Yesterday I finished sanding the underside of the bridgedeck. Here and there required additional filling, which I have also done and sanded and then after a final check I decided there were a few more areas I needed to add a little more filler to so I filled them before finishing for the day.

Today the last few spot fills had not fully set so I will sand them tomorrow, there is literally only 10 to 15 minutes needed to finish the underside of the bridgedeck to the point where I can either paint it, or raise it the way it is and have it painted at the same time as the rest of the boat is painted.

I have cut 8 legs to size to wedge under the bridgedeck to hold it in place while the glue sets and the tapes are on and set. I think 2 per bulkhead should be enough, but if not then I will simply cut some more. The legs are 100mm x 50mm timber cut to the height that the bridgedeck is off the ground and the offcuts used as feet of around 500mm to spread the load along the bulkhead (or across it if I decide to run the feet fore and aft – not sure yet). We have a box trailer at the warehouse and also a pallet jack so I think we can turn the deck over and lift it onto the box trailer to move it into position, then to finally lift it up to the underside of the bulkheads I can lift each end and then under each bulkhead using the pallet jack then slipping the legs into place and maybe slipping spacers of 3mm mdf in if needed to pack them out to tightly wedge the legs un place once the bulkheads have glue on them.

Today I also experimented with some highbuild paint and some fly screen to see if the end result is similar to the effect I am looking for in a non slip finish. I really like the look that production boats get with their non slip areas but their finishes are build into the moulds, with a pattern rather than the randomness of sand sprinkled in paint to achieve the non slip and I find that sand also does not wear very well leaving patches in high traffic areas and looks unsightly and dirty after not very long. There are professional additives to achieve a non slip finish or paint that already has the non slip grit or balls in them but these are still a random pattern in the paint and some areas can have excessive non slip whilst other areas are very bare. Another method is sprinkling sugar onto wet paint, then when the paint is almost dry pouring hot water over the paint to dissolve the sugar.

I had an idea that I might be able to replicate the look of a fixed pattern (non random) by painting over a layer of fly screen before removing the fly screen just before the paint dries leaving a mirror image of the flyscreen in the paint.

I have not yet bought the paint I will use as a final topcoat so I experimented with some highbuild I have left. I assume highbuild to be somewhat thicker than 2 pack topcoat urethane to be, and I am not sure whether this will help or hinder the paint to retain the pattern I am after but I had a go at a sample anyway.

highbuild non sliphighbuild non slip 1

What I learnt from the exercise is that I probably can get an acceptable finish but it might be very difficult. I had a very small piece of fly screen, about 200mm wide by about 600mm long. I lifted it off in sections to see what effect leaving it on longer would have, this resulted in lines in the finish where I stopped, suggesting I have to remove the flyscreen in one long uninterrupted motion, difficult with 7 meters of flyscreen. You also have to get a uniform amount of paint down, I used a brush so I may be able to achieve that with a roller or even spraying the paint but I don’t think spraying will press the flyscreen down sufficiently to ensure it is evenly down in the paint with no lifted areas or bubbles. And you cannot move the flyscreen in any way except straight up off the paint never to touch again or you end up with smudged areas. So it might be too difficult to get a good unblemished finish over such a large area. So I may have to abandon the idea. I am not sure yet but I am not convinced yet this is going to work.

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Paul