 25, 2012

KiwiGrip Part Deux

I spent the better part of 4 hours taping and sanding the port fore deck and side decks to get ready for KiwiGrip round 2 today.  The taping took way longer than I thought, but I just didn't realize how long it would take to get all the deck fittings templated and radiused with tape.  The starboard side will be slightly quicker because I cut out cardboard templates to help trace the outlines of the fittings, but it still just takes time.  

Anyway, everything went according to plan today; I took a few hours off at lunch today once the temperature got to 60 and was able to paint the entire port foredeck and sidedeck in a little over an hour.  Once I pulled off the tape and managed to almost slip and fall onto the newly painted surface, I opened up all the doors and gable windows, turned a big fan on the deck (per KiwiGrip's recommendation to help remove the moisture) and went back to my real job.  After seeing how long the last batch took to dry, I was worried that the fan would suck in a bunch of leaves and mess everything up.  When I got home 4 hours later, I was ecstatic to find that the KiwiGrip had dried and was nice and hard.  Even better, there wasn't a single leaf or bug stuck in the paint.  

I have to order another gallon tomorrow and hope to get more done this weekend depending on the weather.  I'm pushing the weather window now so I have to jump on every warm, dry day and get things done.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


This weekend was an emotional roller coaster, I was that crazy bi-polar guy you see on the street who just stopped taking his meds.  I had been waiting all week for the Interlux Perfection to get a good solid cure before starting in on the KiwiGrip so when Friday rolled around and I was officially in the safe zone for taping, I raced home from work to get started.  I rolled out some KiwiGrip on a test panel on my back deck and it looked like it was going to be a breeze to do this thing.  The conditions were perfect (dry and 75 degrees) and no really cold temps. for the entire weekend.

However, as with everything on these projects, the prep work takes all the time (except for drying).  I spent about an hour laying out, taping and cutting radius's in the painters tape on the forward cabin top (about 7' x 5').  Then I spent another hours or so carefully sanding all the edges (120 grit) where the Interlux Perfection 'bled' into the area for the KiwiGrip.

Finally I was ready.  I was a bit nervous because I had never used KiwiGrip before so I called my wife over to the shed to help me with any issues that may come up while I was covered in paint.  I opened up the KiwiGrip, plopped a few healthy dollops around the first area and spread it evenly with a 3/16" notched spreader.  Once I had covered a 2'x4' area I grabbed the 3" (or maybe it's 4") loopy goopy roller supplied with the KiwiGrip and started rolling it out.  It's actually fun to do, and quickly learned that you need to do sort of a random pattern in all directions that will give you a really even 'spackle-y' texture.  I moved forward and repeated the dolloping, spreading, and loopy-goopying.  There wasn't any problem blending in from the previous section (although if you were exposed in the hot sun, I could see this being an issue if you don't work fast).

My wife pulled up the tape as I moved forward as recommended (pull tape before it sets up) and everything was shaping up nicely.  After about 15 minutes the whole forward section of the cabin top was done and with the tape pulled off, it was literally stunning.  Sweet Buttery Christ, it looked awesome.  It looked way better than I expected.  The only thing to watch out for is the roller does throw small spatters in the direction your rolling.  It's easy to wipe it up on a shiny surface, but if your doing it next to something that might stain, make sure to cover it up.

After gazing longingly at how my boat was actually really starting to look like a boat again, I took some pictures and called it a day.  The next morning I got up bright and early to get started on the next section and found the same great looking deck, but it was still wet! Not a little tacky, but just completely wet like I had just applied it.  WTF!!!!  I let it sit for the day not worrying too much because I had a bunch of family stuff to do and figured it just took longer to cure because it had gotten down to the low fifties the night before.

This morning (Sunday) I got up early again hoping I could get some more of the deck done and hoping that I would find the forward cabin top dry... Nope, still wet.  Dammit!!!  A little hard around the edges but nothing that would pass for even remotely dry.  Now I was worried; crushed in fact.  What had I done?  This was by far the simplest part of the restoration so far.  How could I possibly screw up a 1 part paint when I have been through 20 + gallons of epoxy mixing, super nasty 2 part paints that take years off my life (even with a full respirator), and my neighbors wondering if that white bow shed was a meth lab in disguise. I just couldn't figure out what the problem was other than I got a bad batch of KiwiGrip.  I hadn't read or heard of any quality issues with the product, but shit happens.

I decided to send an email to Jamestown Distributors and to KiwiGrip asking for help.  I was pretty dejected knowing that my weather window for the season was slipping away and I was sure this would take some time to sort out.  So I gave hope for getting anything more done this weekend and hoped someone would get back to me next week.

