Friday, January 28, 2011

The "Towel Trick"

As we ramp up to Valentine's Day, my staff and I have been working dilligently toward what is usually the busiest week of our year.

One project, which is normally quite difficult in January, is getting a boat painted - we always seem to play dodgeball with rain clouds.  But this year we've been enjoying really great weather, and this week, my "right-hand-man" Steve and I have had a different kind of problem: it's been too darn sunny here!

I'd love to do the painting indoors, in a more controlled environment,
but that's not always an option. 
Painting early in the morning would be great,
but schedule conflicts seem to conspire against it.
Awnings are great but you can't always put one up.

So this week we've been using the "towel trick". 

Arriving at the boat, Steve and I wipe down the boat with the same thinner we use with our paint (this cleans the surface of yesterday's coat and softens it up so the next coat will adhere better). 

Next we drape towels over the sides of the hull to get the sun off and help cool things down. 

If the surface needs extra time to cool down, Steve and I like to go for fish tacos, but that's not a crucial part of the recipe.

Once the towels have done their job, we mix the paint and tool-up for a spirited rolling-and-tipping session.

If conditions are really hot, or if the towels have left some dust or lint, we give another quick wipe-down with thinner, and then we begin our paint application.

We pull off a towel, one guy rolls the paint on, the other guy tips it out, moving quickly but carefully.

This is one of the techniques I used one summer morning in Lake Las Vegas. (see my post "How to Paint a Black Boat in the Nevada Desert in Summertime")

At the end of it we pack up the towels and look over our work.

This process works well for building up coats, or to do just one or two.

I've used sheets and blankets instead of towels, but I like towels because they're easy to work with and just the right size for the "yank and paint" approach we use.

I'm sure this isn't the first time anyone's thought of this, and there are probably other names for it, but in my operation we call it the "towel trick".


Tamás said...

Notice the traffic cone at the top.

Gondola Greg said...

Ahh, yes.
I tend to keep a traffic cone around in case I need to keep people from blocking me in by parking in the wrong place.