Why finish the bilge?

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Why finish the bilge?

Postby doug@dougbraun.com on Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:33 am


I'm waiting for my kit to be ready, and of course I've been reading the manual, this forum, and all the excellent blogs from other builders.
I'm wondering: what is the point of spending so much time sanding and finishing the bilge area? It seems to be the most tedious part of the
boat to finish, but I can't see any reason why everything below the floorboards couldn't be left unsanded and unpainted. It's not subjected to
wear or weathering, and nobody will notice it.

Is it really just an aesthetic issue? Are we worried that allowing a builder to be sloppy early in the build will lead to worse things later?
When I open the inspection ports on my Skerry and look inside the unfinished buoyancy chambers, I don't feel any sense of shame...

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Re: Why finish the bilge?

Postby Bflat on Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:13 am

Sanding the bilge was the most torturous part of the build, in my experience, but I did it. Fortunately, it comes early in the build and everything else seems pretty easy after that.

A tidy, smooth, painted surface is easier to keep clean. I think that's the main thing. The bilge gets lots of debris (gravity isn't just a good idea, it's the law :D). I also thought it could help sell the boat if that day ever comes. If a prospective buyer sees a clean tidy, bilge, it helps, especially with a home built boat. If I saw shortcuts taken in the bilge I'd assume other corners may have been cut.

Buoyancy chambers aren't conventionally painted, but bilges often are (special paint is even sold for bilges) So, convention may have something to do with it (it did with me).

Having said all that it probably does boil down to aesthetics - like you suggested. I'll be interested to hear what others think.

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