Small Projects:  Abovedecks (Page 2)
This page was last updated on 2 April 2002

Re-Lacquering the Ports

During the winter, I became aware that the lacquer on the exterior port frames had failed--badly.  I don't really know why it happened; they seemed to look OK when the boat came out in the fall.  I guess the UV just got to them over the summer, and it took the cold weather to cause it to crack...who knows.  In any case, they were a mess; basically, the finish was loose, cracked, and peeling, and I knew before I pulled the cover off that I would have to address the ports.

After I pulled the cover off, I immediately turned to work on the ports.  I just wanted to clean them up and get the project over with on the nice day that I had at my disposal, and before the now-exposed bronze had a chance to weather or anything.  So, armed with a putty knife and 220 grit sandpaper, I scraped off the mostly-loose lacquer from all the ports.  (Sorry--no pictures of the failed finish--I forgot.)  It came off easily for the most part, but the job was a little tedious.  Once the lacquer was scraped off, I carefully sanded the frames bright again with the 220 grit.  Scraping and sanding the 10 ports (4 large and 6 small) took a little over an hour--not too bad.

Now, the real fun began.  Because I use spray lacquer on the bronze, I had to mask off all the ports.  This was a hell of a lot of work, and many times during the process I wondered why in the world I couldn't be happy with ports allowed to go natural brown/green, whatever.

First, I had to mask around the outside of each port.  Of course, most of the edges are curved, so getting the tape to conform means using a million small pieces.

Then, I had to mask around the inside of each port, on the glass/lexan.  The inside curves are even worse to get the tape to properly cover.

In all, masking all the ports in this manner took over two hours of my time and more than a roll of masking tape.

Then, to top it all off, I had to install newspaper all around in order to prevent overspray on the surrounding surfaces.  This was like rubbing salt in my wounds.  Of course, now the wind decided to pick up just a little bit, making dealing with newspaper all the more fun.  It was at this point that I really began to question my chosen port finish, not to mention my sanity.  Was this really worth the ridiculous effort it was taking?  That question was one I chose to ignore for a while.  Call this the ultimate labor of love.

With the masking and papering finally done, after what seemed an eternity, I sprayed several coats of clear lacquer on the port frames.  Each coat took about 2 seconds to apply, so I spent a total of perhaps 2 minutes actually spraying the finish on the ports.

masked2-4202.JPG (168332 bytes)     masked4-4202.JPG (203473 bytes)

2 minutes finish time for between 3 and 4 hours of prep time.  Yeah, that makes sense.

However, you can't argue with the finished result--they look just as good as they did last year when they had never been exposed to the weather.  I do really like the bright antique bronze finish; I just don't know if I can ever let them go.  Will I want to go through this tedious process once a year?  Can I deal with that?  Time will tell.  For now, it's done.

Glissando, Pearson  Triton #381

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