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Spray Painting AQUACOTE

Customer Feedback Spray Painting AQUACOTE

Today was pretty monumental as it was the culmination of about 200 hours preparation of the hull for a topcoat of POST OFFICE RED aquacote.  I've attached a couple of before and after pics.  Still have to do a bit of post-operative spit and polish, plus anti-fouling, but that all seems rather pedestrian alongside the act of actually applying a finishing topcoat to the topsides - which is akin to a rite-of-passage for us wood butchers.

For Robert, Dave and Ian, in particular, I can vouch for the ease of spray painting aquacote.  Thank you one and all for the serious, and sometimes conflicting, advice on the subject.  The following points are a summary of my experience in relation to the yellow "Application Directions" (Ian's Boatcraft Pacific document) and the DRIVE Marine Services (Dave's Company) Tips Sheet:

1.  Pre-cursor filling (with bote-cote filled with sanding filler) and sanding to remove high and low spots is hard work but essential.  See ugl.

2.  The yellow "Applications Directions" are spot-on.  Follow to the letter.  Selection of a day of optimum ambient conditions is critical, to reduce the number of variables which would otherwise confuse any analysis of sub-optimum painting results.

3.  Do not skimp on hy-build aquacote undercoat.  Almost bullet-proof to apply by spray, and may be diluted with water (up to 10%) until spray flows evenly without globs or runs.  Keep going forward - do not go back over recently sprayed work - have faith in the product.  Allow about 20 minutes between coats and apply up to four coats in one session.  Should be enough if filling and sanding was honest.

4.  Sand undercoat to car-body feel - smooth as.  This is hard work because aquacote hy-build is very hard.  The upside is that it protects the hull from bangs and scratches better than alternative undercoats that are easy to sand.  Knock the top off high spots by hand with 80 grit and then go staight to 220 grit using orbital sander.  I found 220 grit superior to all others.  Do not use wet sandpaper.  After first honest round of 220 grit sanding (which looks and feels good), do it all over again.  Second time round is much easier and the result is noticeably better - almost excellent.

5.  Prepare for topcoat.  Choose cool of morning on calm, warm day.  Scrub undercoat with nylon pot-scourer and detergent.  Wash all detergent off with fresh water.  Let dry naturally - moist surface is OK.  Apply masking tape at 100mm above waterline (below, since hull is upside down!) and cover bottom with newspaper.

6.  Prepare aquacote topcoat.  Follow directions and tips for your particular application.  MIX WELL by power mixer - most important, since pigment is thick.  FILTER with panti-hose or similar into spray gravity feeder.  Spray on test piece (or newspaper cover) to ensure good flow without globs or runs.  Avoid diluting with water.

7.  Spray topcoat.  Follow directions and tips for your particular application.  The topcoat dries so quickly that I found I could apply a misty spray up and down and left to right right around the boat, and by the time I got back to the starting point (about 10 minutes) it was dry enough to do the same again, this time left to right and up and down (i.e. opposite pattern to last time), always moving forward, not going back over old work.  I lost count of the number of coats - probably about 10, with no runs and no discernable defects - see pic Nov 09 019.  Tonight it appears to have tightened up beautifully.  I think the secret is judging when it's dry enough to re-coat - which is determined by the ambient conditions more than anything else.

All in all, I'm pretty happy with the result.  Spraying has less fear now than before - in fact, the big advantage is the speed - all over in 2 hours (assuming good preparation!)

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