A Month for Learning

9 Jun

This has been a month for figuring things out.  There’s a lot to know when bringing a boat into the 21st century. Just the electrical and plumbing systems alone are enough to give me the shivers. Boyd has been tackling each challenge as they appear.  These past four weeks have included a course of study I am calling “Hull Maintenance 101”. Boyd has, through trial and error, learned the ins and out of fiber-glassing and epoxying. He has figured the tools needed, the preparation, the types of resins,  hardeners,  thickeners and fibreglass cloth/mat to use, and the ratios and timing needed for proper application. Did you know that there are all sorts of epoxy? Some are tailored to woods or metal or fiberglass, etc. Some harden in a couple of minutes and some harden in a couple of hours. They dry in different colors. Regarding fiberglass, it’s a gloppy, gloopy process. The small, itchy threads go everywhere. The application process is an art. There is even a special roller to get rid of air pockets as the mat is laid.  It’s amazing how much Boyd has learned and proficient he has become.


Me, I’ve finally overcome my trepidation concerning varnish. It is a very finicky process, and each varnish has different requirements. If you Google the various varnishes you get to see that many people have very varied opinions about them….and some of the opinions are very vitriolic! If you Google ‘Cetol’ (the varnish that is on the outside of Bushranger) you find people who hate it and who love it. You find that there are very precise procedures when preparing the wood (or even checking to see IF the wood needs to be prepared). Some people say you have to use a top of the line Chinese beaver brush (yah, right! I’m sure I can find one of those in Iuka, Mississippi!) while others say that a simple foam brush will work just fine.  All agree that you need to be very careful when dragging the varnish over the wood – one long stroke rather than multiple small strokes.

I have also become a much better ‘caulker’.  When I look at my first attempt at caulking, I am tempted to pull it all up and reapply it.  The trick to caulking (as with so many other things) is finding the proper tools.  They make a cool little plastic tool with a triangular head that makes smoothing out the caulk ‘easy as pie’ (actually, it’s a lot easier than pie, since, in my experience, pie crust can be a bit finicky).

So, I guess you can say that Boyd and I have been through an interesting course of study this past month.  I think we are more confident now and ready for whatever Bushranger wants to throw at us (I am saying that very softly so she doesn’t hear me and throw something REALLY scary at us).

These are the newly caulked rails to the aft hatch.

4 Responses to “A Month for Learning”

  1. Howard June 10, 2012 at 18:56 #

    Keep up the good work. I’ll have a few more chores for you when you reurn home in Summer!!

  2. jdepodwin June 11, 2012 at 20:17 #

    Good to see you still have your sense of humor!

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