Boatbuilding Blog

September 17, 2014

Minor Hull Patch

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 1:57 pm

I pulled the Coot out last month to wash the bottom and touch up the bottom paint. Right at the waterline, back about four feet from the bow there was a half-inch divot gouged out, with bare plywood showing, and a crack a few inches long running aft of the hole. It looks like I hit something hard, maybe a bolt head mounted on something heavy. Water oozed out of the crack when I pressed on it.

While the boat was out, I took the dinghy home for sanding and varnishing.

Here’s the damage – hand for scale.

The plywood was very wet. To see the extent of the water intrusion, I figured the plywood would have swelled where it was wet, so I sanded the whole area with a longboard. The sanding took off the bottom paint wherever the wood was swelled. I’m kind of proud of this idea.

So I cut back the glass to the edges of the swelled area and dug down a few plys to see if there was damage below that level. It was damp but undamaged – no cracks or rot.

I sanded the paint off in a larger area, then mounted a heat lamp for a couple days. I kept it pretty hot, during some very hot dry days.
WP_20140826_15_57_53_Pro WP_20140826_16_01_02_Pro

When I decided the wood was dry, I soaked the bare wood with warm neat epoxy until it wouldn’t soak up any more, then laminated small pieces of 6 ounce fiberglass cloth to fill the depressed area flush. When that was firm, I smoothed the area with QuickFair, then sanded that nice and flat.

Finally, I laid a larger layer of glass over the whole area, smoothed with peel-ply to make it smooth and flat.WP_20140828_17_10_43_Pro

A little sanding, more QuickFair, and some bottom paint, and she’s done. Back in the water in time for the Port Townsend boat show.  The boat was out of the water for five days.

My only concern with this fix is that water may have leaked past the area I cleaned and dried, and now it’s locked inside, brewing dry rot. I kind of wished I’d soaked some penetrating epoxy in the area before filling it. I guess I’ll know in a few years if I should have done that. By the way, there’s a watertight compartment behind this area. I would not have sunk even if I’d been holed through.

August 17, 2011

Haul Out

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 11:16 am

Took her out of the water for the first time since we launched. Changed the oil and filter, changed the lower unit oil, scrubbed and repainted the bottom, cut the skegs down and mounted them permanently, and got the boat name painted on. I raised the boot stripe on the stern too, to make her look like she’s floating on her lines instead of being stern-low.

First thing I did was to scrub off all the green scum and repaint the bottom.


Checking out name sizes.

Nancy painted the letters free-hand after outlining with chalk.


Dark gold trim finishes the lettering.

July 17, 2010

Where I Got My Paint Colors

Filed under: Building - Considerations, Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 1:09 pm

The W. O. Decker is a 1930 tug, now owned by the South Street Seaport in New York City. I would have stolen the colors verbatim, but Meryll said I couldn’t use the gray-green trim, and made me go with the cream trim instead. A good decision, as usual Smile


If you squint, you can hardly tell them apart!

May 14, 2010

Oh Gnats!

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 10:50 pm

While painting the doors in the back yard last evening a cloud of gnats came by. IMG_0519

Here’s the scene of devastation this morning. Oh, the humanity! Death toll in the hundreds.IMG_0522

February 22, 2010

Night View With Port Light

Filed under: Building - Cabin, Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 1:28 pm

Port Light

I like this picture. The Port navigation light throws a soft glow through a cloud of cigar smoke. I sat in the boat in the dark and listened to music and enjoyed a cigar and a beer. It’s about the first time I could easily imagine being on the water.

November 25, 2009

Paint Details

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 12:05 am




November 10, 2009


Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 3:10 am

All the colors are on the boat now. I think they look nice 🙂

Two more coats of red, and I can take the masking tape off and install the windows, hatches, and portholes. Just in time, too, since the tent is starting to leak. I’ll try to get by without buying another tarp for the top.



October 3, 2009

Pilothouse Paint

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 11:07 pm

Kirby Yellow Gloss paint. I’ll flatten the top coat a little.

Port bow view 

Port stern view 
Two more coats of this on the outside and two more coats on the inside, and I’ll be able to mount the windows!


Original drawing


Here’s my original color layout from last January. I may install the rubrail today while waiting for the paint to dry.

I wish I could see the boat from this perspective, but the tent is too narrow.

September 28, 2009

Reflections in Hull Paint

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 8:15 am

Well, it took 5 coats, but I’m calling the hull paint done.  Parts of it are very shiny :-)  Some of it doesn’t look quite as nice but I’ve decided I can live with it.

Reflection in the hull


I added flattening agent to the third coat, which made the paint look very thin so I added very little thinner. The paint didn’t smooth out after tipping, leaving tiny ridges along the whole hull surface. I had to sand it down with 220 grit – 400 wouldn’t dent it. This stuff cures hard!  It took 2 more coats to make it look good again.

Bad finish on hull


Sanding the 4th coat with 400 grit:






Self-Portrait in Two-Part Polyurethane:


September 2, 2009

Hull Paint

Filed under: Building - Painting — tomlarkin @ 10:13 am

Meryll tipped while I rolled the first coat of black paint on the topsides. The tipping left visible streaks but I’m guessing that’s normal for a first coat of black over white primer. Halfway through, the paint started getting tiny bubbles that left white spots after tipping. We tried adding some thinner but, although the paint flowed more easily, it made the bubbles worse.  It could be that it wasn’t warm enough (65F), or that the humidity was too high. I’ll wait for better conditions for the next coats.  It took about 3/4 of a quart of paint to do this coat.

Meryll wore a shower cap to keep her long hair safe. I bought her a brand-new respirator for the job.  The horizontal line of dots in the paint are screw holes for mounting the rub rail.

Starting to paint

The rolling box she’s sitting on has been a real back saver while prepping the hull for paint. I bought nice big casters so it’s easy to move around.

Finishing up

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