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So, what have we been doing???

January 14, 2012

Well, it’s been a month since the last post, and I must admit, I’ve been meaning to write….img_0461_med-3

Now that we have the shed under control, we’ve been able to let the Genie out of the bottle and really get at the interior. At first, we started here because it was so satisfying – instant gratification after a few hours of work. Then, winter finally arrived and I must admit I didn’t really feel like heading outside to spend my day working on the boat. So, projects we could bring inside seemed like a better idea. Then, both girls were here for a while, and started helping out. This all started innocently enough – my last post about the frustrating bung extraction process was just before my birthday, and Katie came for a surprise visit for both my birthday and to offer support in this process, and lift my spirits.

The weekend she was here, we spent both days up on deck with the silent paint stripper, and stripped all the bulwarks. Working with that stripper as a duo was fabulous, incredibly efficient, and we were pretty buoyed up by the progress. Then we came in the house Sunday afternoon when Henry was at a stage where he was applying the first coat of tung oil to the first piece of the interior. The transformation was amazing, breathtaking really, as life was brought back to a beautiful piece of teak from the 1930’s.

We were all inspired, and Katie offered to visit a bit more, to move the project along. That next weekend, Leita was back from Virginia, before heading back to school, and with the four of us here, we made some amazing progress. We put in about 52 hours in 2 days, and got just about everything we could carry inside, cleaned, sanded and oiled, ready for varnish. The transformation of the wood continues to be an amazing process.

Since then, Henry has begun the varnishing process, which is somewhat slow, but the Festool sander makes the work move along pretty quickly (and very neatly, I might add). We’re both anxious to get the Festool aboard, because we’re pretty sure it will make short work of sanding the interior. Much of what we thought needed to be stripped can actually be sanded, instead, which will save time, and also be cleaner, environmentally.

As for stripping paint and varnish, I’ve invested a fair amount of time into researching various so-called environmentally friendly strippers. We have used the silent paint stripper, which does work very well, but I still need to wear a mask when I use it. The advantage is that it works by heating the varnish, and also has an infrared light, which breaks the bond between the varnish and the wood. If you use it just right, the varnish (or paint) never gets hot enough to vaporize the lead. However, you do smell like you’ve been stripping paint at the end of the day.

I also tried Star 10, which has that great ad of a man standing in front of his boat, claiming that he stripped the boat in 4 hours. The ad also claims that the stripper is environmentally friendly and that you don’t necessarily need to wear a mask or gloves. Well, sadly, I’m not impressed. It smelled like Stripeze, so the mask and gloves went on right away, and it didn’t pull much off, even after giving it plenty of time. I became very skeptical of environmentally friendly strippers, but continued to research, and found several postings on Soy-Gel.

We bought a small container to test it out, and it does work well. There are some nuances to it – apply it very lightly, and then cover it with saran wrap, let it sit for about 6 hours, and then things will scrape off. It absolutely does not smell, and it also doesn’t irritate the skin, although I wear gloves anyway. The only downside is that it does get the wood wet, and using it on the boat outside means that the wood stays wet a long time – it is too cold to dry quickly. It is also a bit messier than using the silent paint stripper, but I don’t smell like I’ve been in a paint shop all day after working with it, which I take as a good sign.

I’ve also moved on to cleaning the interior, so that it is ready to receive all the drawers and cabinet fronts once they are done. This is slow going, as I need to be pretty careful with the Te-Ka. When Part A drips anywhere, if you miss that drip, you get a nasty black stain unless you also drip Part B in the same spot. I’m trying to keep the interior as dry as possible, and really don’t want Te-Ka running down into the bilge, so I’m just doing one area at a time, very, very carefully. My goal is two buckets of rinse water a day, and I while I haven’t quite hit that mark yet, I am making progress. The good news is that, as tedious and physically demanding as the cleaning is, I am balancing it out with phone time. As soon as I’m tired of one activity, I just switch to the other – keeps my day interesting. Once you start cleaning teak and mahogany, though, it’s hard to stop. There is such a huge difference between the wood I’ve cleaned and the wood yet to be cleaned, that it is pretty motivating!img_0453_med






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