Another milestone moment for me. The roof is finally all one color, white. And the all white roof shows that the roof is adequately fair. (prior to that, the different colors would optically deceive and it was hard to see if the roof was fair), and I say adequate because it could be better, but it could have been a lot worse). The highbuild did show up a lot of the nicks, scratches and pin holes that I had not fixed, many of them I have no intention of fixing because they will be under the solar panels but many that are going to be visible and will need filling. But these are not as bad as the roof being unfair, so they are easily fixable. The work from now on is minor touch ups rather than major reshaping.
A good example of the difference being all one color makes when looking at it is the roof beam. I was considering not fairing it, then of course decided I had to. So I did and then wondered why I bothered as it looked worse faired than it did before fairing, then once it was all white I was glad I had faired it. (Yes I still have a nick to fix at the aft edge and others along the length including coving but overall it looks quite straight and neat).
So after 3 months I am fairly confident to say that the roof is fair. To say I am chuffed is a bit of on understatement. I am thrilled, and cant stop looking at the pics. I still have work to do of course (I always do!), after all I only have a coat of high build on and most fairing takes at least 2 or possibly more coats with a full sand between each. And this stuff goes on quite thin, so much so that I can still see many of the color differences below, especially some of the blue bog spots and I will be sure to use less food coloring in future. But as I plan to cover most of the roof with either solar panels or non slip, I really only have to be super fussy about areas that will have visible top coat. Areas such as around the windows and hatches and for about 5omm from every edge of the roof. So I will carefully re-sand (with finer sand paper) the coves and edges and all other areas that will be exposed and lightly sand the rest ready for another (and perhaps final) coat of highbuild.
I may still have to sand the roof a couple more times (I knew at least one more sand and re-coat would be needed, but that might not be enough, just hoping that it is), but highbuild is much easier to sand than bog. So I am not as daunted by that as I was before starting to fair the roof. It was interesting watching the progressing change in color of the roof. Not just as I painted sections but as I painted over painted sections effectively giving them a second and therefore thicker, less transparent coat. It was a little cooler today than it has been the past few days. I forgot to mention in my last post, summer is back. I had small pots of bog going off in the pots before I had time to get it on. Anyway, today was cooler but still the highbuild dried fast. So much so that I did not get to see the roof in gloss as a whole, just in parts until that section dried, and dried flat. (A poster, thanks Matt, suggested I wet the roof down in a slow drying solvent to see the gloss covering. I think I might just try water. But I still needed the roof to be one color first for that to be helpful.)
I rolled the paint on using a 1oomm fine foam roller. 2 things about that, first, the foam rollers are pretty crappy. The foam is great, it creates the minimum of stippling but at first the foam does not absorb any paint so you dont get much paint on the job, then later it totally absorbs paint which is great, but it starts to disintegrate under the weight and comes away from the inner roll that connects it to the handle. I burnt through 6 of these on the roof. And here and there, there are tiny tufts of foam in the paint I now need to sand out and re-coat. And its quite difficult to apply a thick coat with a roller. With spraying you just spray more on, but with a roller, if the paint is on thick and you run the roller over again you just push through it and push it aside and remove all the thick coat you managed to apply. So I am pretty sure I will spray the next coat on and may also spray the hull sides and maybe also the decks. (The decks will be mostly covered in non slip so again its just the edges that will need to be carefully faired. The reason I roll the paint on is the preparation time is much less, for example, I dont have to mask the windows etc. And you dont have to wear a full body suit spray-painting overalls, although you do still need to wear the breathing mask, five minutes with this stuff without a mask and I have a headache. With spraying, even though you mask up, there is still a lot of overspray, so consequently, you also use a lot more paint. But the finish is much finer and you can get much more paint on.
The rest of the pics are just different angles some only slightly moved to try to catch a different light to show that the underlying fairing is good. You can see different layers of paint as it dried, but if I am only out of fair by the thickness of different layers of paint I am doing ok. The last pic is now covered in high build but I included it for 2 reasons, first, the purpose of the pic was to show the corrected window edge, the correction being that in the last post I mentioned I would need to add more fill to the edge, but upon looking at it more closely I thought perhaps I had too much fill. So I started sanding, managed to maintain the correct shape even though I was removing a few millimetres of bog thickness, in the process pretty much corrected the edge problems and it resulted in the shapes in the colors from the layers of bog, which I thought was interesting enough to take a pic of. And for the sake of symetry (3 photos per line) I needed another pic to add to a line. So it goes to show, sometimes its not just a matter of adding more filler. Sometimes its sand more.
I used a brush to apply the highbuild to the coves and to the insides of the window frame flanges. I have hardly touched (in many places not at all) the flanges with sand paper. They were tightly peel plied when made so they came out very smooth, the only exceptions being bubbles in the ply. These areas (under peel ply bubbles) manifest as rough areas lower than the level of the rest which need filling as sanding but the bulk of it is already smooth enough with just the grain of the ply to fair out. So I have just coated them with high build in order to fair out the fine texture of the textile weave of the ply.
Highbuild is not a magic fix all. I had dreamed that maybe I would apply the highbuild and the roof would look shiny like it had topcoat on. Not so. I knew it wouldnt but hoped it might. In fact it dried so fast and flat that it was never really shiny at all. Nevertheless, the roof looks great. I am very happy right now. Very happy. I am getting there. Slowly but I am getting there. Next I will fill all of the little blemishes on the roof and give it another finer sand. By finer, I am talking 120 grit (so far I have used 40, 60 and 80 in fairing to just prior to high build). I intend to fill the blemishes with fast setting filler, so not normal bog. Probably just a regular production filler like polyfiller or no more cracks (Terry put me on to this) or perhaps polyester car bog like I used on the forebeam. That will allow me to fill and fair as I go. Then another coat of highbuild and hopefully I can move on to the next job. I think I will continue on with the fairing and do the decks next, which works well, as I need to finish the underside of the bottom of the windows on the wrap around cabin sides, and the pillars where they meet the deck. So I will fair from the cabin sides to about the middle of the decks. The middle of the decks will be covered in non slip and seem like a good point to fair to from the hull sides up so it makes sense to fair to there from the cabin sides.
Once I have the decks faired, and although they are huge, I am not expecting them to be that hard to do, considering they are flat and will be further covered with non slip, I will start on probably the third hardest part of the boat to fair. The curved hull to deck panels. I say third hardest because the roof was in a bit of a mess and I consider that was fairly difficult, and I figure the cockpit to be the most difficult part of the boat to fair because it has so many coves and corners and most of it is so visible that it will need care to get right. Hopefully I have not spoken too soon and the hull to decks prove to be even harder than the roof, but if my predictions of difficulty are correct, I figure to be about half finished the fairing, the hulls when upside down being a quarter, the roof another quarter, leaving the hull to decks and cockpit to go.
But for now, I get to celebrate the roof. The photos here dont tell the full story. Neither did they show just how bad the roof looked before. It looks much better now than the pics show and looked much worse before than the pics showed. And I got some scared looks and no shows when I tried to hire people to fix it for me in the past (back when I could afford to pay others to help) so getting the roof to where it is has a particularly satisfying feeling attached to it for me. Let me know what you think of it.