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Project Log:  Sunday, November 7, 2010

To begin, I sanded the newly-exposed area beneath the cockpit, where the fuel tank had been.  I cleaned up the rough tabbing edges and sanded the whole area clean to remove any remaining paint, dirt, etc.--you know the routine.

Sometimes, the only motivation for a given job is the thought that doing it means not having to do it tomorrow.  And so it was with the Treadmaster removal.  I felt I'd gone as far as I could using alternative means to remove the durable product, and now had to address the leftover adhesive and remnants of the Treadmaster.  I was rather looking forward to removing the final vestiges and moving on.  This meant lots of sanding; how long it would take, and how difficult it would be, remained to be seen, and I didn't know how far I'd get.

I'd not yet had time or motivation to arrange staging around the boat, in part because I wasn't yet sure how I wanted to best go about it, and in part because I'd been mainly focused on the interior of the boat so far.  Staging at a proper height would have made parts of the job easier to date, but I'd have to go on without it for the moment.

I decided to start sanding on the sidedecks, which were just narrow enough to be awkward to kneel in thanks to the deep bulwarks and high cabin trunk.  I could almost fit, but not quite.   This proved to be the most significant complicating factor in the day's sanding:  gaining enough leverage (i.e. weight pressure) on the sander to adequately cut the material.  Particularly at the aft ends of the sidedecks, where they were narrowest, shoulder room was minimal to the point that using two hands on the sander was nearly impossible, so I did most of the work one-handed until the decks widened sufficiently to allow a two-handed approach.

During an earlier test-removal run, I'd used my 4-1/2" angle grinder, equipped with a 36 grit angle flap disc, to remove some of the Treadmaster product.  I hated to use this powerful, difficult-to-control combination on any surface where a smooth appearance was desired, and fortunately the success of the power planer to remove the bulk of the material had obviated the need for the grinder in most places.

To remove the adhesive and remnants of Treadmaster, I chose my old standby right angle random orbit sander, aka DA, equipped with 40 grit discs.  This worked better than I'd anticipated, slowed mainly by my inability to use two hands on the tool.  Starting on the aft end of the starboard side, I worked my way forward to the foredeck, sanding off all the adhesive and whatever else remained on the deck surface.  Later sanding steps would take care of the sanding marks and remove any final tidbits of adhesive.

The starboard side went better than anticipated, so I moved right over to the port sidedeck and repeated the process.  Completing both sidedecks took about 75 minutes.


Pleased with the progress, spirits buoyed by the prospect of eventually being through with the Treadmaster forevermore, I pressed onwards and sanded the coachroof, eliminating the gray adhesive there.

The foredeck was where I'd had the least success with the planer.  Earlier in the week, my original set of blades had disintegrated while still working on the port foredeck, and the new set of cheap blades that I'd tried yesterday had accomplished nearly nothing.  So there was quite a bit of Treadmaster remaining, particularly in the center area and on the starboard side. 

Here, I used my angle grinder with the aggressive flap disc attachment to remove the bulk of the material, taking it down through most of the cork till the gray adhesive showed through, but being as careful as possible to avoid going further.  This was surprisingly time-consuming and difficult, and strained the tool to the point that I had to give it a break partway through to allow the smoking motor to cool off; I parked it on top of my box fan to provide a steady flow of air through the motor housing.

While I waited for the grinder to cool, I used the DA to sand the port side of the foredeck, and then the narrow raised center section.  By then, the grinder had cooled to the point that I could use it to pare down the remaining Treadmaster on the starboard side, after which I used the other tool to wrap up the adhesive removal there.


I was most pleased to be done with this task, which had frankly been more difficult than I'd imagined in even my worst-case scenarios.  I always knew it'd be an unpleasant job, but was surprised by the tenacity of the Treadmaster adhesive, whatever it was (it wasn't epoxy), and its resistance to removal through heating and scraping.

A small amount remained in the cockpit, with the forward section of the sole covered with it (about 12" x 48"), and two slim sections on the cockpit coamings.  I'd deal with these sections later, when I got to work on the cockpit.

I cleaned up the day's mess and departed, extremely happy with how well the day's work had gone, and how productive and satisfying it had been. 


The day's work also demarked (to me, at least) a turning point in the project, and the beginning of a new phase of work.  All the major unbuilding, demolition, and interior surface prep was complete, and the project would now continue in a related, but different, direction, with exterior surface prep, repair work, and the beginnings of new structure all to come in the (hopefully) near future.

Click here for a summary of Phase I.

Total Time Today:  4.25 hours

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