Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Ka'imi Gets a New Deck

This year while in the Rio Dulce for hurricane season we had planned  to re-caulk and sand the front decks of Ka'imi.  The Marina had a carpenter and teak guy, Daniel Lopez,  that they recommended.  We determined that the  deck was to thin to repair. Daniel said he could take the teak off, lay some fiberglass and paint on non-skid.  The price was very reasonable and he had been recommended by the Marina and other cruisers who had work done by him so we hired him.  His card claims that he does Marine carpentry, varnish, fiberglass and paint, metal polishing and waxing.  Well, we know for sure he does not know how to do fiberglass.  

To make a very long story short we were ripped off.  He started the work July 21st.  They tore the decks up then we waited for Daniel to show up  for work.  We had the Marina help us contact him but he was either unreachable or said he would show up at a certain time but never come.  There were a couple other boats in the Marina that had hired him and they were having the same problems. He was a no show for over three weeks and finally came back on September 17th.  He put one coat of fiberglass on and during the next 5 days spent 1 or 2 hours on the boat then left, even though the weather was good.  We were very discouraged as we had given him two-thirds of the money and we were getting nothing in return.  The fiberglass work that he did was terrible and we could see it would need to be re-done.  He and his crew left resin fingerprints and footprints on our cabin sole, new Lexan hatch and teak railings. What a nightmare.  We also found out that he wasn't even paying his workers their wages. We finally fired him.  Right now, as far as we know, he is banned from working at the Marina.  We would not recommend him for work of any kind.  We had heard he was a good carpenter and  he may be, but he does not know fiberglass and has zero work ethic.  We did not get any of our money back.  After the fact, we heard other people had complaints with Daniel. In our marina Dances with Dragons and Lydia both had complaints with his work.
The bright side to this (if there is one) is that we found Oscar.  He was doing a job on a boat in the Marina and came highly recommended.  We also saw the quality of his work and were very impressed.   Oscar is shown in the picture below with Ludwing who also came highly recommended but was too busy to take our job. He knew Oscar very well, they worked together at one point and Ludwing said he would do a great job.
They started by redoing the work that Daniel had done.  In no time we had 5 layers of fiberglass on the deck.  That is Franklin in the picture below, Oscars nephew and apprentice.  He did very fine work.
Next they measured the boat and made patterns for the non skid gel coat and fiberglass panels that they would custom mold.
The next step was making the non skid gel coat panels.  They start by putting mold release on the mold panel then apply gel coat and two layers of fiberglass.  When dry they peel off the panel and we have custom made decking.
Franklin making his way around the boat.  Doesn't look easy!
The panels have been cut and they will put the deck together like pieces in a puzzle.  First they lay the resin down.
Next they place the piece of decking on top, using large rocks and weights to keep pressure on the panels.
Work in progress.

The picture below is of Jose.  Franklin stepped on a nail and hurt his foot.  He couldn't come to work for two days and Jose stepped in to help out.
All panels are in place and now comes the hard part of making it look pretty.
They ground the seams out, laid two layers of fiberglass in the seams and sealed with gel coat. The gel coat was then polished until it was nice and shiny.
Beautiful decks, they did an excellent job.  They also showed up to work everyday.  Below they are cleaning up some of the resin that Daniel and crew left on our boat.
Thank you Oscar and Franklin for doing such an outstanding job! We would highly recommend these guys for fiberglass and painting work.

Cheers Kim and Mike


  1. WOW !! Deck looks great !! what an ordeal! sorry you had to go through all that...Hope word of mouth gets around on the river as it usually does and Daniel will not be botching up any other boats !!

  2. Thanks Sea Sister! It feels good to have it done, can't wait to get the back deck done! Yea spread the word about Daniel Lopez when you return, he is getting tricky by sending in his guys to get work and they say they don't work for him but they do! I am trying to send you an email, but the connection is so slow having a hard time, but will send it as soon as it lets me!



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