After the fibreglassing is the process of applying and sanding a coat of Qcell. Qcell is a micro balloon glass bubble filler that is mixed with epoxy resin. It’s so fine that in its dry form it runs like water, and takes on the look and consistency of meringue mixture when mixed with the resin. Its applied with a plasterers finishing trowel. Fortunately we have previous experience with rendering a granny unit we once built, so it did not take long to master the technique. Some builders employ a professional house renderer to do the job as the technique is exactly the same.
Qcell has marvelous sanding qualities, and its purpose in this application is to provide a smooth surface for painting. Without it the various layers of fiberglass weave would be visible on the finished surface.
After the Qcell had cured the sanding commenced. First we used the Festool Rotex orbital sander. With its accompanying vacuum cleaner this piece of kit was the most expensive tool we have purchased so far, but proved its worth. We had been advised by experienced builders not to purchase a hardware store sander, as they generally don’t last the distance. We were glad we did. It performed superbly and with a little practice we found we could obtain an almost perfect “fair” helping to reduce the amount of time on the dreaded torture board. Deb hand sanded the details the big sander couldn’t reach.
After the orbital sander Pete built a torture board and ran it over the hull. It’s the most physical process of the build, so he was relieved that very little needed to be done, although almost certainly there will be more after the high build undercoat layers are applied, and shallow hollows or high bits become more visible to the naked eye.
It was a milestone moment for us when we finished sanding. The completion of each big job is a cause for celebration, and we feel incredibly blessed to be doing the project together and, after hearing about a few horror stories, find ourselves enjoying the process of building something beautiful with our own hands.
This weekend we enjoyed exploring the local area. A few kilometres from where we are currently living is Port Sorell, and we went for a walk out to the entrance this afternoon. It was a wild and windy day as yet another stong westerly front tore down Bass Strait. Apparently of an evening fairy penguins come ashore here, so we intend to return when the weather is a little warmer. Small bush wallabies are prolific and we saw a few: impossibly cute, warming themselves in the dappled sunlight amongst the foreshore scrub. We also interrupted a brown snake as it was sunning itself along the walking track. We kept our eyes glued to the ground after that!