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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Painting the Hull

Now that I've got the boat upside down, all prepped and masked I'm ready to start painting the hull. I'm using a one part paint. It is a polyurethane enamel. It will provide a hard protective coating and with super high gloss and has very good color retention and is durable. The paint was manufactured by Blue Marine. I decided on their Super White Color.

I'm using "Blue WaterMarine Paint", which is a one part polyurethane enamel. 
The color is 'Super White'

The first step is to get everything I'll need to get the job done. Here's the list;
  • Blue Water Marine Paint, Super White
  • Half gallon plastic container
  • Stir stick
  • Toluene for thinning - 1 ounce per quart. 5-10%
  • 1 pint plastic measuring cup
  • Excellent quality brush with soft tips
  • 6" foam roller and frame
  • Disposable paint tray
  • Clean Rags
  • Tack Cloth
The first order of business was to re-vacuum the areas to be painted. I then used the two rag method and wiped down the surface with Acetone. Once wiped down, I used a tack cloth to do the final cleanup of the surfaces to remove any remaining dust particles.

Next I opened the quart can of paint and pour it into the half gallon plastic container. Measure 1 ounce of Toluene into the small pint plastic measuring cup and pour it into the larger container with the paint. Use the stir stick and stir for 10 minutes. Yeah, really 10 minutes.

Next set up the roller pan, roller frame and foam roller.Get the kind that have rounded edges at the ends. Get your paint brush.

Time for Painting

The method for applying the paint is referred  to as "Rolling and Tipping". the paint will be applied with the "Roller" and then "Tipped" with the brush. I'm right handed so I decided to work from right to left. I will be brushing left to right, which is opposite to the way I'm working. This is important. When you are "Tip" the paint you always want to go from the dry area back onto the painted area.

The boat will take two coats with a hand sanding to 320 grit between coats.

Here's how the first coat is done.

  • The fist thing to do is to load the roller with paint and then roll it repeatedly on the roller pan to have a loaded foam roller but not overloaded. I count to at least ten strokes each time I load or reload the foam roller. 
  • Starting at the transom and working to the left I roll out the paint working to the left with vertical stokes. Press hard on the roller to squeeze out all the paint. If you don't the paint will go on too thick. I work to the left until I am loosing coverage with the paint.
  • I then work the roller horizontally to spread the paint out evenly to the left. 
  • I finish this application with a vertical roll at the left edge to create a straight vertical line. You will end up with a vertical line with dry  surface on the left of the line and paint on the right.
  • One roller load covers an area about 24"tall by about 1 foot wide.
  • The paint will have lots of air bubbles in it and should be a thin even coating. 
  • Put the roller down in the tray and stat brushing from left to right. Start at the top and brush horizontally.
  • Place the brush on the dry portion of the vertical line on the left and brush to the right with a light touch. 
  • Lift the tips off the paint at the end of each stroke. Feather the paint out.
  • Continue the same method from top to bottom using horizontal passes.
  • Start back at the top and repeat.
  • That's it. Repeat the same steps all the way around the boat, move quickly and efficiently and keep a wet edge.

Prepping for the second coat

Once the paint had dried thoroughly, which was about 48 hours in my case as it was getting below 50 degrees in my shop at night, I hand sanded the surface with 220 grit sandpaper with a sanding pad. I then used a 320 grit Scotchbrite pad and hit the surface once more. 

I then vacuumed the surface and finished up with a tack cloth.

Just repeat the same process as the first coat.


I'm really happy with the paint job. It's not perfect like a spray finish but it has that hand made look to it. A few brush marks here and there but I think a job well done.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat - Prepping the Hull for Painting

It's time to get ready to paint the hull, I've done about all I can do on the interior of the boat and it's time to work on the outside for a while, This will entail flipping the boat upside down to work on. To get ready for painting the hull I had do do quite a bit of work prior to getting it done.

Getting a little ahead of myself. Here's the hull after it was painted.

The critical path went something like this
  1. Flip the Boat over
  2. Sand or use a cabinet scrapper to prep the bottom of the gunnels
  3. Flow coat the underneath side of the gunnels once they are prepped.
  4. Run a fillet of epoxy peanut butter at the junction of the gunnels to the sides.
  5. Run another flow coat of epoxy on the underside of the gunnels and coat the fillet
  6. Sand and flow coat the rounded transom with it's last coat of epoxy
  7. Finish sand and the underside of the gunnel, the sides and the rounded transom progressively to 220 grit.
  8. Mask off the gunnels and the rounded transom to get ready for painting the hull.

Flipping the Boat

I enlisted the help of three friends to flip the boat over. It has been residing right side up on a 4' x 10' table with rolling casters. The first task was getting the boat on the floor of the shop. I worked the boat to one end of the table. Imagine launching a boat from a trailer. Once I got the stern on the floor we just lifted the bow and slid the table out from under the boat. I had furniture blankets on the floor. The gunnels are coated with at least two coats of epoxy but I still wanted to have blankets under anything on the boat that contacted the floor. The steps went sort of like this.
  • Place furniture blankets on the floor in position so that as the boat is lifted up on one side and supported on one gunnel (half-way flipped) the blankets are under the spots of the center section of the gunnel. Pretty much in the center of the boat at the oar locks.
  • I also placed furniture blankets that are folded up in multiple layers under the stem and transom so that when it is flipped it is cushioned under these areas.
  • Two people are on one side of the boat and two are on the other.
  • The boat is lifted by two people so it is resting on one gunnel, basically half flipped. The other two people help support the boat in the vertical position.
  • It is then tilted over to the upside down position and supported by the two people on the other side of the boat.
  • Once the boat is flipped and is resting on the floor, lift the bow up and slide extended sawhorses, about 5 1/2' long, underneath so the bow is supported by both gunnels. Cover the tops of the sawhorses with padded materials. I used old towels.
  • Repeat the same procedure for the stern of the boat.
  • The boat should now be flipped upside down and resting on the padded extended sawhorse.
  • Ready to go to work.

