Friday, November 11, 2011

My Favorite Bottom Cleaning Tools

The Chesapeake is kind of a unique environment...  warm water, not quite enough fresh water dilution to be called "brackish", but then not that far from it either.  It's an environment that grows things very well (well I know - we kept our boat Deja Vu III there for several years).  Drew over at Sail Delmarva takes us on a tour of the tools he uses there in the Chesapeake to keep the critters off his hull...
My last paint job, I used Micron 66. It lasted 2 years, in spite of dire warnings that it would peel in brackish water.. It didn't. I spoke with the factory and they repeated the tale, but I spoke with a rep at the boat show in Annapolis and he explained that it was winter haul-outs that caused the trouble. He also said that if you use the bottom paint up, running for 2 years and sand a little before repainting, it's all gone and that reduces the trouble. I used Micron Extra this time, which I've used before but found slightly less effective. I'm going back to Micron 66 next time, unless the new Micron 77 is out, which is brackish compatible. But this is all off-topic.

I do end up scrubbing 2-3 times before I consider paint spent. You need a scraper that...
  • gives leverage for hard growth and enough handle for 2 hands
  • is soft enough not the remove paint
  • floats

Mine is made from 1/8-inch polyethylene sheet and closet rod split with a saw kerf. A screw secures the blade. My first version used a Home Depot plastic paint scraper with the handles removed, which was OK but perhaps a bit too aggressive. The polyethylene sheet is better. I use the same scraper to clean off my spiffy new Manson anchor; there's just enough handle and it stashes easily in one of the winch handle holders on the bow. I keep a few on the boat, in case I can get helpers.

The best pads for removing soft growth are...
  • easy to hold
  • self-cleaning
  • have enough loops to pull off small barnacles
  • don't remove soft paint

Mine are berber carpet squares. Not pile carpet--that will just smear things around--you need the irregular loop pattern. I got the idea from a professional hull cleaner, and I like them far better than the 3M pads generally recommended. They work very well in combination with Atlas Fit gloves, which keep them from sliding out of your hand.

And they are free.

1 comment:

  1. One of the best ways to keep your garage tools protected is to learn the best way to clean them when they get dirty. Cleaning tools are what you use for any cleaning chore that you undertake.


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