Recently we did a rather large paint job where the bubbles left by the roller refused to pop and the result was a very pock-marked finish that took a distressing amount of sanding to make smooth again.
Why did this happen? At first we weren’t sure, but now we feel the need to bring up two possible causes for paint-job disasters to be avoided.

Two things we learned are: The reactor (the smaller can) has a two year shelf life from date of manufacture. ptwatercraft.comWhile I’m sure I have successfully used paint that was older than that, if the reactor starts to thicken, don’t try to use it. There is a code on the bottom of the can, but you’ll have to call the phone # on the side of the can to get them to tell you what it means. Apparently Interlux will not provide the reactor separately.
The other thing we are learning is that over-thinning can also cause the bubbles not to pop. It seems like 15 percent thinner (as our book recommends) can be too much at times. We just did a large job thinned at 10 percent that came out amazingly well. While we have had excellent results in the past thinning up to 20 percent, that may have been an anomaly. We will update the Rolling Perfection book to discuss both of the above issues.

Using this paint with the roller only method can be relatively painless, satisfying, come out beautiful, and last forever. or, like any paint, it can all go wrong. There are so many factors that can influence a paint job. Our experience with this paint has been almost all positive, but one bad experience can be a wake-up call, especially for us, as we happen to sell a book on the subject.

Also, we haven’t used all the colors of Perfection and don’t know how that relates to handling and
We do know that clear Perfection seems to need to be tipped and we know that some colors cover much better than others: In the whites, Matterhorn, which is darker, covers much better than the whiter whites and Platinum, which is a very light grey, covers even better. With Matterhorn and Platinum it’s possible to do a two-coats only paint job.


painting with a respirator

Remember that besides a good respirator, good ventilation is very important. If working indoors, an exhaust fan is key. The fan should be in one end of the shop and an open door or large window at the other end. This paint doesn’t smell for long, but when it’s going off it’s very bad to be around. RB.RP-masthead-float-G32


Brian in Australia has completed his PT Skiff and I think there is much to consider about what he has done with his boat. After developing sensitivity to epoxy, he had to hire help to finish the boat and we tip our hat to his perseverance. Clearly Brian is a stickler for detail and he has maintained a clear vision for his skiff. He sent a detailed account of his choices for outfitting the boat and it is this account that I want to share.  I have put it together as  a PDF document (HERE) that you should be able to download or read online. It is filled with photos to compliment his notes.  If you are currently building a PT SKIFF, these notes will be informative. If you are thinking about building one, this should wet your appetite!  His boat is very impressive!

In addition, the following photos arrived with this 'Launch report"

My PT Skiff launch went extremely well today. Everything worked.
The photographs attached were taken during the initial 15 minute warm-up of the motor at the boat ramp at Adelaide Sailing Club. Whilst it looks very calm at the ramp (large breakwater), we ventured out into wind waves up to 1 metre in St Vincent’s Gulf. The wave fetch here is approximately 38 nautical miles from the other side of the gulf with the wind in a WSW direction. I have checked our weather website tonight and the wind was 11 knots gusting to 14 while we were doing stage 2 of the motor run-in (2000 to 3000 rpm).
The boat was lively. Whilst it is quite tender at the dock, once you understand that you can deal with it.
We went upwind for about 20 minutes. The boat was reminiscent of a lively sailboat. The boat was bouncing around a little into the wind waves, though it was dry. The boat was very pleasantly quiet even in the one metre waves. After flooding the water ballast tank, the boat was a little more stable, but did not show any significant loss of speed into the breeze.
Running downwind (again limited to 3000 rpm) the boat started surfing the waves. It was fun.
The first 1 hour of run-in is now complete and I can now use the boat at weekends without causing queuing problems at the ramp.


Many of you already know about EPOXY WORKS magazine, a FREE publication from Gougeon Brothers Inc, that is sent out twice a year. Issue #39 for this Fall of 2014 reviewed Russell’s EPOXY BASICS on the back cover!
Issue 39 of Epoxy Works

This is a huge bonus for us and many of you have proven that! We had such a run on books within days of the magazine landing in mailboxes, that I have been kept busy sending them out. I want to thank those of you who had to wait with faith and patience for your back ordered copies. THANK YOU!
So why did Gougeon Brothers do such a nice thing? All I can say is that we are thrilled. Our relationship with Gougeon Brothers/WEST SYSTEM, is based on our long history and trust of their products, through which a lasting friendship has emerged. Russell’s nearly constant work with epoxies over the last 40 years has given him many opportunities to try various brands. His livelihood has depended on very refined composite workmanship and building lightweight, tightly engineered parts and craft. Many experiments, challenges, and successful projects have lead him to trust in one epoxy in particular; WEST SYSTEM.

