Captain’s Log 7 – Quilting

Wednesday 11/29/17: A very full day of boatyness today. Starting at 8:30, I sanded down the “pasta” on the damaged rail, and then cut the fiberglass fabric to repair the rail and the two transom/gunwale corners, which were cracked. I laid out the pieces of fabric in order, since my fume-befuddled mind needs things to be as simplified as possible to keep track of what’s going on. I mixed up the resin and hardener (finally getting the recipe right), and gooped it all on there. This took me until 11:00 am.


Port stern corner sanded, masked, and fabric laid out and ready to go.


Fixin’ them cracks.


Fiberglass on the rail. The brass screws which go through to the wood block underneath are visible through the fiberglass. The dark area on the top is the sanded-down “pasta.”

I seemed to be on a roll, so after a short fresh-air break and lunch, I went right back at it and did all the fiberglass on the interior deck! It reminded me of quilting. Next time (although I’ve sworn I would never do this again), I would make a paper pattern, and then cut the fiberglass with a rotary cutter. Scissors don’t work too great. The fabric is stretchy and gets out of kilter very easily, and when that happens the edges of the fabric fray. When you apply the resin, those frayed edges get all gummed up and sticky on your gloves, on the brush, on the yogurt container. It’s a big mess. It reminds me of butterscotch candies, partially sucked-on and stuck in someone’s hair. And once the stuff hardens, all those ragged spots will require more sanding later to smooth it all out. With a cutting board and rotary cutter, and a big enough working space, you could lay the fabric out smoothly and square it up, and then use your pattern to cut the shapes with nice clean edges. Yeah!


Fourteen pieces of fiberglass fabric to complete the deck quilt. I had to figure out the order in which they should be applied, so I didn’t end up walking on the stuff, or painted into a corner. One through nine were applied while I was in the boat; 10 through 14 once I got out. Lots of reaching, stretching, and contorting required!


A rotary cutter, self-healing cutting board, and Quilter’s Rule (pun intended) would be great things to add to the boat-fixer’s toolbox.

I had a bit of trouble with the roller; it worked fine for putting down the first layer of resin, but seemed to lift the fabric up off the resin when I tried to roll it for the final application. Had to go over every bit with a brush, tap tap tap tap tap, pushing the resin into the fabric and the wood, lots of work! Plus, of course, applying the resin is a time-sensitive endeavor, since every minute you work with the stuff it gets gooey-er and stickier. It took me a total of five-and-a-half hours to get it all done.

I am pretty exhausted, and, I think, maybe a bit high on fumes, even though I wore a respirator all day. It might be time to change the cartridges.

I took a shower and shampooed my hair, but it still reeks of resin. I can’t imagine those Shed Boys in Port Townsend, doing this kind of work and then living on the beach!

Joe & Tobben stopped by right as I was done cutting the pieces and before I started applying the resin. It was fun to show them the project. I was glad Joe still likes me after I was bitching and moaning yesterday. He sent me a text later: “Good for you, you should have the worst behind you, bet it looks good.”

I never even left the boardwalk today; didn’t set foot on the street or even the beach. Just back and forth from Shack to Barn. I’ve had my head down, working — no idea what it’s like out there in the wider world. But when there is stuff this fascinating to fool around with, how could I be distracted by things like beaches, trails, birds, friends….?


Left: pure resin, hardened. Right: Jean Luc’s “pasta.”

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