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Old 23-10-2015, 06:11   #31
Marine Service Provider
Schooner Chandlery's Avatar

Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: home port Washington DC
Boat: SS Crocker design #131
Posts: 986
Re: Am I a fool to try and paint my top sides myself

Originally Posted by roland stockham View Post
No reason to not be able to get an acceptable finish. Don't know the boat but as you say she is a classic then I assume she is a wooden hull. If that is right don't be tempted by any 2 part finish, they don't have the elasticity needed and will fail. The way I was shown was to build up with primer and undercoat untill you have what looks like a perfect finish. Then apply a coat of 50% gloss, 50% undercoat. This give some shine but will still take the topcoat and the semi-gloss finish shows up all the imperfections. You then go round with a very fine polyester filler, the stiff they sell at the car shop is great, but you need a paint filler not a wood filler. Mix it with some undercoat to make it even smoother and delay setting and gently wipe over any marks with a wide soft filling knife. If you can then do the final topcoat indoors but in any case it needs to be still and not to hot. The key is getting the hull at the right temp. To cold and it will stop the paint sticking but to hot and you can't get a finish. I have had to repaint in the Caribbean and it is impossible to get a good finish. That lovely smooth high gloss is caused by the surface tension in the paint pulling out fine brush or spray marks. If it is too hot the paint dries from the bottom up so this can't happen.
The other thing is that yes, you do want it to look good but you are also going to scuff it and need to do it all again in a year or two. Don't get so obsessed that you spend all your time painting and don't go sailing!
Agree with the above. We sail a classic wood boat this is good advice. I use Kush Paint (link) similar to Brightsides in durability, which makes sanding and touchup easy. We use semi-glass rather than the high gloss finish and we use a creamy white color.

About your sanding and sanding dust--you can (and should) make yourself a plastic cocoon where ever you're working indoors. You can stick a decent heating system air filter on one side, a box fan with the same filter on the other side and draw air through for ventilation.

Method of sanding--suggest you NOT use an orbital sander of any kind but make yourself a couple flexible longboards (even harbor freight sells inexpensive ones) or buy a pneumatic longboard (again harbor freight has them) and do your sanding by hand. This advice comes from my husband who sanded our hull with a two-person longboard and when I repaint the hull, he uses a smallish one-person one to do the sanding. You can get an uneven/unfair surface using the wrong sanders. Our boat is much bigger (54' on deck and all that associated freeboard which your little boat won't have) but you should take care not to ruin your hull with bad sanding. You'll have dents and warbles in your high gloss finish.

Best of luck!

PS--here are some pics of my topsides during our 2013 haulout--re-doing the bootstripe required sanding down to bare wood--and the sides had already been repainted with the creamy white color. The transom didn't get repainted, just touched up where the new cockpit drains were added.

"The only noble thing a man can do with money is to build a schooner." Robert Louis Stevenson
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