Paint Mix Fix

Ah, the Sharpie! Sur­pris­ing what the lit­tle jewel can do. By Capt. Bill Pike

Power & Motor Yacht - - BOATYARD | TIP -

Many ma­rine paints these days con­sist of two, three or even more parts. Two-part polyurethanes, for ex­am­ple, of­ten re­quire the ad­di­tion of a re­ducer, mean­ing you have three com­po­nents, not just two, that need com­bin­ing, typ­i­cally with con­sid­er­able ex­ac­ti­tude. Such touchy lit­tle tasks are of­ten achieved via an all-pur­pose mix­ing con­tainer (like the one shown here) and there are sev­eral sizes and va­ri­eties avail­able, although the most com­mon ones can be pur­chased from es­tab­lish­ments like West Ma­rine, Home De­pot or Lowe’s.

There are some prob­lems with these con­tain­ers, how­ever. First off, they’re typ­i­cally translu­cent, not trans­par­ent. And be­cause the nec­es­sary ra­tios are printed on the out­side, said ra­tios ap­pear con­fus­ingly back­wards when pour­ing base, cat­a­lyst or re­ducer while look­ing down­wards into the in­te­rior of one that’s solidly en­sconced on a deck or hatch—ar­guably the eas­i­est and most ac­cu­rate ori­en­ta­tion for mix­ing.

Then, there’s the sta­bil­ity is­sue. Sure, you can hold a mix­ing con­tainer at eye-level while pour­ing com­po­nents and read the ra­tios printed on the out­side like a chemist with a grad­u­ated beaker. But if you in­ad­ver­tently tip the con­tainer, even slightly, while do­ing so, what­ever you’ve al­ready poured in, if it’s pig­mented and there­fore opaque, will ob­fus­cate the cho­sen ra­tio, thereby mak­ing it nec­es­sary to start all over again with a new con­tainer.

The fix is sim­ple. Be­fore you pour any­thing into one of these pop­u­lar mix­ing con­tain­ers, mark the nec­es­sary ra­tios on the out­side with a black Sharpie. This way, you can place the con­tainer on a solid sur­face like a deck or hatch and pour di­rectly down into it while eye­balling the Sharpie marks from in­side to guar­an­tee you’re get­ting the proper ra­tios. While the num­bers and lev­els ap­plied by the con­tainer’s man­u­fac­turer to the ex­te­rior are dif­fi­cult if not im­pos­si­ble to see from in­side the translu­cent plas­tic—and back­wards to boot—the Sharpie marks come through loud and clear.

Top: Get your ra­tios right, then mark ap­pro­pri­ately. Bot­tom: Top­coat, cat­a­lyst and re­ducer.

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