In Gelcoat Crack Repair we left off with me applying the final coat of epoxy thickened with 407 low density filler to the aft deck. This was the most recent step in a several years long process of fixing the balsa core rot that plagued the entire aft deck. This morning I started by sanding down the cured epoxy to a silky smooth finish with a high grit sandpaper.
I finished by hand sanding the corners that the DeWalt could not get into. This is a painfully slow process when you’re used to the speed of the orbital but I was careful to remain patient and demanding in my quest for a seamless finish.
After sanding was complete I cleaned the area with Xylol. I then got another, new, microfiber towel and cleaned it again just to make sure all the impurities were removed.
While the Xylol evaporated I gathered my materials: One gallon of Interlux Epoxy Primekote 404 white base, one quart of 414 reactor, one quart of 2333N reducing solvent, and a 2 1/2 inch china chisel brush.
This is the first time I have used any of these products and I read the instructions three times to make sure I understood. I then grabbed the appropriate mixing tub and visually marked out the levels at which each part would be added. After that, I wrote it all down as a reference just to be sure. I am not good with numbers and so whenever I encounter them I take it nice and slow 😉
The mix is 3 parts 404 to one part 414 reactor. You then add 20-25% of the 2333N reducing solvent and the mix is ready to apply. The 404 is mighty thick stuff and it took some serious exercise before it was properly mixed and ready to be portioned out with a small measuring cup. I then added the 414 reactor with an even smaller measuring scoop. Once these two were thoroughly mixed together, I added 20% 2333N reducing solvent. I will just mention now that I should have added the upper limit of 25% because when I did apply the primer I felt like it was slightly too thick and did not level out like I would have liked.
Once the reducing solvent was mixed well with the primer I hopped outside and immediately began painting. They say that there is a 5 hour pot life and that may be so, but I am used to epoxies setting up on me a lot quicker than that so I was eager to get to work. The painting went well but, as I mentioned earlier, I wish that I had thinned it to 25% instead of 20% and I also wish I had not used this brush which was recommended to me for this job. I am far more confident with a good Purdy brush that can be bought at any hardware store and is used for painting houses. When I was a kid I remember my dad showing me a Purdy brush and the way he described it was that “this is a good brush and if you take care of it, it will last you your whole life.” I still have a couple of those brushes that he had down in the workshop – 15 or so years later they are working just as well as that day back when I was high school age.
Here is a picture of the finished first coat. Interlux recommends waiting overnight and then applying two more coats. I have been working towards this moment for years and it feels damn good to see that white back there 😉