Monday, July 25, 2011

Tara's Booty

We have been taking it easier this  this summer, much more so then any summer since the boats came into our lives. Part of it is that we just cannot keep the kind of pace we had going, where we would drive two hours to spend the weekend working on Me Voy, then come back to Tara and do something stupid like install a new plywood deck. Cheesh, who are these people in our archives?

We do, however,  recognize the danger of slacking off too much. Its very easy to loose momentum, and get behind on maintenance or loose focus and never finish what we started.  As history would have it, we have both started ambitious projects in the past, only to never see them through to completion. That is not an option for us with these boats, but it is something we are both aware of.

One of my recent  projects was the transom on Tara. There was nothing wrong with it in terms of rot or damage, it was just ugly. And the reason it was ugly was entirely my fault.

It began with temporarily painting the name on the transom. By temporarily I mean I thought I was going to be able to sand it off without going thru the varnish. I would then slap a coat or two of varnish and everything would be beautiful. Ooops. What I didn't take into account was the small detail of our transom being stained. That meant when I sanded the letters off, I inevitably went through to the wood below, and left two giant spots of unstained wood where the letters were. Oooops. Ok my options were to sand everything, re-stain and re-varnish, or try to match the stain and move on with life. I chose the latter, but long story short, it was impossible to match exactly the shade of red mahogany. Can you see the darker spots on the transom in the picture? Well they just kept getting worse,  and  I just couldn't live with that. So I decided I was going to start from scratch and do it right. Btw, if you are thinking of temporary letters on your boat, for God's sake use masking tape, or stickers, don't paint it on!

I've already written about Citrus Strip and how much I like it, but this was going to be a real good test for  this miracle striper. I was about to take off six layers of Epifanes varnish.

I wasn't real impressed after the first application. Only some sections of the transom began to bubble up. I scraped those off, and applied more Citrus Strip.

The second application worked much better. Almost all of the varnish was bubbling up. I applied Citrus Strip to the stubborn areas and waited. This stuff works really fast.After ten minutes I was ready to scrape off the stripper.

Here again I have to say, I love this stuff. Notice the orange gloves that I'm not using? Don't need them! Other then a rather itchy smell, this stuff doesn't burn the skin like most other strippers. 

After a few hours I was done with the stripping and sanding. There is no way I would be finished so quickly if it wasn't for the Citrus Strip. 

Travis helped me stain and brush the first coat of very Epifanes. We thinned this first coat liberally to let it really soak into the wood.

I'm spraying the remaining coats, one every morning, or every other morning. The beauty of Epifanes is that it requires no sanding in between coats if reapplied within 72 hrs. This saves a lot of time, and energy, as does spraying. Previously it took me about 3 hrs to brush a coat  on the transom, as opposed to fifteen minutes of spraying, and fifteen minutes of cleaning the gun. That's a huge difference!  Plus, the compressor makes a lot of noise and creates a very festive atmosphere. I really do like using loud tools. Must be a girl thing.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Summer Daze

While the heat bakes outside, we hide out in our air conditioned floating bubble.

Still here.  Still hot outside. In preparation for this heatwave, we made plans to go on "vacation". I put that in quotes because truth be told, between my freelance art job, and Travis' self imposed  boat work schedule, we are already living a life with minimal schedules and obligations. Most days already feel like a vacation, as we don't have alarm clocks that jarr us awake, or much job stress.  These last few years, however, have been so much about persevering through this boat restoration, that now, as our to-do lists grow shorter and the light at the end of the tunnel shines brighter, we feel the need to step back and see clearly where we have come  and where we are going. In other words,  time to relax and dream again.

And so began our retreat from the heat. Four days of  no obligations greater then taking the dog for a walk. Four days of air conditioned comfort aboard our lovely Tara, made soo cush by Travis who has been diligently working on both boats dealing with things like oil in the water of Mr. Perkins, new wiring for Tara's AC, and a stubborn mercury switch for the new-to-us oven  in the new-to-us galley in Me Voy. Four days of writing, re-writng and editing our continued quest for a simple and self sustaining life. Four days of talking about things we want,  and things we don't want. Four days of watching mindless movies just for fun, four days of afternoon meditation and four days of a clothing optional existence (except for the dog walking). Yup, a vacation at home is just what we needed. I have not yet processed all that we are coming up with, but in the meatime  here is our life.. for now.

I'm refinishing Tara's transom. I've learned from last years experience and decided to spray the varnish. This makes a four hour job into a half hour job. 
My mom and dad came to hang out with us last weekend
Judging from the arrangement of his glasses, this is where I get my 'creative'  from
We moved our kitchen from below deck to the upstairs deck.   I love cooking outside! And I love it even more when Travis cooks outside!
We LOVE our community garden and strongly support urban gardening efforts.
Now that summer is here our garden is producing quite spectacularily again! This made a wonderful and fresh salsa.

Chopper is unconcerned about the future. He trusts us completely to take care of him.