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Project Log:  Saturday, January 22, 2011

The bonding surfaces atop the raised fiberglass bulwarks required a bit of work before I could reinstall the caprails in the near future.  At a minimum, these surfaces needed to be cleaned of any remnants of old, desiccated sealant; in several other areas, minor repair and filling was required where old filler had peeled away when I removed the caprails.

To begin, I used locking pliers to remove a few studs that remained from some of the lifeline stanchions.  Dedicated readers may recall that I'd needed to take extra steps to remove the caprails from around these fasteners, which were forever frozen in place, locked tightly to their hidden aluminum backing plates.  Now, these few random studs remained above the top of the bulwark and had to go.

I managed to actually unscrew one of the studs with the pliers, but the other three or four were so corroded in place that they simply broke off flush.  I planned to slightly reposition the stanchion bases as needed so that I could drive new fasteners next to these old, now permanent, ones, so I made no attempt to remove the remaining flush bits of the old fasteners.

I scraped away the bulk of old sealant and other debris, and with some effort removed most of the thick bead of sealant that had filled the gap between the cockpit coamings and the wooden caprails at the stern.  Then, I sanded all the bonding surfaces to remove additional sealant remains and clean up the fiberglass.



After cleaning up and an acetone wash, I applied epoxy fairing material as needed to clean up and level the tops of the bulwarks.  A significant amount of the original material remained in place, but particularly on the port side, there were several areas where chunks of the old material had come out along with the caprails, all in areas where that fiberglass tape had been included in the installation.  I filled these areas as needed so that there'd be a flat, generally smooth bonding surface for the caprails. 



Continuing down the road towards caprail re-installation, I sanded and revarnished the bottom surfaces of all the caprail sections.  I was planning on about four coats total for the bottom sides, and one more coat on the tops and edges before installation.

These photos show the bottom sides of the caprails.


Total Time Today:  2.5 hours

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