Couple of things I learned the hard way...

Discussion in 'Boat Modification Journal' started by BKS72, Jan 20, 2008.

  1. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    East of KC
    I'm on the downhill (I hope:big_smile:) side of a pretty big overhaul of my Lowe 2060 riveted jon. I'm putting in new decks, changing it to a center console, and adding some storage. I'm using primarily wood for my decks and storage areas, mostly because I'm too cheap to buy the sheet aluminum and because I want kind of a retro look with plank flooring, etc. I'll post up some pix when I get a little further along, but a couple of things I learned that I thought I'd pass on. I'm not all that smart, so you guys probably know these already :eek:oooh:

    1. Plan - Plan what you're going to do and how you're going to do it. You're going to live with what you do to your boat for a long time (or spend a lot of time and money to fix it) so take the time to plan out and validate that what you're doing suits your boat and your style of fishing/boating.

    2. Budget - Shop around for your materials and price everything you can think of that you'll need before you even start. Foam, epoxy, fiberglass cloth, stainless hardware, rivets, aluminum, wood, etc. all cost money. Once you have a material list, add another 25% on top of that just to be safe. In my professional life we typically add 15% on a job for "contingency", but we also have software designed to help us price them:wink:

    Tools and consumable supplies - Depending on what you're doing, drill bits, sand paper, #2 phillips driver tips, abrasives for your grinder, measuring cups for epoxy, foam, and other 2 part coatings and chemicals (and yes, measure them. When it says 1 to 1 or whatever the mix ratio is, they mean it), paint thinner, paint, sealants, saw blades, all can add up quickly. Real quickly. Take those costs into consideration along with the materials you're actually putting into your boat.

    3. Materials - buy the best materials you can afford to do the job. And do some research to make sure they are suitable for what you're doing. If no one on the board has an answer on a product, the manufacturers website usually does. If not, their customer service department can usually help out. If you're not sure if something you're thinking about using will work, ASK! I've worn out several companies' customer service lines and bugged some people from the BOC (thanks Mark J.!!), but I've saved myself money, effort, and aggravation by buying the right stuff. After you've bought the materials, read the directions. Twice. And maybe look at them occasionally while you're using the material :big_smile:

    4. Working area - If you're painting, epoxying, foaming, anything that requires a certain ambient temperature, make sure you have at least that temperature in your work area while your working and for the full cure time of the product you're working with. Some products just cost you more money and/or time if you use them cold (foam doesn't expand as much, epoxy and fiberglass cure much slower) and some can turn into a real mess (paint).

    Make sure your area is big enough for what you want to do. Also consider that some of the things you may be working with are very unpleasant for innocent bystanders. The smell of fiberglass resin WILL infiltrate your house from an attached garage:sad2:

    5. Tools - The right tools make a job both easier and safer. Some things you just flat out can't do without the proper tools. Make sure you have access to tools you'll need when you need them.

    6. Keep your area and materials clean - I'm the worst at this, but I've learned that an hour or so of cleaning time saves me 3 or 4 hours of looking for things, ruining material, and just generally feeling like a project is getting out of control because I'm surrounded by a giant mess.

    7. Surface preparation - Follow the instructions and use common sense. You generally can't have something too clean before you paint it or finish it. Also, the shinier it is, the harder time your finish material will have sticking to it. Use the right materials. If it's bare aluminum and needs to be etched, then etch it or get self etching primer. If the can says to sand between coats, sand it. And then vacuum it and wipe it down to get the dust off before you put on your next coat of whatever it is.

    8. Fractions of an inch matter - If you want a nice, professional looking job, measure your material and cut it to fit. If you need 12 3/8, cut your material to 12 3/8, not 12 1/2 or 12 1/4. I know that's an obvious one, but I have a bad habit of rounding......

    9. Take your time - Take time to do the research on your materials, read the directions, and allow the time it needs to do it's thing. Take the time to think through what you're going to do and what has to follow it. An old boss of mine once told me he had a lot more respect for people who prevented problems instead of fixed them. Advice I've tried to live by.

    10. Have fun and learn something - If you're going to go to the trouble of taking on a big project, enjoy it. Have fun customizing YOUR boat to YOUR needs and when it's done, take pride in the fact that you learned how to use some tools and materials you'd never used before and everything came out OK. If you have kids of an appropriate age, let them help. My 8 year old is learning fractions from using wrenches and he loves using the orbital sander for some reason. I'm not going to worry about why he likes using the sander so much, I'm just grateful he's wanting to spend time with me AND saving me having to sand some stuff.

    Most of this stuff has ben posted before, I'm sure, but I happened to be thinking about it while I was pouring foam in my project and thought I'd take a break and post. The most important, thing, of course is to be safe. I can't think of anything I'd like to do to my boat that would be worth a finger or setting the garage on fire :smile2: Good Luck~


    FREESPOOL New Member

    Edwardsville, Illinois
    Keep your area and materials clean - I'm the worst at this, but I've learned that an hour or so of cleaning time saves me 3 or 4 hours of looking for things, ruining material, and just generally feeling like a project is getting out of control because I'm surrounded by a giant mess.

    I can't agree with this more. At work, or any project for that matter... I'll stop everything, right in the middle, and just clean it up! I can't stand working in a mess. About as soon as I trip over something, or can't find what I need.... Get out of my way, it's time to get the site under control.

  3. BKS72

    BKS72 New Member

    East of KC
    One other one I forgot to mention is DO NOT play air drums to "Master of Puppets" with the stick you just got done mixing foam with. All I'm gonna say is I'm glad I don't have much hair.....:eek:oooh:
  4. Big Dav

    Big Dav New Member

    Some good information that is often taken for granted or just over looked for various reasons.
    I need to spend several hours in the morning and take care of #6.
    I hate cleaning up during and after a project but it is an absolute must and make life much easier. You can spend hours looking for something that can be under something that should have been thrown away or put some where out of the way.
    To help with my organization. I have a couple of cheap plastic shelves and a plastic table for a work bench. The shelves and table are put away when I don't have a project under way. Keeps items from being placed on a shelf or bench that they don't belong and could easily be misplaced. I keep items together as I remove them, wither in plastic zip loc bags or plastic bowls like butter bowls. Makes life a lot easier when you start putting things back together after months of being apart.:embarassed::eek:oooh::smile2:

    Thanks for the useful post.