Reply To: A question regarding paint choice and timing
This was our first CLC project and we went with the Interlux brand – also recommended to us by another camper builder who has completed many CLC projects. We went with Interlux Brightside Sea Green for our bottom and Schooner Varnish for the rest of it. We went up the side about 1.5″ and one quart was more than enough. We used the matching primer and three coats of green paint. Lighter colors will require more coats. We ordered 4 quarts of varnish and have about 3/4 of a can leftover (but we also did 4 overall coats and some touch-ups).
Ditto StarMan on the rolling/tipping technique, but the hardest part for us was managing the temperature and humidity. Higher temps and humidity will make you work much, much faster. Read the instructions and trust the makers’ recommendations. Keep the work area around 60-70 degrees and as dust/dirt/bug free as possible. Wet sanding between coats can only do so much.
For sanding the epoxied fiberglass… absolutely take your time! The smoother (aka more consistent gray) the sanding job, the better your varnish finish will be. We spent a full 6 weeks sanding the entire shell with 220 grit on the orbital. Probably spent about $200 in sanding pads alone. It was a miserable experience, but the results are amazing – almost like glass reflection. Definitely use an attached shop-vac to the sander to help prevent pigtails when sanding the epoxy.
For abrasions, don’t rush to paint too easily. We thought for sure some areas were ruined by our carelessness before ‘glassing but were very surprised to find that the end varnish result will look almost identical to the ‘glass coatings (just a little brighter). We also had several instances of bubbling in the epoxy and fiberglass which we had to excise like blisters which are now invisible after patching and varnish. If you want an approximation of the finished result, wipe with a rag soaked with denatured alcohol. The few seconds it takes the alcohol to dry will look almost like the varnish.
Aside from CLC, Jamestown Distributors (www.jamestowndistributors.com) sells lots of paint choices. They have videos for how to apply the paint. Good prices, too.
If you’re looking for more of a walk through of the whole build, check out http://myclcteardropcamper.blogspot.com/. He posts on this forum as DivingDuck and became a personal friend and has helped us out tremendously with advice and build tricks.