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.

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