The dorade vent will have a mahogany cover.
To say I was surprised that I got a response from Willy Stiggelbout about 2 hours later is an understatement.  For better or worse, I have grown accustomed to having to wait several days to get service on a product that I ordered online, so I was pretty blown away when I got a response from Willy on a Sunday.  He asked for my number so he could give me a call and get things straightened out.  He called a few hours later and sent me a temp/humidity/time matrix to help explain things.  He thought that even though it was a dry weekend humidity-wise, it was probably pretty humid in my boat shed (especially with a dirt floor).  He told me not to worry, but to try and get some outside air moving through the shed and putting a heater on board to dry things up.  He said that he would call me back in a week or so to make sure everything worked out as well.

I know there was a time when this was what you expected for service, but I haven't seen it in years.  Willy and KiwiGrip deserve many thanks for taking the time to help me out and talk me off the ledge.

As soon as I got off the phone with him, I stole my wife's hair dryer, grabbed a fan and headed back over to the boat shed.  I opened up the gable ends and ran the fan to get air moving, and I fired up the hair dryer (with diffuser) and ran it over the KiwiGrip.  Sure enough, within 10 minutes of starting the hair dryer, it all started to tack up.  I left the fan running to keep the air moving and called it a night, confident that things would turn out well.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Thoughts on Interlux Perfection

After re-reading my post I realized I didn't go into too much detail about using Perfection so I thought I'd elaborate while I wait to move on to KiwiGrip.  First of all, the disclaimer: I am not a painter and I've never used a 2 part paint before (except for the primer). My painting experience is limited to latex or oil on the sides of houses and I've dabbled with Interlux Brightsides polyurethane on past boat projects.  So, it's pretty clear that I am an expert and you should take everything you read on the interweb as gospel!  Now for the expert review:

After working with the 2 part primer (Interlux Primekote), I wasn't expecting to get great results with Perfection because the primer just didn't level well even when thinned to the maximum 25%.  Every coat I did resulted in lots of stipple marks and needed a good sanding to level it after it cured.  Also, mixing the primer was a bear; the paint (big can) in its raw form is like peanut butter and mixing it to the right 3:1 ratio was a messy affair.  Maybe most primers are like that and it didn't impact the quality once mixed, but it was just an added chore (to the large list of chores).

So when I mixed up my first batch of Perfection, it was sooo much easier; both the paint and the catalyst flowed nicely out of the can (I didn't need to scoop it with a stick), and the 2:1 ratio made measuring easy (I'm actually not math challenged, but the marks on my graduated containers make doubling ratios a snap).  Once the paint is mixed, it's similar to the primer where you wait for 20 minutes, so it gives you time to wipe down the area your about to paint with 2333N Brushing Reducer.

I had read that white toned Perfection paints could be rolled and not tipped if thinned to the maximum 10% 2333N Brushing Reducer.  I am terrible at tipping out paint (I either drag too much or too little, leaving a very bad looking surface), so I decided that whatever the result, this was the way to go, at least it would be consistent (unlike my tipping technique).  I think that the lower temperatures (low 60's) also helped improve the leveling because it allowed the paint to stay uncured for a longer period, allowing it to level more before hardening up.  This is just speculation on my part, but I noticed that the third coat didn't level quite as well as the second and I suspect it was because the temps were in the low 80's and caused the paint to harden quicker.  I'm sure someone who knows about these things would have some things to say.

For the cabin top sides I used a 6" foam mini hot dog roller and the deck perimeter a 4" mini hot dog.  You can buy six packs of them at Lowes or Home Depot. They work great and leave a very smooth finish.

I knew that the first coat would be an experiment and would give me good practice for subsequent coats. Almost immediately I found that rolling out a thin film seemed to level better than a thicker coat.  They tell you this in the product literature, but I guess I didn't really get it until I saw it in action.  Also, a thinner coat on a vertical surface reduces the possibility of sags or runs.  Once the first coat cured, it had some technique imperfections that needed to be sanded out (you could see how my technique improved over the course of the first coat), but the gloss just blew me away.

I sanded in between the three coats with 320 grit paper, but I learned after I finished the third coat that if you recoat within 24 hours of painting you don't need to sand in between.  The 320 grit sanding wasn't really a chore though; it only took about 30 minutes to sand the whole thing down and since my technique for the first coat wasn't the best, I think it only helped.

