During the week I sanded back the layer of high build with 120 grit paper and filled a lot of pin holes that the highbuild shows up in the bog layer and gave it another coat of highbuild. I used car bog which is a 2 pack polyester which is not recommended for filling epoxy boats but these pin holes are so tiny that just the surface tension of the paint would be enough to hold the bog in if it did not adhere to the highbuild so I am not too concerned with it not being ideal. It sets really fast so 5 minutes after applying it you can sand it back.
I easily sanded out the runs I had in the first coat of highbuild and kept sanding until the orange peel was completely removed. On the second high build coat I was more used to its consistency and I did not get another run. The next day when it had set most of the pin holes were filled but I still had a few here and there that needed more fill. This time I applied the fill before I started sanding. These pin holes fill with dust and even after a blow down some are very difficult to find again, so filling what I could see of the newly dry high build was easy.
Today before I sanded the second highbuild today I had to dry fit the LED light strips under each step. Using an air powered die grinder with a tapered bit I ground out the bog over runs and a little of the foam where the gap was a touch too tight for the rope. I want a tight fit but not so tight that I cant get a coating of sealant between the sides and the rope light. I also had to grind out the shape of the wiring connectors which are a little bigger than the rope. I missed an opportunity to hide the wiring in the side edges that I de-cored and back filled.
I made a small slot for the wiring to go through to the back of the lid and will run it on the inside. I did not want it visible and ideally I will run it inside the de-cored sides and fill over the wiring and have them come out at the top, next to a hinge. As I will used open pin hinges so the lids can be completely removed (for servicing the motors) I will run a connector plug so they can be un plugged when taking the lids off.
With the rope lights dry fitted I sanded this second highbuild and filled coat back with 240 grit paper. Again I sanded until the orange peel effect disappeared. Once sanded, I still had some blemishes here and there to fill again which I did, it is an ever decreasing repeat until you are satisfied that you have done as much as you can. I still have a few blemishes that I am struggling to completely remove as I am down to the glass and cant sand any further but overall I am pretty happy with the way this job has turned out. The finish of the highbuild when sanded with 240 grit is almost glass smooth, without the gloss.
I applied the first coat of top coat. I decided on Dulux Luxathane R, a 2 pack polyurethane. I chose it mainly because it is a tough paint, can be over coated (another coating) with minimal preparation, can be applied to just about anything without primer and is quite a lot cheaper than any other brand. Having said that, it may not be as good as other brands, but for now it will do. 4 litres (3.2 litres of paint, 800ml of hardener) cost $107, a 1 litre kit of Altex costs $85 so is over 3 times the price. Over the entire boat that could be $1000’s. I admit I have not done much research on the various paints being well over a year away from needing to know but I will need to do some research soon. The downside of Luxathane is it is pretty nasty stuff to breathe or get on your skin. No problem for me, I wear gloves and disposable overalls and a full face mask to protect both my lungs and my eyes. There was no-one else in the shed or will be in the shed until tomorrow so any drops in the air will be well and truly gone by then.
Unfortunately I don’t have expensive painting equipment, a borrowed small compressor and spray gun. One of the problems with such equipment is that compressed air contains plenty of moisture and if it is not removed from the line before it gets to the gun it will sometimes drip out on the job causing bubbles in the paint. The guys that will be painting Nine Lives next month have some kind of filter system on their lines that remove all moisture but they wont be back for a month and I cant afford the couple of grand one of these filters costs. I doubt I will be painting my boat, I will hire a crew like the guys that will paint nine lives who will have such equipment. Hopefully I will be able to cut these bubbles out and now that I know to expect drops of water I will take precautions to ensure they don’t drip onto the job.
I will cut this coat with wet and dry (about 400 grit) and give it another coat so hopefully the finish of the final coat will be good. Then I can fit the LED lights, glue and seal them in with silicon sealant and they are done for now and I can use it for my boat show display. Whilst this process has taken such a long time I have really enjoyed it.