URGENT Sanding Query

Posted by Monterey Matt on Jul 23, 2005

OK, I admit this is not really "Urgent", like the way, say, "Sandy, we need to get the President to make a decision NOW about whether to launch or not!" or "My god, they only have ten minutes of oxygen left and they're still 200 miles up!" are urgent.

It's really only urgent because tomorrow is the last day I will have for a *month* to work on Umunum, the World's Longest Chesapeake 18 (in terms of number of building days), and the only thing I have to do right now is sanding and I don't want to waste a day.

So, anyway, I'm sanding to get it ready for varnishing and painting. Today I did 80 grit, 150, and 220 on the hull, bottom and side panels. I went through about 25 80 grit 5" orbital pads, about 25 150, and another 25 220 grit pads - I was a good boy and changed very frequently, on average every foot and a half or so, and I overlapped my sanding and inspected as I went.

I still see some "lows" (not gray), particularly along the side panels. In a few small spots along the side, I can see the fiberglass pattern. In one worrisome spot, I'm getting down perilously close to the actual fiberglass.

So, given that I'm going to be painting my sides -- how uniform does the 'uniform gray color' the manual refers to really have to be in practice?

Should I:

(a) keep going over it again and again with 220 until I get rid of all those pesky "lows"?

(b) do another 80-150-220 round entirely?

(c) hand-sand the spots as best I can with 120-220?

(d) declare victory and move on to the deck tomorrow, thus "finishing" the pre-sanding step and being all ready to varnish once we move to the nice clean garage in a month?

As an aside...

I did a light rinse off of Umunum after I was done sanding for the day and had already vacuumed and damp-mopped the surface, and boy was that a relief to see how clearly the water ran off and how nice and clear the hull/epoxy was (showing various imperfections in the wood). I'm assuming that's a preview of what will happen once I varnish it, modula the color change. I ran my hands along the hull (in what, I'm sure, was a fairly libidinous manner) and boy did it feel nice and smooooooth.

The process of sanding today was like going through a flashback. I got to relive all the traumas of my earliest epoxying and fiberglassing horrors as each imperfection in those jobs showed up again as I sanded down.

But I kept telling myself, "look, Cap'n, you made all those gruesome mistakes and added 20 pounds too much epoxy on and chipped the wood and misnailed this and that and the inside of your yak looks like the outside rind on some really well-aged goat cheese and there's a twist in your hull and your hatches are lopsided, yet, despite all that, the damn kayak looks pretty good and it has all the appearances of being seaworthy and a nice coat of paint is going to disguise a lot of incompetence."

And then when I rinsed her off and the hull came up nice and sparkly for a few minutes, the bad voices in my head went away and that pleasant "holy cow, I kinda built an actual kayak" buzz came back in. Sigh.


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