Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stripping paint off the Batboat and finding lots of bad stuff underneath.

There is an old saying that says there are only two happy days one has owning a boat. The first day is when it is bought and the second when he sells it.

In mid April was the only time I began to think that maybe I took on more than what I could handle.

Stripping off the latex paint revealed serious delamination and cracks in the gelcoat. Blistering is severe nearer to the stern.

Gelcoat is the outer skin of a fiberglass boat. Fiberglass isn't waterproof and gelcoat makes it so. However, if both don't laminate together right or the gelcoat is cracked problems will happen.

Gelcoat scratches, blistering and cracks are everywhere.

Stripper from Lowe's was used to get the paint off. The 15 minutes recommended is too much. It lifted the paint off but also softened the gelcoat in test spots. One minute from brushing it on was all that was needed.

On and off for a couple of weeks I worked at stripping paint, finding more and more damage.

The large flames were carefully peeled off with a scraper and heat gun. I calculate that the flames on the original Batboat made in 1966 were a little more than 6 inches height and these were over twice that.

The original white and "Glacier Blue" of the V-145 Glastron runabout finally shows through.

All of the really bad blistering damage to the gelcoat is consentrated in one area (outlined in yellow). Looking closer, this is mostly where white gelcoat is on top of a blue layer of gelcoat and where blue is on top of white and blue.

Advice from boat forums, watching instructional youtube videos and reading over repair product information helped me to decide to keep working and finish the Batboat.

It isn't as bad as it first seemed but this will add a week or two to the project and unexpected $$$.

Batboat Rebuild: Day 51 April 11th, 2010. Batboat flip over.

I found the remaining auto tires needed for the flip. They were in the weed covered ghost town neighborhoods near the rail yard. With now over twenty on hand I called my friend Jeff Davis and asked him to help me flip the Batboat upside down.

I didn't bother to tell him how much it weighed until after it was done. lol We were going to lift and flip over around 600 pounds ourselves; Information that was better kept to myself.

Two tire columns at the stern and bow were for support. The two columns near the middle were in position in line with the deck so there wouldn't be a weight load on the fragile upper sides of the fiberglass.

It took some figuring out but we did it with no damage.

It sits in the only spot in the back yard where a maple tree won't drop its sap and the pine tree doesn't drop its needles.

The plans for the pallets were scratched and two were stacked under the boat.

The tire columns needed to be a little higher and straight. I couldn't quite lift the stern high enough (600+ pounds) for Jeff to squeeze two others in. My car jack did the job.

It wasn't safe leaving it crooked like this.

Two tires with rims fixed every thing.

Four tires stacked on top of pallets supported the front of the hull and and the ones at the bow were removed.

The top half of the boat was taken off by removing many, many screws fastened through the aluminum rub rail.

As luck would have it, all but three screws came out easy. The remaining were bolted in and rusted. It took longer to drill those out than all the others combined.

The aluminum rub rails are irreplaceable and were put aside somewhere safe later.

The top half came off with no effort.

Topside, splashwell and hull are ready for summertime repairs and eventual new Batboat features!

The tire supports are steady and solid.

The drips you see on the stern are excess polyester resin and woodflower "peanut butter" from last year's transom repairs.

There is a great deal of damage under the hull to fix. I'll find a lot more as I stripped off the latex paint.

The worst has yet to come!

On the job training.

In late March or early April my neighbor came over and one of the things I showed him was the tires in the back yard and recited the history of the boat. Some days later he came back and asked if I would like to work at a marina.

I lucked out. Everything I need to do the Batboat hull (sand, fill gouges, paint...) I've learned on the job with two stately mahogany wood yachts. Coincidentally, this employment ends around mid June, the same time I'm able to start work on mine.

One yacht is 30 foot long and the other 48.

Its fun job that I like a lot and the owner is a real friendly man to work for.

Stored next to those vessels is a celebrity. One of the boats used in African Queen (1951) starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn. It was used in a few sequences and right now the owner is restoring the original motor.

Early spring hull repair preperation

In late March through early April I gathered the things needed to flip the Batboat upside down.

I have to repair and paint the bottom of the hull and removethe topside. More on this later.

There isn't much to show but for those interested, this stuff will make a two man, 600+ pound boat flip easier.

I asked people for auto tires and nearby Charter Cable gave me wood pallets.

All of this junk normally belongs in a dump but actually will let me turn the boat upside down without much damage.

These pallets were intended as supports but the idea ultimately didn't work.

Thirteen tires so far. It would take eight or nine more to safely flip the boat.