Prepping the Gunnels and Rounded Transom for Flow Coating

One problem when flow coating the gunnels when the boat is right side up, is that it is almost impossible not to have drips or runs of epoxy on the underneath side of the gunnels. I found that the best approach is to use fast set hardener in small batches and tend it until you can't mess with it anymore. Even doing this I had some runs and drips. The best way of getting rid of these drips and runs on the underneath side of the gunnels is to use a cabinet scrapper. The scrapper removes the material you need to remove quickly and efficiently. Once the runs and drips are knocked down I then final sanded them by hand. I used 120 grit followed by 150 grit followed by 220 grit. They turned out pretty darned nice. Note: Remember to use cabinet scrappers to do the dirty work.

I finish sanded the rounded transom next to get it ready for its last flow coat of epoxy. Most of the rounded transom will not get painted and the mahogany plywood will be varnished.

This photo shows the detailed and sanded underneath side of the gunnels and the epoxy fillet at the junction of the gunnels to the sides.

Flow Coating the Gunnels and Rounded Transom

Once the underneath side of the gunnels were sanded it was time to flow coat them. I masked off the gunnels at the center of the 1/4" round over all around the boat. I didn't want the epoxy to run back down the face of the gunnels. I also flow coated the rounded transom. This is basically the last of the flow coating of epoxy on the entire boat. Wow, it's been a long time coming.

Sanding the Sides, Gunnels and Rounded Transom

Now that the flow coating was completed on the hull it was time to finish sand the entire exterior of the boat. I used a random orbital sander and sanded the sides to 220 grit. Being that the rounded transom is curved I used a flexible pad and hand sanded it down to 220 grit. I hand sanded the underneath side of the gunnels to 220 grit.

Clean Up and Masking

The last steps were to vacuum all the surfaces and then wipe the surfaces down with acetone and then start masking. Once the surfaces were vacuumed, I used the two rag method for prepping the surfaces. One rag is used to wipe down the surface and a clean rag follows.

Now it's masking time. I used 1/4" wide green masking tape that is used in auto body shops to mask the line that I will paint to. Once the 1/4' tape is laid down I use a masking machine with 3M 3/4" blue tape and 12" wide masking paper that comes on a roll. I taped off about 12" from the 1/4" green tape along the gunnels, the rounded transom and the Linex material that wraps up the sides about 4".

After the sides were masked to isolate the portion of the boat to be painted I checked to see that the tape was set tight at the paint line.

You can see the green 1/4" wide masking tape at the line to be painted. It is taped to the Linex that runs 4" up the sides. I then used a masking machine to finish up.

Next Up - Painting

Monday, January 12, 2015

Kingfisher Drift Boat Build - Hatch Trim & Hatches

I enjoyed the holidays with my family and got back on the build with installing the hatch trim and making the hatches.

There are 4 deck hatches and two pedestal hatches. The 4 deck hatches access the dry storage boxes. There are dry boxes on each side, each with two access hatches.

I first had to make backing that glues underneath the deck plywood along the edges. This reinforces the decks and gives up something to attach the hinge screws. The hatch backing is made with strips of 1/4" Okoume plywood that are about 2" wide. I made the strips and cut them to length. I had to make special strips that were about 5/8" wide that butted to the deck rail that runs lengthwise under the deck. Once these were cut I set them aside to flow coat with epoxy before gluing them in place under the deck and around the hatch opening.

I them had to make the hatch trims. These are strips of white oak that are 1/4" thick  x 1 1/4" wide. I made a list of the sizes required for each hatch opening and cut them approximately 2" longer than the finish length. Once all the pieces were cut to length I had to cut a saw kerf on one side near the top edge create a slot to install hatch coaming. Hatch coaming is a type of gasket seal. The saw kerf is about 3/32" deep x 3/32" wide. It is cut on one edge about 5/32" from the top edge. I set up fingerboards on my table saw and cut the saw kerf on each piece. I then set them on a table to flow coat them with epoxy.

Here is a piece of the hatch trim. It is 1/4" x 1 1/4". The saw kerf is on the top right.

Once they were flow coated and finish sanded it was time to install them. The hatch trim pieces fit inside the hatch openings. The bottom of the hatch trims are set flush with the bottom of the hatch backing and stick up above the deck about 3/4". The pieces are glued in place with thickened epoxy. Once the pieces are glued in place. (4 for each hatch) I cut sticks that were wedged inside to hold them in place. I did this for the 4 deck hatch openings and the two pedestal hatch openings.

Here's a photo of the hatch trim installed on the front pedestal. It sticks proud of the opening by about 3/4". The back is flush with the back side of the opening. It was glued into the opening with thickened epoxy.

This photo shows the hatch trim installed at one of the dry box openings. The opening has been filleted with epoxy peanut butter to seal the deck opening.


I next had to make the hatches. They are constructed with white oak trim that has a rabbit to accept a 1/4" Okoume plywood panel. The stock was milled to 5/8" x 3/4". I milled a 5/32" x 5/32" rabbit on one edge to accept the panel. The hatches must be large enough to fit the weatherstripping. The next step was to mitre the pieces for each hatch. I then cut the plywood panel to size.
I glued the miters and the rabbet to accept the panel with thickened epoxy. I clamped the assembly all at once.

Here is one of the pedestal hatches. This is the back side. It looks sort of like a tray.

Here is the front side of he same pedestal hatch. It has been flow coated with epoxy and sanded. It will get one more flow coat of epoxy and then multiple coats of varnish.