As reported earlier, we first tried a notched trowel with our epoxy and phenolic microballoon fairing compound. However, it turned out that the hull was already smooth enough (Courtney's devoted sanding, heh) that the ridges were pretty much unnecessary. To see how the port side of the hull looks with a first application of fairing compound using a flat blade, take a look at the first pic.
The starboard side is a little further along. About 1/3 of that side got the ridged trowel treatment, before we decided it was unnecessary; the rest got the flat spatula. Then we sanded, using power sanders on the really high bits, followed by longboards. The longboards, which we made out of multiple layers of flexible plastic, conform to the hull's curves and sand down the high spots.
The second picture shows some bare wood (whitish), longboarded fairing compound (light pink), and a second layer of fairing compound (darker areas) applied to the low spots. The starboard side will be finished very shortly - we just have to longboard the second layer, which should go very quickly.
Finally, although it's in reverse order, I thought I'd show the effects of the ridged trowel. This close-up shows the ridges, sanded down and filled in with the second application of fairing compound. Again, smoothing this part with the longboard should go quite quickly.
Good thing, too - they're really tiring! Folks don't call them "tortureboards" for nothing... but at least Tara should be able to make it out next weekend, so she can experience a little of the fun that is fairing. Oh yeah, if you're playing along at home, here's what we've learned:
- the ridged trowel thing might not be necessary if your hull is already very smooth;
- if you use a ridged trowel, you want pretty low ridges (maybe 3-4 mm?);
- make the ridges all run parallel to the floor - it doesn't make a difference when you're applying the first layer, but it does when you go to apply the second, because you can apply it across the ridges easily and it won't sag down the grooves.