Thursday, January 3, 2008

And there goes another week

The week started out with a bunch of waiting on a wash water tank. I need the tank in order to alter the frame. I am afraid to do anything without having the actual tank on hand. I also have been waiting on frame paint. Instead of waiting, I chose to work on future projects. The first thing I worked on was cutting out the new sub floor. I am using a 18-mm marine plywood called aquatek.

This stuff is not cheap at $125 a sheet, but the thickness is uniform, it is flat, and most of all it is light. I purchases a few sheets of birch plywood for an up coming job and was surprised at the difference in weight between the two.

I joined the two original halves and traced the pattern out. Some of it was missing, but by flipping it over I was able to fill in the missing elements. I did the same with the next sheet that goes behind the wheel wells.

Soon I will seal the ends to prevent moisture from being wicked up in the ends of the sheet. Because this is marine plywood, sealing the ends is an unnecessary step, but I will do it any how. Sub floor is done and ready to install.

The last day has been devoted to working on the tub. I mounted a 1/4" board to the back side of the front, just like the original, except it does not have the cut out for the register. Please note that cool aqua color of the tub, that color is a keeper.

I cut two layers of chopped fiber mat to fit in the opening...

Mixed up some polyester resin and filled it in.

The next step was to sand out all the cracks in the original gel coat. The surface looks like a ming vase.

Though these photos do not show it clearly, the color has faded quite a lot except for under the aluminum ring. I sanded for a long time, then I sanded twice as long as that.


I used a high solids urethane primer made by PPG. It is a primer that gets mixed 5:1 with a cataylist. I sprayed it on with my cup gun. After an hour I filled the fine lines and pits with spot glaze. I waited for that to dry and sanded it all with 320 sand paper. I followed up with a second coat of primer.

I will wait until the morning then sand it all again with 320 grit. I will then be using another PPG system for the top coat. It is a urethane paint that is mixed 4:1 with a hardner. This is the same type of paint used on auto bumpers and other plastic parts. It remains flexible after it hardens so that it will hold onto the fiberglass. I have to thank Colin Hyde for sending me in the right direction as to what materials I needed. Being nice to Joe and John at the auto body supply house helped in getting personal service and a near perfect color match even though I have nothing to do with the auto body trade. The new color is a little brighter, but is very much in keeping with the original.

1 comment:

David said...

Frank-

I am the guy you met late-nite at BWI on Monday.

Cool stuff! You should be linking to other Airstream blogs AND other cabinet maker blogs, man. Good intersection of interests.

Thanks for telling me about it!

-David Hobby
Strobist.com