FIG. 2: Grind
away the broken dome of
FIG. 3: Scrub
clean with a
ILLUSTRATIONS: ©2013 MIRTO ART STUDIO
Loose debris is one enemy, so scrub the pre-
KNOW YOUR ENEMIES
pared blisters squeaky clean with a stiff brush
and plenty of water (FIGURE 3). Another
enemy is moisture. If you’ve waited to do the
job after hauling the boat for the off-season,
this is where to stop. By waiting to fill the
blisters right before you launch next season,
you take maximum advantage of the poten-
tial for the exposed laminate to dry out. But
if the boat isn’t going to stay out of the water,
you’ll need to dry the laminate before filling
the blisters. Grinding will remove much of
the wettest material. Blot-wiping each cavity
with isopropyl alcohol-soaked paper towels
will draw out much of the remaining mois-
ture. Completely wet the laminate with rub-
bing alcohol, then wipe away contaminants
it brings up. Repeat with soaked, fresh paper
towels until they come away clean.
Normally this will leave the cavity both
clean enough and dry enough to fill, but you
can check for moisture content by taping
squares cut from zipper freezer bags over a
few of the blisters. Seal the entire perimeter
of the clear plastic squares to the hull with
duct tape, and then take a three-day break.
If the weather is warm enough for a sensible
person to be working on a boat and there’s
still moisture in the laminate, it will con-
dense onto the inside of the clear plastic.
In the likely event that the plastic is dry,
you’re good to go. If it’s fully coated with
condensation, your repair will benefit from
expanding the perimeter. Open any separate
voids your sounding discovered and treat
these the same way as a blister, dishing them
into shallow depressions.
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