Refinishing the Hard Dodger, Part 1

At the same time I was working on the plumbing, James and I have been fixing up our aftermarket hard dodger.  It’s a really nice feature on this boat, keeping the companionway out of the weather most of the time and allowing us to hunker down when we want to hide from the wind for a bit while sailing.  That was mostly on the way up to Baltimore last winter, between snow storms.  We were certainly in hiding mode then. But that’s a bit off topic, eh? The topic is this: the dodger had been painted with some sort of epoxy paint and then some other materials.  It was a mystery mix that was cracked and peeling all the way down to the fiberglass of which it is made.  I haven’t gotten in the habit of getting before pictures, so you just get the process here.  It’s pretty simple, really, if time- and energy-intensive.  I picked one area for close-ups so you can really see how it started and went along. The first step was to scrape off all the old material.  Patience and persistence are key here, because every single bit of material that isn’t 100% adhered to its substrate will need to go.  I used a painter’s scraper with a long flat edge that is blunt on one end and pointed on the other.  I used the pointed end to pry large sheets away and the flat edge to make sure the remaining material wasn’t going to come up.  After scraping all the loose bits away, I sanded everything in order to soften the edges for fairing. The next step was fairing everything.  I made the fairing compound with regular West System epoxy (several batches) mixed with 407 low density filler.  It’s a blended micro-balloon based filler that[…]

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