With the help of my parents I was able to get the deck-to-hull joint sealed up and the freshly painted toe rails mounted. I finished the project up in the dark, so unfortunately I'm unable to post a picture of the glorious milestone. I will definitely say that having them back on the boat really makes a HUGE visual improvement. I'm very excited about it.
I'm also very excited about how well the Rust-o-leum Professional flat black restored them. From an inch away they look like brand new. I even banged them around a bit, and the finish seems pretty tough at first glance. Hopefully they'll stay that way for a long time.
The not so glorious news is that I was short a few bolts, and I did not get the stanchions mounted. By the time I realized how late it was getting I decided that mounting the stanchions would not be a good idea. Having them stick up above the deck would mean I'd need to come up with a new tarp strategy which I most definitely did not have time (or daylight) for.
So, the next big project will be to get the stanchions back in place and re-bed the transom plate and stern pulpit. That will pale in comparison with caulking those toe rails. My hands are still suffering from the hours I spent cranking on that caulk gun. Having never worked with 3m 4200 before, I had no idea how it flowed. My incorrect assumption had equated 4200's consistency with typical household caulk. It was more like thick toothpaste or cement going through a hypodermic needle! So, lesson #1 is that when dispensing 4200 from a caulk gun, use one of the professional grade guns with better leverage and ergonomics. The cheap guns don't cut it.
Lesson #2 learned during this project was how difficult it is to clean up 4200. Neither mineral spirits nor acetone could touch it. The packaging suggests 3m Adhesive Remover (surprise, surprise!), which I had in my basement, but not at the boat yard. I'm a bit disappointed with the squeeze out I had in my external joint, but in retrospect I'm almost glad it was weak because I wasn't adequately prepared to clean it off the freshly painted topsides. It's not bad, but I like to really over-goop things so it's sealed beyond a shadow of doubt. I'm sure it will be fine and I just need to be less of a perfectionist. It's absolutely better than it was when I started this project, so all things need to be kept in perspective.
I'm definitely in the home stretch with the deck, and I don't anticipate it will take long to glass over the keel-hull joint and rudder bottom. I probably won't get the Interprotect applied this fall, but I think I still have a very good chance of finishing up all the prep-work before winter sets in for good. Once it gets too cold, then I start rebuilding the wood interior - finally, something I can do at home!
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