V-Berth, Clothing Storage Shelf, Part 6: Painting the Shelf

The painted shelf
Having glued and screwed the mahogany fiddles to the clothing storage shelf for the V-berth of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25, it was now time for me to paint the shelf with two-part, polyurethane paint. I began with some necessary prep-work, which involved the taping of the fiddles to protect them from the paint.
I also made sure to tape the thin piece of mahogany (the edge of the fiddle) that was visible on the underside of the shelf.
For this job, I used Pitthane, a product of Pittsburgh Paints. I've discussed Pitthane and my techniques for mixing it and applying it in, "V-Berth, Aft Locker, Holding Tank, Part IV," so I will not reiterate those points here. I'll simply say that it is a good product and far more affordable than any two-part polyurethane that is marketed as "marine grade" paint.
Note the paint thinner in the above photograph. When I had used this paint in the past, the weather had been hot - 90 plus degrees Fahrenheit. When I did this particular job, the weather was chilly, at least by Charleston, South Carolina standards. It was hovering just above 50 degrees Fahrenheit (which is the lower limit for this paint). I was concerned that if I added any thinner to the paint, then the open time for the paint would be too long. This would mean that the drying time would be extended, and it could mean that the paint would not cure properly as the temperatures on this afternoon and evening dropped down into the 40s. Therefore, I opted not to add any thinner. This turned out to be a good decision. I still had an open time of about two hours, just as I did when I used the thinner in the hot weather.
On this first afternoon, I devoted quite a bit of time to the painting of each and every ventilation hole. This took me about an hour. When I was finished, I used the remaining paint for several other pieces of wood (for other Oystercatcher related projects) on which I was working concurrently.
The next day, I flipped the shelf over and applied the first coat of paint to the topside.
The day after that, I came back and mixed up another pot for the second coat.
I relied mostly on a roller for the painting of this shelf.
It was, however, necessary to "cut-in," as they say, with a brush prior to using the roller. With this two-part paint, the trick was to work quickly and accurately. I cut-in with the brush (next to the fiddles) and then swiftly passed over my brush strokes with the roller. If I waited too long (as little as a minute or two) to roll the brush marks, then the paint would not lie down as well as it should. Yes, this paint had a long open time in the pot, but once it was spread thin, it would start to change its consistency quite quickly.
Of course, I could have thinned the paint just a little, and then used the roll-and-tip method, whereby I could have lightly stroked (with the brush) the rolled surface, thus creating a smooth, mirror-like finish on the surface of the wood. This was not, however, what I was going for, since this was for the interior of the boat. I wanted the surface to have an orange-peel consistency, so that this glossy paint would possess more of a matte finish. In the picture below, you see that this is what I got.
The next day, I took the shelf out into the yard and sanded the underside, so as to remove the brush marks and small ridges of paint that stood out around the many holes that I had earlier painted. I used 40 grit paper for this job, the same grade of paper that I use for sanding mahogany and epoxy.
Back at the work table, I wiped away all of the sanding dust with a rag soaked in the thinner.
Then it was time to mix up yet another pot of paint. At this point, I was transitioning to another A-B paint kit, having used up the previous one. This was my third kit in the refitting of Oystercatcher.

Shortly after I finished rolling the first coat, I noticed that I had not done as good a job as I thought I had done in the sanding of the brush marks and ridges around each hole. To the touch, it felt as if I had removed all of those ridges. To the eye, however, now that this glossy paint was on top, it was obvious that I had not.
One more day, one more pot of paint.
The second coat helped to conceal many of the brush strokes and ridges around those holes. Was it annoying that I could still see some of them? Yes. Was it worth doing this job all over again just to get rid of them? Not at this point in the game, especially since this was the underside of the shelf, and especially since I had many more pressing projects that remained in the refitting of this boat. Often, to the casual observer, such imperfections go unnoticed unless the author or possessor of the imperfections draws attention to them. Thus, maybe I should stop talking about them, and move on to other things. Does that sound like a good thing to do?
This ends this posting on how I painted the clothing storage shelf for Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25. In the seventh and final posting, I describe how I stained and varnished the fiddles.

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