Archive for March, 2009

29
Mar
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Six: Our Shining Hour! Buffing, buffing, and more buffing!

There was a problem with my last post, so I deleted it and am now going to update things a bit.

The Feather Craft Vagabond has been buffed and the aluminum compounded using a big fluffy wool bonnet and 3M buffing compound. The results are below.

"Swirls" from the compound and polisher are evident in the photo.

"Swirls" from the compound and polisher are evident in the photo.

Here is a 3/4 shot from the stern.  The buffing is obvious.

Here is a 3/4 shot from the stern. The buffing is obvious.

The shine is giving hope that this vessel may look nice...with enough elbow grease.  Compare the look of the bow.

The shine is giving hope that this vessel may look nice...with enough elbow grease. Compare the look of the bow.

 
Never satisfied, I still found the numerous “battle scars” and scrapes unacceptable.  So I blew the whole thing up and started over.  Sanding is the only way to get rid of the bothersome areas I found to be problematic.

I started with 220 grit wet/dry sandpaper and worked up through 400, 600, 1200 grit.  This got rid of the “dimples”.  The problem is this, when aluminum has a scrape or gouge, it is not like wood as it does not just “crush” the fibers, but rather it either “stretches” the aluminum or “drags” the aluminum into a nice little lump at the end of the scrape.  This leaves the lump sticking out like a sore thumb after the polishing has been done.

What to do!?!?  Sand it down smooth and TRY to “feather” the scratches in to the good areas.

The photo shows the acid wash on the left and original buffing on the right.  Notice how cloudy it is?

The photo shows the acid wash on the left and original buffing on the right. Notice how cloudy it is?

After sanding the aluminum is smooth, but dull.  However many of the scrapes have been "feathered out" on this Feather Craft.

After sanding the aluminum is smooth, but dull. However many of the scrapes have been "feathered out" on this Feather Craft.

A few minutes with a Cyclo 5 Buffer and some fine buffing compound applied by way of a micro-fiber rag...PRESTO!  The Captains fat carcass is able to be seen!  Harumph...

A few minutes with a Cyclo 5 Buffer and some fine buffing compound applied by way of a micro-fiber rag...PRESTO! The Captain's fat carcass is able to be seen! Harumph...

Remember, whatever deficiencies there are left in the aluminum sheets need to be dealt with.  Once the aluminum is polished, those problem spots become mighty obvious!

The buffing will continue for the next week or so.  However I may stop buffing and begin work on another issue.  The caulking used between the aluminum sheets is cracked and failing.  A new West Systems G/Flex epoxy will be used with aluminum powder to recreate the look of the original caulking and seal all the seams below the water line.

I’ve never done this kind of work with epoxy, so we’ll see how it goes.

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23
Mar
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Five: In the buff…Part Duex…

The buffing continues…on and on…and on…

I am using the Nuvit Grade 9 coarse compound to get rid of most of the corrosion that has been laid upon this old vessel over the last 50-plus years.  Some of it is deep rooted.  Some is just not going to go away.  I am fairly certain that this boat had been left in the water at some point, thus causing permenant corrosion to the sides of the stern below the spray rail.

She also has many “beauty marks” and scars that may never be gotten rid of.  Some call it character. Some other things.  I just find it annoying…so I will try to minimize its appearance as much as possible.

That brings us to today’s work.  More buffing.

I decided to try out a 3M wool compounding bonnet.  Very chic..

I decided to try out a 3M wool compounding bonnet. Very chic..

 

 

 

 

After a little jig...off to the backyard to buff the boat.

After a little jig...off to the backyard to buff the boat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The bottom and side from the bow to two thirds of the way back to the stern is now compounded using coarse compound.

The bottom and side, from the bow to two thirds of the way back to the stern, is now compounded using coarse compound.In this photo, it is obvious how compounding the aluminum makes a difference.

Coumpounding the aluminum is done to get rid of the corrosion.  However if this were a new vessel, the aluminum would have to handled in much the same way straight from the mill before polishing.
A closer look at the aluminum.  You can see the swirls left behind by the coarse grit.

A closer look at the aluminum. You can see the swirls left behind by the coarse grit.

This side view show what a dramatic difference there is between the acid washed aluminum and the buffed and polished aluminum.

This side view show what a dramatic difference there is between the acid washed aluminum and the buffed and polished aluminum.

Finally a split view of the before and after fromthe bow-on perspective.

Finally a split view of the before and after fromthe bow-on perspective. Look at all those swirls in the aluminum!!

And that is where the 1955 Feather Craft sits today.  More buffing tomorrow, followed by a rainy forecast for Wednesday, and hopefully more buffing later in the week.

Thanks for checking in!

09
Mar
09

Feather Craft Vagabond Part Four: The work begins…

Today 3-9-09 the work began in earnest on the restoration of the 1955 Feathercraft Vagabond.  Saturday evening I had a little time to begin stripping off all the hardware and windshield.  The steering components and helm were removed to allow for easier access to the cockpit.

This afternoon, the plywood flooring was removed.  Oh the nasty things I found were many!  A wide assortment of nuts, bolts, screws, dirt, leaves, and general rubbish was lurking under the flooring.  The drain plug was put in the bilge and the garden hose unrolled to fill the boat for both cleaning, and to identify any leaks.

Leaks were minimal if any, dirt was plentiful.  I would swear a plow and horse were needed to break the sod up enough to wash it out the bilge drain

 

feather-craft-bilge1

The bilge filled with water to let the “debris field” drain.

In order to get a nice mirror shine on the hull, an acid cleaner must be used to clean and etch the aluminum to rid it of impurities and grime from the last 50 years.  The boat had been used for the original “stern-cell research” over the years.

I found the chemical 5  miles from my house at a place that supplies car washes and detailing shops with chemicals.  20 bucks well spent.  This stuff got rid of a lot of dirt and grime. 

feather-craft-boat-3-9-09-001

The boat has been cleansed with an “environmentally friendly” brightener.  For once something that is touted as not being harmful for the environment…WORKED!  The appearance of streaks is water that has not dried yet.

feather-craft-boat-3-9-09-0021

Again the streaks are water.  The hose is filling theboat to check for leaks and do a bit of tidying-up.

Next is the joy of using an angle grinder and wool bonnet to “compound” the aluminum before buffing and polishing.

All the hardware has been removed and will be cleaned and reconditioned before placing it back in the boat.  this included the bow light, stern light, all stern handles, the bow handles, and the windshield will be back dated to an older style dog-leg bracket style such as our Thompson TVT Lake has, but slightly larger.

A new steering wheel will replace the old one owing to the fact it was cracked beyond repair.  An original 1956/57 Johnson electric start control plate and solenoid box and Ship Master simplex control was bought at the local boat bone-yard.  This will match our 1956 RD 18 30 Hp outboard.

Next…out comes the buffing compound…so more to follow.

Greg