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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4 Responses to “Feather Craft Vagabond Part Six: Our Shining Hour! Buffing, buffing, and more buffing!”


  1. September 20, 2010 at 10:58 am

    I commend you on your need to have perfection or at least as close as you can get it. It is looking great.

    • 2 conductorjonz
      September 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

      Thanks for the kind comments.

      Greg

      • June 14, 2014 at 5:53 pm

        Greg, a quick scan of your blog – but I couldn’t determine if you were able to calk the leaks and stop them completely. We are considering buying a feathercraft boat, has two leaks on the seams and needs calking. What calking worked best for you? Cindy PS trying to talk my husband into this boat.

      • 4 conductorjonz
        March 23, 2015 at 7:22 pm

        Oh yes! The West System G-flex is great stuff!


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