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Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 12:16pm

Post Subject: Re blacking

Hello I have just bought my first narrowboat and wish to spruce her up abit.She was last blacked about 14 months ago but I would like to refurb her, along with fitting some new anodes. My question is simple really, is there any product that you would fully recommend for its durability and toughness, and is this a job that can be done by a novice.


Posted: Wed Jan 05, 2011 1:05pm

Post Subject: Re blacking

First of all I doubt any coating will stand up to the knocks and scrapes parts of the hull get when cruising canals so to a degree durability and toughness should be tempered by the need for easy "touching up". There is also a question over what blacking you already have on the hull because if you try to over black a bitumen blacking with a tar based one it may all fall off, although it is claimed that you can overcoat OLD tar based blacking with a bitumen based one. Now if 14 months is old enough I have no intention of saying. Probably the most durable blacking is a 2 part epoxy one but that will require the whole hull to be grit blasted back to bare steel so it is not really a DIY option. It is my policy to never recommend a product unless I have used it and there are no competitors in the field. First put some petrol or white spirit on a rag and rub the blacking for a while. If the blacking soften and stains the rag it is PROBABLY bitumen based so look for another bitumen based product. If the rag only gets a bit dirty from mud etc the blacking is probably tar based. Comastic is a premium tar based blacking that seems to have a good name while Premium Protection is, as the name suggests, a premium bitumen based blacking. Unless you are simply touching up scrapes, when a rub with course abrasive to remove loose rust should be enough full hull blacking usually involves a commercial high pressure pressure wash off followed by a disk sander over the rusty spots. This is followed by two or three coats of blacking with the first one being either thinner product or a slightly thinned main product so you can scrub it into all the rust pits and welds. Then one or two more coats. Only you an decide if docking the boat and all the above is a job that you can do. I suppose it all depends upon how practical you are and how much home decorating you have done. Tony Brooks PS - get disposable coveralls, gloves, goggles and a rag to tie over your hair.

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