Sunday, April 25, 2010

Ten secret tips they don't tell you about boat painting

1. This is the most difficult challenge. Find several friends, competent at DIY, who have more free time than sense, and persuade them that they would enjoy long days of strenuous dirty work for little reward. Our paint job took 45 person days of labour over two weeks !!! Alternatives are:

a. Do loads of prep in the weeks before the official job starts
b. Pay someone else to paint the boat. Even at three or four times the DIY cost, they are not ripping you off.

2. This is the most vital appointment, needed in order to keep the team from rising up against the management. . Nominate a catering manager and allocate them a large proportion of the total project budget for tea, cake and biscuits and order refreshments at hourly intervals. Do not expect the catering manager to provide evening meals if they are also part of the prep /paint team. Allocate a further budget, approximately equal to the cost of the paint, to spend on booze and pub grub in the evenings.

3. Even though you should use a clean, well lit indoor wet dock like this

it also would be a good idea to cultivate friends in the met office to arrange for dry weather with stable, comfortable temperatures throughout. Alternatively choose to paint your boat in spring or early autumn to get the right conditions.

4. Make a plan at the start with a daily list of jobs and then because it never goes to plan, rewrite it each day until one day near the very end it actually does go according to plan.

5. Get lots of little envelopes. You will need these suitably labelled to store all the little fittings you unscrew from the boat.


We didn’t , and it cost us hours of trying to work out which screws went where at the end.

6. Allow hours and hours and hours for masking up. To calculate how much masking tape you need, multiply the length of the boat in feet by three, then buy that number of metres. We used nearly 150 metres of it! Buy the red plastic stuff. Expensive but worth it.

7. Work out the area of carpet in the average house, then bring along that much clean rags to wipe brushes, mop up spills, wash down the boat with white spirit etc. We got a roller towel roll from a car boot sale and it was just the job. Also buy loads of tack cloths. We used over 40.

8. Buy paint from somewhere that will take back unused tins and give a credit note. Paint goes further than it says on the tin.

9. Whenever you have a wet paintbrush after painting a large area, look around for something small to paint in the same colour. Maybe a locker lid handle, or a T stud. That way, all the little bits get done.

10. Andrew Denny of Granny Buttons likened our paintfest to an Amish barnraising. That leads us to our final tip. The Amish always leave a small fault in the symmetry of their patchwork quilts to show that only God is perfect. When painting your boat, always leave imperfections to show that only Phil Speight is perfect! That’s our excuse anyway.

Lastly, remember - putting on the paint is the easy bit. Preparation is all.

Tomorrow - signwriting secrets

2 comments:

VallyP said...

What good advice, Neil! I especially liked the tips about masking tape and envelopes. I really think you've done an amazing job. Incredibly well done.

Captain Ahab said...

I only just stumbled across this saga - and it took me right back to my DIY repaint of Wand'ring Bark three years ago. I did it in about six weeks of weekends out in the fresh air - the year is rained and rained - and was very pleased with the end result. It has lasted very well with thst the gunnels needing a further coat on account of the beating it takes.
I feel that you prepared better than me and your "with friend" approach looks a lot more sociable / fun.
Which paint did you use?