The Gougeon brothers have an fascinating history and the company maintains an expert team unafraid to ask questions of themselves and the products they represent. In the spirit of doing what is right, ( yes, they do carefully consider environmental impact), full time scientists continually test every imaginable epoxy related scenario and tweak their products to best serve their customers of many industries. Their loyal customer base depends not only on having the best physical properties and workability in their epoxy, but also on knowledgeable customer support. The full time tech support staff at WEST SYSTEM are, in that down-to-Earth, humble, mid-western way, generous with their knowledge. If they don't have an answer for you right away, they will find out, and get back to you, even if it takes lab testing.  All this greatly benefits the casual epoxy user as well.

Calling the company during business hours (phone #1-866-937-8797) will not reach an automated phone system.... Nope, a real person will answer and politely direct your call... I know... hard to imagine these days.. Can you tell we like these folks? I hope so. We have the highest respect for the people in the company and the principles on which they base the production of excellent products; integrity being far more important to them than fancy marketing. Working with the folks at Gougeon Brothers/WEST SYSTEM, is always a pleasure. Such person to person relationships, with friends, customers, and business associates, rank high on my list of things that make life meaningful.  For a well written article about the Gougeon brothers, see: GOUGEON. G-O-U-G-E-O-N GOUGEON by Dan Spurr in Professional Boatbuilder Magazine Issue #125, beginning on page 36. You can buy  the issue HERE: Also, coming soon in WOODEN BOAT MAGAZINE ; an article by Jim Brown called, "Catching Up With Meade Gougeon".


Growing Pains

Things have come a long way since we first started producing kits. We have put a lot of effort into making production more efficient and timely. The current kits contain parts that require less fitting and fiddling. We have refined the kit, and the manual.
One thing we have maintained is the stance that a really good nesting dinghy is a complex boat and the PT 11 is a really good nesting dinghy. In order to offer it as a kit that even an amateur can build, we have had to take the idea of ‘kit’ to a new level. Some have asked why  our kits are more expensive than the average kit boat of comparable size. Others who have bought and built our kits have said that we do not charge nearly enough.  Their praise has been high for the content, instructions, accuracy, attention to detail, and overall quality of the kit and resulting boat. While kits are not exactly flying out the door in mass quantities and we are not getting rich, we are not complaining. We stand by our custom products and personalized service, and we feel that we have a special family of PT11 and PT Skiff owners, who have expressed great pleasure in both building and using their boats.
-cutting apart and pre-routering gussets for the PT 11

Not all feedback is praise....

...given the fact that we have forgotten to pack a part on occasion. This featured comment, in all it’s sarcastic humor, is a prime example...

"I found a small glitch in your packing.  Nothing major: the installation of the dagger board cover calls for two washers (under the dogs, I think).  Without them the dogs are too low with the gasket in place....  Through an outrageous and abject failure in your quality control, none were included.  😉
I know I can source nylon washers locally, even though that will put me far over budget.  I thought I'd touch base and ask about specs: is there anything special other than serving as a spacer and friction control for these washers?  Are any of the dimensions particularly important?  Are you going to spank Russell? " J.W. June 2014.

On the flip side, builders take heed..

“man’s best friend” has been known to find kit parts to be yummy chew toys. Keeping parts in your crate with the lid on until needed keeps out both excess dust and curious ‘Fido’. I know it is nice to have company in the shop but there are lots of bite sized bits in our kits. We use a detailed packing list when filling the crates and if we checked it off, we put it in. (granted, sleep deprivation can interfere from time to time..) In most cases, we will replace lost pieces free of charge so do let us know if it just cannot be found..(along with a photo of your orderly shop space!...just kidding... 😉 Seriously though, there are a lot of small parts in our kits that need to be kept together in a safe container and we  know of at least one 5 axis shaped inner stem that was definitely lost to the shop dog.

Every time Russell has a boat to build, he seeks better ways of doing things. In this case, a simplified method for gluing the puzzle joints revealed itself. The manual for the PT 11 'Spear' has this section but earlier versions of the PT 11 nesting dinghy manuals have an earlier method. I have created a pdf file of the 7 page replacement for pages 7 through 14 in "Building the PT Eleven" for those who have an older version and have not yet begun to build their boat. This may also be interesting to anyone building a stitch and glue kit with puzzle joints. Click  HERE to download the .pdf file.  (533kb)

Fillet stick set now available. Arrives as 4 sticks connected. You separate them and bevel edges to end up with 8 sizes ranging from 1/2inch to 2 inches.
Fillet sticks ready for use

$10 + postage.  See our site for details.  We are including a chisel stick in our set since it is essential for clean filleting!
Using a chisel stick to clean up fillets

We are on the road to the east coast and somehow these photos did not upload right on the website so I am posting them here. When we get back I will be able to make such updates from the main computer. Here is the windshield photo and a photo of a hatch with the watertight gasket and custom machined turn-dogs installed. These photos relate to the kit details page linked from the PT Skiff page of the website (or click on the photo here in) and are options available in addition to the base kit. Thank you for your patience! Best to all, Ashlyn & Russell.

Plexiglass windshield with adjustable height on a welded stainless bar.
Plexiglass windshield with adjustable height on a welded stainless bar.
Installed watertight hatch
Installed watertight hatch