Lazarette Modifications, Part 14: Gluing Up the Battery Box Shelf and Final Painting

The battery box shelf, glued-up and painted
The end was now in site for this lengthy project concerning the modifications to the lazarette of Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25. Having painted a portion of the lazarette and having installed the cleats for the battery box shelf, it was now time for me to install the battery box shelf itself and to finish painting the parts that remained in this space.
For the painting of this space, I decided it would be good to do it in two separate stages. In the first stage I would paint the bilge area, since this would be difficult to paint after I had installed the shelf. I began, as always, by scrubbing the area with TSP (trisodium phosphate) and warm water.
Afterwards, I rinsed the area several times with fresh water.
To remove any dust or residue that might remain, I wiped the area with the proprietary thinner / solvent for the Pitthane paint that I would use.
I've discussed this two-part polyurethane paint many times before.
I did not apply the Pitthane in the bilge at the aft end of the cleats. This was an area that I had ground a long time before now in the expectation that I would be applying biaxial cloth to this area at the same time that I glued up the cleats. At that time, I was not quite sure where exactly I would install the cleats, so I used the angle grinder over the entire area. Now, it was starting to bother me that this would be the only area that would not be receiving any cloth. The grinding, of course, removed some of the original woven roving cloth. Biaxial cloth would make up for the loss, and probably make the area stronger than it was before.
While I was painting that bilge area, I put the left-over paint to good use by applying it to the area underneath the galley sink and icebox.
It was in this space that I planned to store new trash bags and other such items, so I thought it would be good to have it nice and bright. In the picture below you see two conduits for the electrical system. The wad of duct tape is covering the copper fitting for the drain for the icebox. I did not want to get paint on the copper. I really should not have been concerned about this, because I did not plan to install a hose on this copper fitting, since I did not plan to use the icebox for anything other than dry goods. In place of the icebox I would use a Yeti brand cooler that I would store in the main salon.
Anticipating that I would have left-over paint, I had taped the conduits in the space between the bulkhead and the icebox.

The next day, after the paint had cured, I broke out the 12 ounce biaxial cloth.
I cut two small pieces for each side.
Then I cut two L-shaped pieces that I would drape over the smaller ones.
After this, I got to work mixing the epoxy.
Just as always, I began by wetting the work area with neat epoxy.
Then I laid down the cloth, one layer at a time, thoroughly wetting each layer as I went.
When I was finished with the wet-out, I took a picture through the hatch in the cockpit. Due to the reflection of the light it was easy to see the weave of the cloth. This shows you why it is necessary to go back and apply thickened epoxy to the cloth. Without it, the weave will remain unfilled.
Mix, mix, mix . . . here I was, at it again.
Clearly the thickened epoxy made a big difference. As I've said elsewhere, it not only provides additional strength, but also it makes it much easier to sand.
Two days later, after the epoxy had cured, I returned to the boat with my Rockwell Sonicrafter oscillating tool with the sanding head attached.
It was annoying having to halt my progress and do this additional epoxy work in this part of the lazarette. In the end, however, I was glad that I had done it. Now I could rest assured that the hull was just as strong here as it was everywhere else.
After I had vacuumed all the dust, I wiped down the entire area once again with the proprietary thinner / solvent.
I painted the patched area at the same time that I applied the second coat to the areas that I had just painted several days beforehand. I would apply a second coat to the patched area when I painted the battery shelf.
Now it was time to focus on the permanent installation of the shelf.
I cut two layers of 12 ounce biaxial for each side.
Afterwards, I did a dry-fit of the cloth, just to make sure that it fit into the space.
The large piece would overlap the smaller one, as always.
Satisfied with the dry-fit, I got to work with the epoxy, mixing up 3 ounces for the wet-out.
First I wet the hull.
Then I wet the underside of the battery box shelf.
Now it was time for some thickened epoxy. I started by mixing up a 6 ounce pot and thickening it to the consistency of peanut butter with colloidal silica.
This 6 ounce pot was only sufficient for one side, so I had to mix up another one to cover both cleats sufficiently.
Onto the cleats I laid the shelf, and soon thereafter I installed the stainless steel screws in the holes that I had pre-drilled.
With the thickened epoxy that remained, I laid down a fillet on each side of the shelf.
The fillets would provide strength, and they would allow a smooth transition for the cloth from the shelf to the hull.
With this out of the way, I began to focus on the lay-up of the cloth. I began by mixing up 6 more ounces of epoxy. Some of this I applied to the hull.
Most of it, however, went toward the wetting-out of the layers of biaxial cloth.
As I've said elsewhere, biaxial cloth is like a thirsty sponge.
A couple of hours after I had finished the wet-out of the cloth, I returned to the boat and mixed up 6 more ounces of epoxy. This I thickened to the consistency of ketchup.
I used this thickened epoxy to fill the weave of the cloth.
Two days later, after the epoxy had cured, I sanded the area, cleaned it up, and made ready to paint it with the Pitthane.
The first coat.
In preparation for applying the second coat, I as always lightly sanded the surface with 320 grit paper. This removed imperfections and provided some tooth for the second coat.
Then I mixed up my final cup of Pitthane. This was the last thing I had to paint in the refitting of this boat, and fortunately I had just enough Pitthane left for this second coat.
This lazarette had gone through a big transformation, and this white paint was as much a sign as anything else that things were now completely different. Now the only task that remained was to permanently install the two hatches that I had earlier temporarily installed in the cockpit and the cockpit locker.
This ends this posting on how I glued-up the battery box shelf and completed the painting of the lazarette in Oystercatcher, my Ericson 25.


  1. Roscoe, keep it up, your project and meticulous work are inspiring. Hope to see Oyster Catcher in the water soon. Dale