I'm really happy this is done and am really impressed with the paint.  I purchased the half gallon kit (64oz) and used 52 oz.  I'll probably need to get another quart to finish the cockpit when the time comes. The only knock I would give it would be the product literature on the Interlux site is a bit hard to find and wasn't that clear to me.  However, the yachtpaint forum (http://www.yachtpaintforum.com/) is a great resource for all things Interlux.  Interlux manages the forum and has technicians monitoring for incoming questions.  All my questions were answered quickly and completely.  I felt like it more than made up for the somewhat obtuse literature.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Waiting Game

I finished the third and final coat of Interlux Perfection this afternoon and I'm pretty pleased with how things turned out.  I decided to keep the final coat high gloss because the KiwiGrip will be a non-gloss finish, and I just really liked that shiny look on the cabin top sides.  Of course I still have the whole cockpit to contend with but I'll take whatever victory I can.  Now I need 72 hours of cure time on the cabin top and decks before I can start on the KiwiGrip.  I really want to just plow through the KiwiGrip, but I don't want to risk pulling up the pretty shiny paint when taping for the non-skid.

I think I still have enough time left in the season to get all the KiwiGrip completed before the weather turns too cold, but we'll see.  If I have time this week, I'll get the 2 lazarette hatches and the companionway hatch sanded, primed, and ready for the first coat of Perfection while I wait.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Woohoo! Paint Time

I'm only painting the permiter and cabin top.  I don't see the point in wasting expensive paint on the middle parts that are going to be covered with KiwiGrip.

It's been a long time coming, but I've finally gotten to the paint stage (mostly).  The cockpit is another story that I'll work on over the coming months, but I decided it was time to get the decks officially done.  So over the weekend I managed to get 2 coats of Interlux Perfection on the deck perimeter and the cabin top.  It's not perfect by any stretch, but it's time to finish dammit!

The paint itself wasn't too difficult, but the prep seemed to take forever.  I spent 2.5 hours sanding everything with 220 grit and then another hour wiping everything down with the 2333N Brushing Reducer.  Once everything was ready, I mixed up 18 oz of paint (12oz paint and 6oz catalyst), let it sit for 20 minutes and then added 10% Brushing reducer.  I've heard that by thinning to the full 10% you can get away with rolling and not tipping (I just suck at tipping, it never, ever turns out well).  The idea is that with the paint thin enough, it will flow out well, leaving a smooth finish.  I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.

After 2 days, everything had fully cured and I was amazed at how hard the finish was.  It just has a different feel than the primer or even the epoxy for that matter.  Anyway, good stuff.  For the second coat, I sanded everything with 320 grit and repeated the process; long and tedious, but it looked even better because it fully covered any underlying color that still showed through the primer.

I hope to do a final coat this week, but I'll be adding a flattening agent to cut down on the gloss (and it will help hide some of the imperfections that are really obvious with the high gloss).  I haven't decided to flatten to semi-gloss or to satin yet, but the ratio is 1:1 and 2:1 flattener to paint respectively.

In other news, I finally finished up the dinghy project (mostly) and got my son out on a local pond for a sail (here).

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Isaac, you foiled my plans!

After spending Labor Day weekend out on a lake in the Adirondacks and getting no work done on the boat, I decided to take an extra day off work yesterday with the hope of getting the first coat of Perfection on the sides of the cabin top and deck perimeter.  When I say perimeter, I mean the sides of the deck along the bulwark and cabin top, as well as any other areas that won't be covered by the non-skid (KiwiGrip).  Applying Perfection to areas that will be covered would just be a waste of money.  I think that the 3-4 coats of epoxy primer on the entire deck will be ample protection should the KiwiGrip fail.

Unfortunately, the remnants of Hurricane Isaac decided that he would come visit and bring lots of rain and humidity so I decided that it would be best to hold off until drier conditions.  It's not that it was raining in the boatshed, but I've heard that some paints can be a bit finicky when applied in very humid conditions and I don't want to risk putting down a bad coat.

I moved ahead with paint preparations anyway, and drilled pilot holes for all the deck hardware (except for the hatches on the cabin top and aft deck.  I used the holes on the underside of the deck as a template and drilled up with a 3/64" bit.  It was sort of ironic that I spent all this time patching holes in the decks only to make new ones as soon as I was finished.  In any event, it needed to be done so I could use the holes as a guide for where to apply the Perfection.  No pictures, but it wasn't much to see anyway.

With that done, I switched from the paint front to building a platform at the back of the boatshed to make it easier to board the boat.  With the exception of painting, most of my remaining work will be in the cockpit/cabin/engine area and making it easier to get on board without having to crawl down the sidedecks will go a long way in keeping things clean.  I built it about 5 feet up so it's an easy step onto the boat once I'm on the platform.  I also built an ugly, but functional  wide ladder and screwed it right to the platform.