What is the Worst Job in a Boat Yard?
There are many jobs in a boat yard that are not a lot of fun, but the absolute worst is “Grinding Fiberglass”, especially when it is your own boat on what is supposed to be a day off!
I have been in the process of removing the teak on Malaya, last week that job was finished, at least the removing part was. Once the teak was off I started sanding the gelcoat on the deck with 40 grit paper in preparation for laying down some glass. While sanding I discovered that the builder had ground off a lot of gelcoat before apply the teak and that the gelcoat that was left wasn’t all that well adhered in many spots so the decision was made that it all had to come off to ensure a good bond with the new glass.
So Saturday I ground glass, for 5 1/2 hours, inside the boat cover it looked like a snow storm, or the inside of a vacuum cleaner. To say the least it was not fun, hard on the knees and the back. fortunately unlike the first time I ground fiberglass back in the 1970’s protective gear has improved dramatically. Back in 1970 at best one wore a pair of cotton coveralls that kept some of the dust off but left one an itchy mess a few minutes into the job. Breathing equipment also left a bit to be desired back then but it has been so long I don’t remember exactly what we wore besides a bandana tied over the nose.
Tyvek suits, rubber or nitrile gloves and respirators have improved the comfort level of the job some but it is still a job best done in air conditioning or on a cool and cloudy spring day.
In addition to the side decks and foredecks the cockpit combing tops were ground where the old teak inlays were so foam coring can be installed and the tops glassed over. I also ground out the cockpit seat tops where the new teak inlays are going and a few spots around the cockpit where old speakers were removed along with old phone jack. I also ground out the “hole to no where” that had a plastic deck plate on it. The hole to no where is where I cut a 4″ hole thinking I would gain access to some winch bolts on the combing top but alas it turned into a big F… UP. The largest one I have ever had. Now it is going to get
glassed over, faired and no one will ever know it was there.
Sunday was clean up and I swept up 10 gallons of fiberglass dust and then vacuumed the cabin top and decks. The wind will knock some dust off the plastic and leave a thin-film of dust, eventually before painting the deck I will take a hose and rinse everything down.
Now for the stink of lamination! Any volunteers?