Friday, August 13, 2010
Raising my toxicity levels
There just doesn't seem to be too many jobs you do in a boatyard that don't involve some toxic chemical or another. The first couple days were spent grinding bottom paint, in some places up to seven layers of paint, only to end up with a sad multicolored hull that is no smoother than when I started. We really need to sandblast back to bare metal and start over, but that would require a bit more time and a lot more money than we had alloted for this job. Instead I took layer after layer of copper-laden paint off until I couldn't lift the grinder above shoulder level, nature has its way of telling you that you've done enough work for one day. The different color layers also provide entertainment for others in the yard, turning my white tyvek suit black and then finally blue so I resembled a giant smurf. Because toxic particulates aren't enough I later went around the hull several times wiping it down with paint thinner to remove the grinding dust, adding a good dose of strong vapors to my lungs. Today we made some forward progress, and applied a couple coats of primer. The primer is no slouch as far as killing brain cells, with a chlorinated rubber compound containing benzene and xylene. The primer does a nice job of bringing the hull back to one color, although the color leaves a bit to be desired. I'm thinking the black will be a welcome relief from her current orange color.