Tuesday, June 16, 2009

the point at which decal adhesive, razor blades, and dangerous inhalants intersect

I just finished a full weekend of difficult and dangerous work preparing my new boat for painting. Here's the overall hull-painting plan:

  1. Remove registration numbers and pin stripes.
  2. Wash hull.
  3. Prepare the chips for patching.
  4. Marine-Tex the chips.
  5. Sand.
  6. Mask off the parts not to be painted.
  7. Sand.
  8. Pray that one coat of Interlux Pre-Kote will be sufficient.
  9. Apply one coat of Interlux Pre-Kote.
  10. Sand.
  11. Apply first coat of Brightside paint.
  12. Sand.
  13. Apply final coat of Brightside paint.

I completed step 1 this past weekend and am so thrilled that it's done! Let me explain why it was such a big deal...

One of my quirks is my hatred of stickers, decals, and their accompanying adhesives. If I buy something that has a price tag or label on the item itself (rather than on the packaging), I simply cannot rest - or use the item - until the sticker itself and all trace of adhesive is gone. This might be the strongest of my quirks. I was not at all excited about the prospect of removing registration stickers, various permits and the like, as well as the pinstripes from the hull, but I knew that when the work was done I would be so blissfully happy and relieved.

I tried removing part of the pinstripes with a paint scraper/putty knife a few evenings before and decided that I would need something more serious. I reluctantly picked up a few razor blade scraper tools. I am terribly afraid of scary, sharp objects. Serial flailers and sharp objects don't mix well. The final ingredient in this ordeal was, of course, dangerous chemicals... those that can be fatal if inhaled and that sort of thing. I brought with me a quart of Interlux 202 Fiberglass Solvent Wash, two small tins of Goof-Off, and another larger can of some other random paint/adhesive remover. (Yes, some people have a well-stocked wine rack. I have a well-stocked selection of adhesive removers.)

I started with the registration numbers. There were very few of them that came up with just one swipe of the weaponry. Usually the clear layer came off in pieces, leaving the seriously-adhered gray-ish bottom layer that required all-out violence to remove. To keep things interesting, when I became frustrated with one side of the bow, I moved to the other side. I'm not sure why I thought this would be more interesting, as they were of course the same exact registration numbers on the other side. It actually wasn't so bad. The whole process had a sort of meditative quality about it.
Work in progress
After I removed the registration and permit decals, as well as [cough] bits and pieces of the previous paintjob [cough], I moved on to the pinstripes. First, let's have a little fun with the math:

LOA: 23' 6"
# of pinstripes: 5
# of sides on a boat: 2
total length of pinstripes to be removed: 235 feet (or, the distance between one football goal line and the 20 yard line at the other end of the field.)

235 feet
of pinstripes and the commensurate adhesive.... plus razor blades... plus toxic inhalants. This is the mathematical equation that equals torture, people.

Full-On Horror: a still life

Amazingly, I survived with all of my digits and the majority of my brain cells intact. The decals and the adhesive (and the aforementioned existing paintjob) didn't fare quite as well. It took tons of scrubbing and cleaning with the chemicals to get all of the adhesive goo removed from the hull, but I did it!


Oh yeah, and my manicure didn't fare very well either.

This manicure brought to you by the fine folks at Interlux....
and also the super-cool people at Lilly Industries, makers of Goo-Gone.

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