Its official. I am too damn old for this! The underside of the hull extensions and bottom steps are bogged and sanded, and spot filled. Next step is another sand to take the excess bog from the spot fill and if there is no further spot filling needed, a coat of high build, another sand and then the copper epoxy.

Jo spent good Friday taking her nephews to the Easter show with her sister and son, I spent it at the shed proving to myself how ache inducing sanding upside down is. The sanding took me 5 hours from first putting the face mask on to taking the gloves off from spot filling. Even though it was hard work and I am a bit tired from it, its that satisfied tired feeling like after a good work out. And the work of the last couple of months, the hull extension and the bottom step overhang look fantastic. I am so pleased.

But first a few thoughts on Easter. I am not a believer. I cant understand how intelligent people still follow or need religions in the 21st century. Dont get me wrong, I like most of the sentiments of religions, such as “love thy neighbour” and “do unto others”. Problem is, most people that claim to be religious dont live them, especially their leaders and along with the nice sentiments come a bunch of loony beliefs and rules such as not eating this on that day or stuff like creationism and the world being 5000 years old. Funny. What I dont like about religions is how they dont want to let others live their lives the way they see fit and are always trying to impose their values on the rest of us, with no idea what our values are. In Australia the only 2 days of the year that near everything stops whether you like it or not are religious holidays. And speaking of value, if I was going to choose a god, I sure as heck wouldnt choose one that made chocolate 5 times the price just because its shaped like a rabbit or an egg! Speaking of capitalism, Jo went to the Easter Show today (for readers in the US, the state fair) the pinnacle of capitalism, where suckers are parted with their bucks big time using children as the hook (and games of skill!). It used to be about agriculture, letting city folk see a sheep shearer and a sheep shearer to see the city and allowing everyone’s favourite Aunt to show off her baking skill for the best in show cheesecake competitions, and taking urban children to sample rural life such as award winning heifers and petting farm animals and was a valuable thing to do. Somewhere along the line, that crazy weird lady down the street got to win a ribbon for her coiffed poodle and the hucksters move in, charging half a weeks pay to take a family of 4 on a few rides, some fairy-floss and a show bag filled with grossly price inflated candy and a Chinese made plastic toy. Actually that’s all a bit tongue in cheek, Jo and the boys all had a blast and I got to work out my shoulders for 5 hours. Win-win.

After removing the peel-ply I feathered out the glass edges where the peel ply didnt feather it out well enough and applied a thin layer of bog over the glass and past its edge about 100mm all around, graduating it out with the trowel. I did the bog one night this week and had one of those hold your breath and cross your fingers over night moments. I poured out 250 grams of resin into an ice-cream container and just as I started pouring the hardener in I noticed I thought it said 350 grams on the digital read out. The lighting is poor in the shed and the contrast and glue all around the scale read out fooled me. You know how you get that glimpse and your hand cant react to the new information fast enough to stop. The scale now reads 400 grams after I poured in 50 grams of hardener so it must have been 350 of resin before hand. The difference is 20 grams at 5:1, if it was 250 I need 50 if it was 350 I need 70 grams. So I did the only thing any confused person would do. I split the difference and poured 10 grams more (60 total, figuring if it was 250 I would only be 10 over and if 350 only 10 under) and then crossed my fingers that it wouldnt matter. It didnt. The bog set beautifully. Being night, the pot didnt heat up at all so I couldnt tell from that if it was going off. And I kept using the same pot for subsequent bog mixes. But as I said, no harm no foul.

bottom step overhang glassed

It took about 2 hours to apply the bog to both hulls, so about an hour each. Including grinder feathering rough edges. And each hull needed about 500 grams of resin and the accompanying amount of filler power. I went in on Wednesday night, I am quite enjoying the evenings that I work on the boat, its peaceful, not hot in the shed like it is on any sunny day and I seem to get more done, less distractions I guess.

bottom steps bogged bottom steps bogged 3 bottom steps bogged 2 bottom steps bogged 1

I went in next day (yesterday) to drop off the high build I found a deal on to confirm the bog had set properly and although it seemed hard ideally you want to wait a couple of days before sanding it, otherwise it is too soft and clogs sand paper too easily. Today I sanded that bog.

port bottom step sanded

I cheated again with the orbital to take the top off but most was done with a small sanding block and just sand paper in my hand. Sometimes your hand is the best tool to make a curve (concave or convex) smooth. As I have mentioned, the idea is to sand down until there are no high spots left, so that all the surface is the same height and there are no valleys, scars or holes. As you can see in the pic above, there are still shiny areas, these are the lows that the sand paper is not yet hitting. Here you have 2 options, either keep sanding, provided you also are not sanding through glass somewhere else on the same plane or fill the holes. I decided to keep sanding in this case because that hollow eventually sanded out. I figured if I filled it I would still have to sand it anyway. But you do have to be careful not to sand too far, its ok to expose the glass but you cannot sand through it.

Whenever you bog you will spot fill. Whether that’s gashes and scratches that are just too deep to sand out (the sanding cannot be localised, that is, you cant just sand over a scratch to get it out you have to sand the entire panel/area until the scratch is gone otherwise you just end up with bigger hollows) so sanding a second time is inevitable. What I didnt fully recognise until today was just how much better for fairing Q-cells are over West microlight 410. I have only just run out of 410 and have used it exclusively when bogging. It came with the kit and I didnt know any better. Q-cells is an alternative to West microspheres blend 411. I have used the Q-cell in the same way, as a filleting and filling compound. But many people recommend Q-cell for bogging. It is heavier than microlight and is harder to sand, but it uses less powder to achieve the same consistency in a given amount of resin and is a lot cheaper than microlight. And now I have discovered the most compelling reason of all for using it. Check out the picture below.

microlight vs qcell filler

Pinholes! Or more accurately lack thereof. The microlight is the tan coloured area. All of those pinholes require spot filling, and by comparison there are far less pinholes in the white section. There are a few sections on the roof that will require quite deep bog, for that I will use microlight because of its superior properties (lightness) but for the most part I think I will be bogging the rest of the boat with Q-cell.

Nevertheless, even the Q-cell does not eliminate all instances that will require spot filling. It takes just a few minutes at the end of sanding and after a good blow down with compressed air to reveal them all, to fill them. And fortunately it is not an overly difficult job to sand the spot filler back down to remove the over fill leaving just the holes filled. I like to feel for lows as well as look for them, often they are hard to see but easy to feel. Circle the offending areas with a pencil to ensure you dont miss any.

port bottom step sanded and spot filled starboard bottom step step sanded and spot filled

I have mixed emotions, mostly good about today. Sanding upside down, or a more appropriate description would be with your arms above your head, is very hard. When I was sanding the step top I found it much easier. Thankfully, most if not all the sanding on the topsides, with the exception of the cockpit roof, which thankfully is mostly already faired (I did it when the roof was upside down on the floor before fitting) is going to be with my arms below my head. And I am sore from just a fraction of the work I have ahead of me. But, its done and I feel I did very well. And whilst a little sore from a combination of being a bit out of fairing practice (its been a long time since I faired the hulls) and my general fitness, I am after all over 50 now, and that not much more of this will be done above the shoulders, I feel a little more confidence about the topsides. Its going to be hard hard work, but I think I can do it.

Each little victory encourages me. And once again I found something I built to stare at and admire the form. I really like the shapes of the hull extension and bottom step overhang. I am so pleased I went ahead with it, I very nearly talked myself out of it because of the extra work needed, but feel I will always be glad I did.

Hopefully, in the next few days I will be applying the highbuild. Some further sanding later in the next week and the copper epoxy will go on.

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Paul