Picking up old project

Hi folks.  I'm picking up an old project that has lain fallow for a few years.  It's a Shearwater Sport.  The top and bottom of the boat are built and glued together and the bottom half is half-glassed and a little half-assed.  I put on the first coat of epoxy, but I tried to use some that was getting too hot, so I have a few fish eyes to repair.  Also need to put on the 2nd and 3rd coats.  Then on to glassing the deck.

So some questions:  1)  since the boat hasn't been touched in about 3 years, how best to begin?  I would think a good cleaning of the surface would be in order.  Acetone?  Alcohol?  Also, any links to videos on fixing fish-eyes would be appreciated.  And the epoxy - what I have is 3-4 years old.  Okay, or do I need to buy new?


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RE: Picking up old project

Hey Jim,

As long as the epoxy has been stored in sealed containers you'll be fine. If the resin has gotten below 32 F or 0 C it may have a layer of crystals in the bottom. You can fix that by warming it gently in a hot water bath. Hot here means from the hot water tap, not boiling.

If you are using pumps I'd throw them away and get new ones. You could clean them but between the cost of the solvents, the trouble and the wasted epoxy in case it turns out that you need to clean them twice the cost of a set of pumps is pretty reasonable.

Definitely clean it. I'd start with plain water and a scrubbing pad on all epoxied surfaces. Don't let the water get onto bare wood. For bare wood use denatured alcohol. Acetone is nasty, hard to find pure and may affect existing epoxy coats.

Once it's dry, give any problem spots a light sanding with #120 or #220 sandpaper, clean off the dust with alcohol and you'll be ready to go.

For the fisheyes, just sand them smooth without going into the wood or glass and apply new epoxy. Repeat until it's smooth enough for you.

Have fun,



RE: Picking up old project

Adding to what Laszlo said, i would add the following to the clean-up process (apologies in advance, if i am stating the obvious)....   

Any clean-up project (or regular project) benefits from a good shop vac. 

prior to sanding or cleaning (alcohol is my preference) i start with a good vac with a brush.  projects that have sat for a while often have dirt or some other surface contamination......so lifting off loose stuff vs potentially grinding it in/spreading it around, is always top of mind for me.   i would follow that with the sanding next with a sander that is also connected to a vac....again the same principle, get any surface problems off the surface prior to any water or alcohol.

last for me would be alcohol.....and i would hold off on water until you are absolutely sure your boat is water tight/sealed.   don't get me wrong, i am not anti-water.  i use it in all my construction, but if i am picking up a project, i begin with the assumption that there may be parts not sealed....so i tend to go with water as clean up prior to paint/varnish when i am confident i know everything that i need to know.

my last tip is get a really good flashlight/lights and get your head inside the hatches (or use a mirror) and inside the cockpit....and take a very good look around to assess the inside.   was it taped?  is all the wood sealed? do the bulkheads come up to the deck/have they been filleted in properly?  are end-pours in place already?  were holes drilled for the footbraces already?  is there loose glass that will cut you that you need to sand down to make safe?   

i am assuming you are picking up a project someone else started....so you need to confirm exactly where they left off and address any defects carefully when you pick up a project.   

good luck...sounds like fun.


RE: Picking up old project

Howard wrote: I am assuming you are picking up a project someone else started...

Not necessarily, Howard. I myself once let 7 years pass between one step of a boat and the next. Losing momentum like that is the greatest obstacle to completion, which is why it's really good if one can do something, anything, boat-related every day just to keep from losing interest, developing a new hobby, etc.  On the other hand, I'm living proof that is is possible to restart and complete a project after a long delay. I've eventually finished every boat that I've started. Not as quickly as some folks, true, but all my boats were launched and used.



RE: Picking up old project

Thanks to you both.  I am picking up an old project of my own.  The interior is all glassed and I did a better job of that than I did with the hull.  That will require some sanding (after some cleaning) before the fill coats.

I'm sure I'll have other questions along the way.  Good to have folks who can answer them.



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