Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Boat Cleaning

Last year, we bought a tri-hull boat off Craigslist that was pretty cheap.  John and I took it apart to replace the floor and ended up replacing the whole bottom (minus the fiberglass hull).  It turned out really good, though it did take some time and money (it helps that John is incredibly handy with just about EVERYTHING).  Here are some photos of what it looked like, torn apart.  We replaced the balsa wood on the bottom, made new fiberglass stringers, put in a new floor, and redid the stern where the motor is mounted.
Here it is, all put back together.
Well, while it was apart, we had the top part of the boat hanging from a limb of one of our pine trees (we used a come-along and rope to hold up the heaviest part, then we were able to maneuver the rest into place).  Anyway, we didn't keep it covered with anything, so it ended up with pitch all over it.  I really should have tried getting rid of it last year, but I didn't.

Here's are some photos of all the pitch on the bow of the boat...not pretty.

So, I finally decided to look up ways to get rid of pine pitch from boats and several methods came up: paint thinner, lacquer thinner (which is much more expensive than paint thinner), and isopropyl alcohol.  I decided to start with one of the cheaper options...paint thinner.  We happen to have about 5 containers of it (I have no idea why), so I figured it would be a good place to start.

When we first got the boat out of storage, I had cleaned it up a bit using a paste of baking soda and water with a scrubbie (which worked nicely to make the top look white again).  Using the same scrubbie, I dumped some paint thinner on it and got to work on the pitch.  It took some scrubbing, but it softened it up enough I was able to get it off.  Just for fun, I decided to also try isopropyl alcohol (I used 70% Isopropyl Rubbing Alcohol), and what do you know, it worked even better!  So I finished up by using the alcohol.  I was surprised how much better it worked, but I won't argue with results!  I found that if I poured a little on the pitch and let it sit for about 30 seconds, it took almost zero scrubbing to get it off!  If anyone ever needs to get pine pitch off a fiberglass boat, USE ISOPROPYL ALCOHOL!!!  That made me feel accomplished. :)

And here's how it looks now...note: NO PITCH!  Now the boat will look nice when we go out on the lake. :)

I still have to make some cushions for the bow (the previous owner had replaced the front cushions with wood and a seat for fishing).  I bought the foam last year, now I just have to find some suitable marine vinyl.  But, we're not in a big hurry on that since it's surprisingly pretty comfortable without cushions.

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