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Old 02-16-2011, 06:22 AM   #1
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Getting back the shine on gelcoat

The white gelcoat on our 1986 Monk36 is dull.* We would like to try and bring the shine back.* Spray wax does not do the trick.* From our research, it seems we need to use rubbing compound, polish, and then wax.* Before we lay out $100 for the material, has anyone had any success stories with particular products & techniques?

-- Edited by rusbet on Wednesday 16th of February 2011 07:23:30 AM
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:19 AM   #2
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

There is no magic trick here. Old oxydized gelcoat will always be old oxydized gelcoat. Don't get your hopes too high and don't spend too much time and money on this. With a compound and wax you will get it a bit nicer... for a little while.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:28 AM   #3
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

You can try wet sanding with something like 1000 grit.
I have seen that work.
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Old 02-16-2011, 08:45 AM   #4
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Quote:
Fotoman wrote:With a compound and wax you will get it a bit nicer... for a little while.
I've seen amazing restorations of "chalky gel-coat" in my marina by an outfit that really knows how to compound and wax. I'd tell you what the formula is for the compound but he won't tell anyone! His secret is as closely held as the formula for Coke. He does this once a year and costs about a $1000 for a 32' boat. After compounding and waxing, the hulls and topsides look brand new. (Too pricey for me.)

*
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Old 02-16-2011, 09:07 AM   #5
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

I've concluded that a good compound and wax is almost an art form. If it is a science then it is a science that has evaded me!
I had our hull from caprail to waterline compounded and waxed- it came out a lot better but I don't exactly have to wear sunglasses when looking at the boat. Our topsides were too far gone to bring anything back- thus she's getting a full topsides painting right now!
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Old 02-16-2011, 12:02 PM   #6
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Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Here is an excellent post by a fellow* ihighly regard, with detailed information on how to bring back the hull from the brink,
http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com...d.php?t=117266
Chuck


-- Edited by Capn Chuck on Wednesday 16th of February 2011 01:03:27 PM
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Old 02-16-2011, 01:56 PM   #7
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Thanks for the responses and link. Question for Chuck: will this process work for the topsides (exterior of cabin)?
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Old 02-16-2011, 02:04 PM   #8
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

rusbet, it will work just fine on any GELCOAT surface. Don't use it on paint of any kind. Good Luck. Chuck
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Old 02-16-2011, 04:35 PM   #9
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

I've read the detailed information. Our boat has a lot of teak. I can't see being able to cover it up during the compound and polishing phase using the buffer. Is rinsing the teak with fresh water enough to protect it from effects of the sling of the compound and polish?

The tiny areas that cannot be machine buffed: by hand?
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:24 PM   #10
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Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Before you get into a major effort to sand compound etc, you might try a less aggressive approach which could save you a lot of trouble if your finish is not too far gone.

We had a boat stored in a very sunny driveway here in Utah for 7 years, and it got rather dull and chalky. Elbow grease and Meguiar's fiberglass restorer (followed by waxing) did a really decent job.

A superb very mild compound is 3M's Finesse-It. Our present 12-year-old green hull looks almost brand spanking new ever year, thanks to Finesse-It and carnauba wax.

A good orbital buffer makes it a heck of a lot easier.

-- Edited by RCook on Wednesday 16th of February 2011 07:26:06 PM

-- Edited by RCook on Wednesday 16th of February 2011 07:29:16 PM
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Old 02-16-2011, 06:32 PM   #11
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

I find the 3M clean/wax products work well, there is one of lightly and another for heavily oxidized gelcoat. It applies kind of strange, do a small section at a time rub untill it is gone, do not apply and wait for it to dry then buff as a regular wax, complete directions on the bottles.
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Old 02-16-2011, 07:08 PM   #12
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Quote:
RCook wrote:A superb very mild compound is 3M's Finesse-It.
A buddy of mine used this product on his blue hull sailboat and it looks fantastic.

*
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Old 02-17-2011, 11:49 AM   #13
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Quote:
rusbet wrote:

The white gelcoat on our 1986 Monk36 is dull.* We would like to try and bring the shine back.* Spray wax does not do the trick.* From our research, it seems we need to use rubbing compound, polish, and then wax.* Before we lay out $100 for the material, has anyone had any success stories with particular products & techniques?

-- Edited by rusbet on Wednesday 16th of February 2011 07:23:30 AM

The most effective way I have found to bring back the shine on a boat is to pay a pro to do it.*

If you want to learn how to do it yourself and think you have the will to keep at it, there is a lot of information on materials and techniques on auto detailing websites and forums.

To start with, figure $150 or so for a good buffer.* Then add the pads and supplies.

*
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Old 02-17-2011, 05:33 PM   #14
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

I've used this Meguiar's kit on on my previous boat, it worked well.* An electric buffer and a lot of effort, but the boat looked pretty darn good afterwards.

http://marinerv.meguiars.com/product...oration-System
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Old 02-17-2011, 07:01 PM   #15
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Wet sand with 1600 to 2000 grit....
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Old 02-20-2011, 07:59 AM   #16
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

I'm a big fan of Finesse-It as well. I use it on my truck as well as the boat. As usual, it pays to shop the Internet. I get it delivered from this outfit for half the price of West Marine.
http://www.tcpglobal.com/detailsupplydepot/dsd7.aspx
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:33 AM   #17
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

I hauled my'98 boat last November to do numerous projects one of which was to compound and wax the hull. I did all the research, numerous internet sites and even called Maguiars. Got a buffer, pads, all recommend by the manufactures, Maguiars and 3M. I even went to an auto body supply store and bought a special wool pad for my buffer. With all this in hand and high expectations of a gleaming new looking hull, I dug in.*

After several hours of buffing and rubbing the results were mediocre*at best. Yes it did look better but not the shine I was expecting.*
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Old 02-23-2011, 06:52 PM   #18
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

My experience was the same as yours Tim... UNTIL, I watched and talked to the guy we paid to do our hull. The "trick" is VOLUME! I tried to use the right amount of 3M rubbing compound based on the way I interpreted the label. It was WAY too little. However, when I asked the guy what I was doing wrong, he took my Mikita buffer, turned over the lamb's wool pad and dumped a surprising amount of compound in it, handed it back to me and said, "There, that'll do about this much." Pointing to a section about 24"x24". Do small-ish areas at a time. He also told me that you REALLY have to try hard to burn through gelcoat. Yes, you need to generally keep the tool moving, but unless you turn your buffer up on edge and let it sit for 30 seconds, you won't burn through it. The point being, the more you buff - the more shine it takes. Finally, keep AWAY from stainless! That stuff loses it's coating fast and then gray goop gets spread all over the surface you are working on.

With this new info, I went to it... And I'll be dad-gum... He was right! I was really able to get a HEAVILY oxidized surface (the side of the flybridge) to absolutely shine. I bought a gallon of 3M compound for $75 and a spur thingy and I am ready once it warms up some. HOWEVER... be warned that it makes a HUGE mess. The stuff get flung everywhere, so be ready.

Wax to taste and move on.

Anyway, hope this helps.
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Old 02-23-2011, 07:26 PM   #19
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Well well well, so that's the secret. I'll give it a try.
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Old 02-23-2011, 09:22 PM   #20
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RE: Getting back the shine on gelcoat

Yep... Don't try and skimp on it. If you feel like you're wasting it, you're gettin' close.
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