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Grinding the Keel

posted Mar 28, 2011, 6:43 AM by Christopher Hubbell   [ updated Mar 28, 2011, 6:57 AM ]
On March 26, I spent a brutally cold afternoon grinding away on the keel.  The trusty 8" random orbit sander continues to
impress me as having been a good purchase.  My goal was to finish removing the anti-fowling paint from the keel, and then do some light grinder fairing of the fiberglass work on the keel-hull joint.  Both of these objectives were met, and I'm very pleased with the results.  The smooth glass work looks a million times better than the messy 3M 4300 job it replaced.

The only thing I'm debating now is whether or not to repair the minor, but long stress cracks in the gel coat right above the keel-hull joint.  They run almost the length of the keel on the port side.  All are tiny spiderweb sized lines which I think the barrier coat would fill.  Interestingly, there are no cracks at all on the starboard side.  I have requested an estimate from the composites specialist at my boat yard.  He did amazing work on the topsides and decking, so if the cost is reasonable I may have him do it.

My next project will be to apply fairing compound to the keel-hull glass work and smooth out the fabric texture.  I'm thinking two thin coats ought to do it.  My only problem now is waiting out the battle between Winter and Spring.  Temperatures just aren't quite warm enough for Epoxy, so I'm in an anxious holding pattern.

At the point all I should need to do is re-install the rudder and I'll be ready for barrier-coat.  Now THAT will be a dramatic improvement!