In This Section:

Building notes and additions to this section are now on a monthly schedule, so watch our "news" pages, or check our ever changing menu panel as more building pages come on line:


one minute guide
building overview
• materials
• tools
marking out
hull assembly
hull assembly 2
hull completion
foils
spars
rigging
finishing
sails
signs and graphics
kits and supplies

 

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Painting001
 

PAINTING AND FINISHING

How many times have you heard it said that you can't cover up poor workmanship with a coat of paint? Well that was true in the good old days, before epoxy bog and high build fillers!

There are two approaches to building and finishing boats like the PDRacer. The first is to build them cheap and disposable, and using some left over paint slapped on to get by for a week or two, or maybe a whole season. There's nothing wrong with that, but there's also nothing to write about, so we'll go with the other way.

I always figure that I'm investing a few weeks of my life building something, I may as well make it last as long as possible, and when it comes to boats, the best way to do that is coat the whole lot in epoxy, and use a good quality marine paint. In the case of our OzRacers the finishing materials represent a little over a third of the total cost of the boat, which is pretty amazing, but more a reflection on how cheaply we were able to build the rest I suppose.

Anyway, in the end it was worth it, and we've got a couple of little boats that look a picture every time we take them out. This is how we did it. Remember that we were aiming for a "reasonable" level of finish, not furniture quality!
 

Painting002
SAND AND FAIR THE EPOXY.

It's a pretty thankless task, but getting rid of all the lumps and bumps in the epoxy coating is the key to a quick easy finish. We use a Random Orbital Sander (ROS) and 120 grit, paying particular attention to the taped joints and areas where filler has been applied.

Note that by the time the sanding has been completed there's very little filler thickness left. Be careful to keep things nice and fair. It's best to hand sand using a long board, over seams and places where the sander is likely to follow the bumps to ensure that you don't make more bumps.

Painting003
CHECK FOR MISTAKES

I couldn't think of another word!

There are always gaps and bits which will look a bit ugly when painted, like this corner where we changed the detail mid construction, so the gunwhale fell a little short on the front corners.

Now is the time to repair the bits that need repairing as they will become really obvious when they are painted.

Painting004
REPAIR ANY DAMAGE

Here the corner pictured above has been filled with epoxy filler (bog) and sanded to look as though it was always there.

Once painted, no one will ever know we got it wrong! Notice also that we've given the tape in this area another light coat of bog in a couple of places, and have sanded it further. It's ready for primer now!

Painting005
VARNISH ANY TIME

Our interiors are varnished for a nice boaty feel. As long as you don't have dust flying round, you can start varnishing anytime that suits. We managed to get the first few coats on in the evenings after doing spot repairs on the outside of the hull. One of the advantages of the generic hull shape is that you can get comfortable working by simply turning it on its side.

Painting006
DEGREASE AND MASK

We decided that we'd spray the primer, which is another story of misadventure, so we masked the part varnished interior.

Some masking makes cutting paint into clear finished areas easier.

Use a recommended solvent or even detergent to degrease the whole hull prior to painting. It's surprising how much grease or body oils can be smeared over a hull while cuddling it to sleep after a days sanding.

Painting007
PRIME

We use a nice hi-build primer to start with. This is like a thick paint which will fill many small imperfections, and it will certainly show bigger ones!

We use a cheap car body filler over the paint to fix any glaring blotches. (That's what the pinky dollops are)

Painting008
SAND

There's no substitute for elbow grease here. Nothing too fine, a wet-sand at about 180 grit will do the trick.

Scribble on the surface with a pencil so you can see where you've been. Mostly the hull will seem smooth as a baby's bottom, but there will be bits that will obviously be not quite right!

Painting009
PRIME AGAIN

After sanding, it's pretty clear where the high spots are, and where the low spots are.

If we were looking for a furniture grade finish, or building a show car, we'd do this a few more times, but this is a fun boat, and we just want it to look great, so this one will do.

Painting010
SAND AGAIN

Even though you can see through some of the paint, it's easy to see from the photo, that's it's starting to look pretty smooth, certainly good enough for us!

Painting011
COLOUR!

Now it's time for a nice relaxing hour or so, paint brush in hand, making these things look pretty!

Painting012
SAND AGAIN!

Yep, this is not a misprint! Now you can use wet and dry, but really for this bit, 240 grit in the ROS will do the job ever so much more cleanly. Note the Blue tape markers which show areas for special attention. They could be bits of dust, heavy brush marks, or maybe a screw dent in need of a little fill.

Note also that we don't have any bottom runners anymore. No we didn't lose them from all that sanding. When we changed the bottom from 4mm to 6mm ply, we simply didn't need the extra support!

Painting013
MORE COLOUR

At last it's time to put away the sander for one last time. The final coat goes on, and Michael can see the end!

Painting014
FINALLY!

There they sit, waiting for a day or so for the paint to cure. Nothing more to do, so we'll organise the final rigging!

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