April 2010

Remember how I went on the other month about how much of a long and tedious project it was for me to clean and oil the teak in the cabin? Well I think I may have found something even worse. The grabrails and toerail on deck. Small as they are they have been taking up weeks of my time.

It all started innocently enough when Matt came home from working on the boat on a Friday evening and told me that there was a project he wasn’t able to finish up and asked if I could take care of it the next day. Since I already knew going into the week that there was no way I’d be able to park my butt on the couch and watch t.v. all day come Saturday, I agreed to do it for him.

He told me this is a project that would only take me two hours max, and I’d still be home and in bed with him in time for Saturday afternoon nap (yes, I’m actually talking about a nap here, get your minds out of….). The project he didn’t complete was scraping off a wood stain removing type paint (and hopefully the stain) from the grabrails and toerail on the deck of the boat. He explained that he’d already taken care of the companionway but didn’t have time to complete the rest.

Even though I was assured this would only be a ‘two hour job’, I decided to leave early (and for me that was around 9:45) to make sure I’d be home in time for a late lunch and some Saturday afternoon movies on TBS. After arriving and having forgotten the key to the companionway, I let myself in through a hatch and turned on the lights and radio, ready to get to work. I grabbed the paint scraper and vacuum and decided to start on the port-side toerail. At this time it was about 10:40. I sat down and made my first scrape near the bow. I expected it to come off quickly and with ease, but instead all that came off was a section about 1/8″ wide and 2″ long and blocked between the two colors of the green remover and the bare teak beneath. I knew this was a project that would require some finesse (and Matt reminded me 10 times before I went), so I figured it was me and after 5 or 10 minutes I would have it down. 20 minutes later I had cleared off a 4″ section enough that I thought it would meet Matt’s approval.



I looked down at the 10 feet of port-side toerail still to be done, and then at the starboard-side and both grabrails. There was no way I was going to be in and out within a few hours. In fact I was starting to think I may not finish by the time they kicked me out at 5:00. I started racing to clear off the soy strip (I had to ask Matt what it was called) as quickly as possible without digging too far into the teak and doing some real damage. As it was, there was still a trail of wood shavings I was leaving behind. It wasn’t until well after noon that I had finally finished the port-side toerail. It was around this time I also realized I did not bring a lunch because I didn’t think I’d be there long enough to eat one, so I made the agonizing 25 minute round trip into town to pick up some BK which I consumed on the way back as to not waste any more of my time.

Revved up and ready to go again I attacked the starboard toerail in a fury which left it completed and me exhausted in a matter of just over an hour.  At this point I was starting to hit a burnt out delirium, singing along to the radio and talking to myself a little.  Luckily no one else was in the storage shed to hear me.  I moved on to the grabrails which were much more difficult due to the curve in the shape.  My perfectionist attitude started to dwindle as time began to run out, and I just wanted to get the bulk of the soy strip off.  Matt had warned me that it was not supposed to stay on the wood for more than 24 hours and that is why it HAD to be completed the day after he started it.  When the friendly staff at Eldean’s (and that’s not sarcastic, they really are friendly) came by at quarter to five to tell me to start moving along there were only a few small strips of green soy strip remaining.

The next time either Matt or I were able to make it out to the boat was the Sunday after Easter (and we were both so happy for Eldean’s to be open Sundays now).  I was proud to show Matt the work I was able to complete, and then having access to the companionway this time, took a look at the work he had done the day before me.  I was dumbfounded when I saw it.  No wonder he was able to finish his section so quickly, it looked like crap!  I think there was as much soy strip showing as there was bare teak.  The number two thing I remembered about Matt that day.  Although he has an OCD compulsion for perfection, his ADD cancels out the patience needed to attain it.  This is where I come in.  I’m content to sit in one place working on one thing until it is completed properly and perfectly (unless it’s something technological, then I’m clueless).  I spent the rest of my day clearing off what I didn’t get the week before, and then ‘touching up’ the companionway, which actually took up a good portion of my day.

Again, I have no idea what Matt worked on while we were there, but it could have been replacing all the wires to compensate for more power.  In which case it would be a good thing I was not helping because I know nothing about that area either (although I will need to learn).  By the end of the day Matt had finished replacing the wires, if that’s what he was doing, and I had cleaned and taped around the teak to prepare it for a coat of Cetol Natural Teak come Saturday.  By the way, I’ve learned never to trust Matt when he gives me a guess on how long a project will take.  He told me that taping the areas around the teak would only take 30 minutes.  They took me 2 hours.

That Saturday, armed with a Lunchable, I went back to face the teak that was giving me so much agony.  I had gotten a quick lesson from Matt the night before on the proper way to apply it (always with the grain, and spreading it out as not to leave drips), and I was ready for what I assumed would be another long hard day of work.  I was delighted after my first few strokes to not only find out how beautiful the wood looked, but what a quick and easy project it was.  I was able to complete the two coats necessary in just a few hours and was on my way home to enjoy some TBS and Saturday afternoon nap.





Unfortunately that was the last time I had any enjoyment or fulfillment working on them.  The front toerails and grabrail needed to be sanded and clear coated about five times because somehow in our closed environment with no sanding allowed, debris kept falling on the rails while they were still wet or tacky and were almost impossible to make 100% smooth.  Then came the rail along the stern and cockpit.  This had to go through all the same stages of stripping, sanding and coating, but since it looked like a hurricane blew through our cockpit it made it an almost hopeless attempt to reach the areas I needed.  Some things could be moved (again and again), but the stern rails were there to stay.  Work on this project has gone on all month and it still isn’t finished.  I think I will cry with joy the day these repairs (including the face-lift I’m giving it) are completed and we can put her in the water.

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