The family who chips together

…must own a steel boat.

If you’re a regular reader you know that I like to kvetch about the state of our boat.  Reference all previous posts for shining examples.

If you’re not a regular reader let me catch you up to speed: we live aboard a steel boat that is nearly 30 years old.  It wasn’t taken well taken care of for a few years. We are fixing it and, though everything that sits in the water is safe/repaired/rust free, our deck is rusty and we aren’t willing to pay someone to fix it when we can just as easily do it ourselves (read: we don’t want to spend the money).


Up to speed.

Early this spring, after we put the cart before the horse, we realized we needed some major repair work.

We talked to the Steel Guy in the marina.  He suggested the following:

  1. Chip off the rust to get back to bare steel.
  2. Ospho the chipped area.
  3. Prime over the Ospho.
  4. Fair over the primer.
  5. Prime over the fairing compound.
  6. Paint over the primed areas. Three coats.
  7. Cross fingers that all the rust was neutralized and we won’t have to do it again in the (near) future.

Easy peasy.

A few weeks later, figuring that there was no time like the present, we set about to chipping the rust with hammers and chisels.  Peter took the port side and I took the starboard side.  This makes it easy for one of us to point out where the other missed a spot; life would be boring without competition.

Just to be clear: we aren’t kidding ourselves.  The very best to way to get rid of rust is to remove everything that isn’t steel plate and sandblast down to bare metal.  We know that we are dealing with a problem that won’t go away through half measures and band-aids.  However, our boat is made of thicker steel than most boats (thanks, Canadian builders!) and most of it is rust from the outside in.  Eventually we will do the fancy sandblast thing.  Right now we are doing what we can with what we have.

I had had my doubts about the structural integrity of the decks and house due to the fact that there were quite a few (and quite large) rusty patches.  After hitting them as hard as I could with a hammer and chisel I have no more worries.  This baby is solid.

Rust expands a million percent* more than steel.  If rust appears on the surface of a steel boat it doesn’t mean that it’s a total ruin.  Don’t get me wrong; it may be a total ruin.  It’s just not guaranteed that it will be.  Luckily for us ours was all on the surface.

We have had a good deal of rust.

this is what i call a "good deal".
this is what I call a “good deal”.

We chipped it all off.

It took an afternoon.  Not long at all in the whole scheme of things.

This area concerned me. It’s where I gave the steel some really good whacks.
Don’t worry. It’s just a little rust around our sail track…
rust detritus…

*this is not an actual percentage.  I found information on it at one point and I am just too lazy to figure it out right now, thus my made up number.

10 thoughts on “The family who chips together

  1. Pingback: devilsteel

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