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  1. PAINTING THE BOATS

    “And like a girl, she needs some paint, to keep her looking pretty.”

    I will describe how I go about painting my own boats. I am sure there are other ways, but here’s what I’ve been doing. I realize this is time consuming and a bit costly, but the results have looked good and held up well.

    I use CLEAR PENETRATING EPOXY SEALER (made by Smith & Co.) to seal the plywood. I use OIL BASED ENAMELS because they are easy to work with, affordable, and durable. I like to brush paint on (mostly) and I use a GOOD QUALITY BRUSH for finish coats. I also use good quality masking tape.

    HULL INTERIOR & UNDERSIDE of DECK
    Seal with 2 coats of penetrating epoxy sealer
    Finish with 2 coats of gloss enamel (light color for visibility)

    EXTERIOR CLEAR FINISH
    Any parts you wish to finish clear should be done first, such as cabin sides, gunnels, or deck. (probably best to paint the deck)
    Stain if desired, allow to dry thoroughly
    Seal with 2 coats of penetrating epoxy sealer
    Finish with 3 coats of good quality varnish

    HULL & DECK EXTERIOR
    Stuff a rag or paper shop towels in the fin trunk slot to keep paint out.
    Seal with 2 coats of penetrating epoxy sealer
    Apply 2 coats of oil based wood primer/undercoat (to fill grain), allow
    to dry overnight.
    Sand with 220 grit paper and (probably) apply 2 more coats of primer
    to fill remaining grain & imperfections. Allow to dry, sand again.
    Repeat until the primer has built up a “foundation” which is as smooth
    as you want the final finish to be.
    Paint with the GOOD BRUSH and enamel of your chosen color(s)
    Paint the hull complete, sides and bottom. Allow dry time and
    sand between coats with 320 grit paper. Two coats minimum,
    3 coats better

    “BOTTOM” PAINT
    Set the boat in it’s stand on a flat table. Rock the boat fore & aft in the stand until the waterline (as seen on plans) at each end is equal height above the table.
    I like the “Bottom” paint to come about 3/8” higher than this actual float line.. This gives you a visible line to see when the boat is sailing. Cut a “stick” to match the height above the table of the desired paint line. Use this “measuring stick” and a pencil to make marks around the hull. Put masking tape in place (blue low tack type is best), cover entire topsides with newspaper & tape. Sand the bottom lightly with 320 grit, and paint with a SPRAY CAN (surprised?)
    Real boat’s bottoms are usually red oxide or blue or black. Choose a flat finish color that contrasts with your boat’s hull.

    DECORATIVE STRIPES
    Sheer stripes or boot top stripes can be added. Allow the hull enamel to dry very well (several days perhaps). Apply masking tape to form the stripe. Lightly sand the stripe area with 320 grit paper, then paint with the chosen color. Two or more coats may be needed. Allow dry time between coats, and allow the final coat to dry well (overnight) before removing the masking tape.

    SPARS
    Stain, if desired. (I like to darken them a bit) Allow to dry.
    Finish with 3 coats of varnish (I like a satin finish)

    ALUMINUM FIN & LEAD BULB
    Prime with Zinc Chromate Primer (spray can ok)
    Paint 2 coats enamel (I like to paint the fin & rudder a light gray color so that they don’t show terribly in sailing photos or videos).

    Lastly, (I’m NOT a believer) you might want to play it safe and consider local superstitions regarding choice of colors. I’ve heard that blue can bring bad luck, and green boats will always be slow.

    Cheers, Gary

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