Last update: 04 Jan 08

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Hull Preparation

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  After receiving your hull, you need to unpack and inspect it for shipping damage.  Any damage should be immediately reported to the hull manufacturer.   Not only will this notify them, but they can help you with filling any claims with the shipper, if needed.

  During the initial inspection, you may notice that the hull may not have a "contestant" beam.  Meaning that the point where the deck attaches may "bow" in or out as you move down the length of the hull.  This is normal.  When you attach your deck support strips and cross braces, this will "push out" or "draw in" the hull to achieve the proper beam.  This will also prepare the hull for the attachment of the deck. 

  In most cases commercial hulls are manufactured using a white gel-coat.  Small defects such as scratches or voids may be harder to identify in direct light on white gel-coat.  There are two tricks I use when finding defects on white gel-coat.  The first one is do not use direct light.  Direct light fills the void and the area surrounding the void with light, making the void harder to see.  Because of the direct light, the void blends into the surrounding area.  When using light to locate defects, use a light that shines upward onto the hull from below your eye level.  This causes the defect to cast shadows on the hull.  Place the hull in a dimly light room and inspect it with a flashlight.   The second trick is to use your fingers.  Rub your hull, feeling the gel-coat.  Although a defect may look small, it will feel bigger.  If left, that same defect will seem much bigger when your hull is painted and sitting in front of your friends on display.
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  Scratches, cracks and other defects in the gel-coat or fiberglass can be easily repaired.   First take a file or a Dremel tool bit and widen the defect.  Not only do you want to widen the defect, but you want to remove any loose material.  Now clean the defect and ensure no loose material remains.  Next add your polyester glazing putty (I use Bondo), sand and reapply if needed. 

  If you plan to attach anything to your hull by means of "gluing" (this means the use of any type of glue i.e.. CA, epoxy etc.) you must clean the area where the glue is to be applied.  Because this also includes the application of paint, the entire hull is recommended to be toughly cleaned.  During the manufacturing process waxes and release agents were used to help release the fiberglass hull from the mold, plus they are also need for the interior to cure properly.  These same products that aide the manufacture will prevent paint or glue from forming a strong attachment to your hull.  

  For areas inside the hull where you are going to attach "structural" items like the deck, deck beams, stern tubes, motor mounts, A frames etc. I recommend that you "rough up" the area on the inside of the hull with at least 80 grit sand paper.  This includes the use of epoxy, CA or Bondo type fillers.  For areas outside the hull that you want to attach detail items I would recommend you first rough up the area with 320 grit sand paper.  Try to limit the area that you rough up to the area where you plan to apply your adhesive.  For areas on the outside that you intend to paint, I recommend you use 400 grit.  I tend to wet sand the outside of the hull with 400 grit.  This removes any leftover wax, dirt, or finger prints and leaves me with a smooth finish that is rough enough to provide good adhesion for the paint.

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