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Graduate 2024 Innuendo Restoration - Part 4: Epoxy and Varnish

by Andrew Wilford 17 Jun 2012 14:38 BST

Modifications to the bow

After stripping the fittings from the hull I noted that the two sheets of ply which formed the side panels were simply “butt jointed” together at the bow. As with the rest of the boat, neglect over the years, had resulted in this “joint” separating. I gave some thought as to how to best resolve this situation before hitting upon the idea of creating an “Alpha style” profile. I simply sliced off some two inches of bow section and grafted on a solid mahogany stem which was fixed using both Epoxy resin and screws. This did involve a degree of filling so as to ensure the correct profile was achieved.

Epoxy Coating, Painting and Varnishing

Much has been written over the years by those far more knowledgeable than myself. In common with all such advice I agree that good preparation is the key. You MUST ensure a flat, smooth and fair surface otherwise the rest is a waste of time.

Before applying colour coats to the hull I felt that I should seal and finish the decks and interior first since removing paint from new wood can be a nightmare. Therefore after the re-decking process had taken place and before the boat was turned over to carry out repairs to the hull the decks were treated with two coats of Epiglass… the cockpit area was not treated at this stage since there were still alterations and repairs to carry out.

Stripping the hull back to bare wood took some time but I can thoroughly recommend the new “breed” or random orbital sanders. Some 40 years of sailing had taken its toll on the hull and so it took a great deal of effort to get back to a smooth fair surface. Once this was done the whole of the hull was flatted back by hand and the area wiped clean. A thinned solution of Epiglass was then mixed with glue powder mixed with 50% thinners which I painted on all the joints on the hull. The bone dry timbers soaked this up like a sponge and so for good measure (in reality I had mixed up too much solution!) I went back again over all the joints. This I allowed to dry for a few hours before coating the hull with a 20% thinned coat off Epiglass with no additives. This was allowed to dry for 24 hours before the process was repeated with two un-diluted coats of resin which were allowed to cure for several days.

At this point I tried to be a “bit clever” and introduce some “discreet panel curvature” into the hull by mixing Epiglass with filler … what a disaster … the resultant “mess” ended up like treacle toffee and never fully cured. A lengthy chat with Adrian Baker offered advice which meant stripping off the glutinous mess and starting again! In essence, I guess, I should have taken more care about the critical measurements involved with the mix and THOUROUGHLY READ THE INSTRUCTIONS! The boat was heated from above and below (see the “red” glow on the pictures below) and the surface heated with a hot air gun. Two further coats of epoxy and the surface dents and “dings” filled with International “Watertite Epoxy Filler” proved critical to achieving the correct result.

Part 5: Priming, painting and varnishing can be found here

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