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Church of the Boat

There have been two major items on my agenda this weekend: work on organizing the bedroom, and rowing. scrottie and I spent Saturday morning on the first project and I am pleased with our progress. One of the two folding bookshelves I ordered showed up covered in mold, so I was only able to re-shelve about half of the things from the Gorm onto the non-moldy shelf, but it's progress. I also managed to fit S's deep wooden shelf into the closet, where it is helping to improve accessibility to various closet items. That part of the room isn't photo-ready just yet, but it's getting there. I gave the Gorm to S for more of his things because it's hard to do stuff if all of one's things are packed away too tightly.

With that stuff all pretty well situated, I headed down to the boathouse for the first of two workdays. One of the main agenda items is to repaint the boathouse, so Saturday was largely devoted to painting preparations. There were some interesting elements to the preparation. For one thing, due to its location, the boathouse periodically gets sketchy nighttime visitors who do things like climb up onto the roof or decorate it with graffiti. The City of Berkeley requires that the paddling/rowing club paint over any and all graffiti within a week, so the sides of the building that have been tagged more frequently have also been hastily repainted more frequently, and there's a fair amount of paint buildup.

In addition, it's an old building, apparently a temporary schoolbuilding that got repurposed, so the wood is showing its age, and the side that gets tagged the most is also the side that is most exposed to the sun.

Those of us who were equipped with various types of paint scrapers thought we were doing a reasonable job of stripping down some of the most weathered bits, but while doing so we also agreed that it was hard to know when to stop. After about two hours of this, the guy in charge (JD) said he thought we'd made good progress and could probably wrap things up soon. So almost everybody tidied up and took off shortly after 2 pm. Then JD got his hands on the pressure washer, which he'd previously handed off to someone else, and went back over the west wall:

Boathouse painting prep

A whole bunch of additional paint came off, and other sections loosened up due to the moisture from the washing to the point where it was possible to pull off large strips of paint with our bare hands. So I stuck around with the other two guys who had also lingered (=4 of us total) and we continued to scrape and peel. It's still hard to know where to stop. In a few spots, where the wood started to come off with the paint, I would take one of the scraping tools and clip off the paint strip so I wasn't removing any of the underlying wood.

JD says that he's thinking that next Saturday we'll finish out the prep work by going over things with an orbital sander, and then we will do some priming and caulking with painter's caulk. Hopefully that will get things into sufficiently good shape for a number of additional years. So much of painting is the prep work. Then we'll switch our focus to other tasks, such as replacing the dock.

The whole work party strongly reminded me of the church work parties I used to attend with my parents when I was a kid. That sort of physical work is a rewarding way to feel like I am giving back to a community that's important to me. S reminded me that a lot of bike co-op projects have been like that, too. Another benefit of going to help out was the chance to get to know the other rowers and paddlers better. Hopefully we'll see a few more people out on the water on weekday mornings.

On Sunday morning, I went back to the boathouse and went for a row with M in the Maas 2x. We would have tried out the club's Pocock 2x except we learned its riggers were broken. Regardless, the Maas was fun and M got me to do some work at a higher stroke rating, out of my zone of complacency. We aren't a perfect match but I think we'll be able to make things work and enjoy ourselves. Her schedule is on the crazy end of the spectrum, so we'll only manage to row together periodically. But those occasions should do good things for both of us.



( 3 remarks — Remark )
May. 2nd, 2016 02:12 am (UTC)
House painters and restorers spend a fairly large amount of time arguing about how to strip paint. A lot of them make fairly persuasive cases that pressure washers are a bad idea because they have too much pressure. They can strip chunks of wood out by splitting along the grain, and can force water into the wood, causing long-term rot.
On the other hand, most competing techniques have their own problems, some of them involving long-term damage to the people involved.
May. 2nd, 2016 04:28 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I think that no matter how you slice it, stripping paint is a tedious chore and there's no perfect method.

And I can see what you're saying with the problem with too much pressure. In the present case, I don't think the pressure washer was doing too much damage to the wood itself. Instead, the moisture was loosening up the paint and making it more flexible. In a couple of places I was able to see paint blisters only after the pressure washing, so I figure it's good to at least get those spots taken care of. Otherwise the paint kept peeling off just a little too easily.

Overall, I thought the heat gun method was pretty good, although I would want much better respiratory protection if I were to use it for longer periods, and it's also pretty slow going. I guess it all just depends on one's priorities. If it were my own house and a historic building, I'd be slow and careful.
May. 3rd, 2016 01:04 am (UTC)
Yeah, I stripped a house using a combination of heat gun and chemical paint stripper. Both were ugggh.
( 3 remarks — Remark )

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