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Old 01-16-2018, 11:00 AM   #1
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Faded rub rails - acetone?

I believe I read somewhere that acetone works well to bring back the deep black on hull rub rails. Has anyone tried this and does it work?
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Old 01-16-2018, 11:08 AM   #2
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Donít do it. Acetone may/probably will soften the rub rail. Maybe try using something like Armorall.
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Old 01-16-2018, 12:52 PM   #3
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Definitely not acetone. Maybe Son of a Gun? There are several plastic restorers out there, but acetone will not be good for the plastic.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:04 PM   #4
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Hi Jhance,

One of the difficulties with plastic rubrails on pleasure boats is there is little knowledge of exactly what formulation of "plastic" was used to fabricate the rubrails. Some manufacturers use PVC, some UHMW, most use "whotheheckknows". And unless you can locate the OEM manufacturer of the rails, even the boatbuilders don't know. If you're lucky enough that your boatbuilder is still in business, and his records are up to snuff, and he's kind enough to share the OEM supplier of the rubrail, and that OEM is still in business, you might be able to track down the original material.

THEN, trying to locate an cleaning/coloring/restoring agent to "bring back the black" for that particular material is a further goose chase. AND THEN the results of that restoration requires some time (days, weeks?) to tell if the color restoration will hold.

Bottom line, if you find an agent that works with YOUR rails, please share on this forum. So far, I've been unsuccessful in exactly the same quest on my 2000-vintage Pacific Trawler 40. My best results to date have been to color my rubrails with black Magic Marker! Lasted all of about 3 weeks.

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Old 01-16-2018, 02:43 PM   #5
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I have tried most everything to bring back the black color of my rub rails. Nothing has made a significant difference.

When I was a teenager, special paint was available to recolor tires black. I can't find it anymore.
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Old 01-16-2018, 02:59 PM   #6
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Old 01-16-2018, 03:30 PM   #7
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Old 01-16-2018, 04:06 PM   #8
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Mother's Back to Black Plastic and Trim treatment always worked on our smaller boats with black rub rails. Get it at Amazon or local auto parts store.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:16 PM   #9
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That's where I read it... right in the Camano handbook! Below is the section on cleaning rub rails. They say to use acetone. I'll probably try a small section and see what happens.

--
From the Camano handbook:


The rub rails are easily cleaned with acetone, which has recently been declared benign to the environment, but you have to work quickly. Pour a little acetone onto a cloth, wipe a small section of the rub rail and then polish that same section with a clean cloth. Once the rails are restored to their original shiny black finish, protect them with a Teflon wax.

Useful Tip: Be careful when using acetone -- it softens gelcoat if left on too long. Stains can be problematic but we have found that Kleen Glo works well. This is a mildly abrasive compound so you have to be careful when using it.
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:22 PM   #10
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Old 01-16-2018, 08:37 PM   #11
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Walmart, in the auto department, has a product to restore black bed liners in a pick up truck. It is called something like back to black. It worked great on my hard plastic black rub rail and lasts about a year in Florida.

I seem to remember it coming with a funny looking foam applicator that fits the ridges in the bed liner. I used a throw away foam brush on my rub rails and tossed the other applicator.
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Old 01-17-2018, 05:29 AM   #12
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Most "plastic" rub rails are vinyl. I have found Vinyl floor cleaners, sealers and polishes work well

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Old 01-17-2018, 09:05 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jhance View Post
That's where I read it... right in the Camano handbook! Below is the section on cleaning rub rails. They say to use acetone. I'll probably try a small section and see what happens.

--
From the Camano handbook:


The rub rails are easily cleaned with acetone, which has recently been declared benign to the environment, but you have to work quickly. Pour a little acetone onto a cloth, wipe a small section of the rub rail and then polish that same section with a clean cloth. Once the rails are restored to their original shiny black finish, protect them with a Teflon wax.

Useful Tip: Be careful when using acetone -- it softens gelcoat if left on too long. Stains can be problematic but we have found that Kleen Glo works well. This is a mildly abrasive compound so you have to be careful when using it.
Cleaning and restoring the color are two different things entirely. Acetone is handy on a boat for cleaning many things including black marks from docks. Here's my hint for the day: When you get your can of acetone from the home center there will be a screw on cap. When you take the cap off there will be a removable metal seal. Since you will be using your acetone with a rag for cleaning, don't remove the seal, punch a hole in it with an ice pick or Philips screw driver. This will make it easier to control the flow, it won't evaporate as quickly if you leave the cap off and when you accidentally kick it over, less will run out.
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Old 01-17-2018, 09:37 AM   #14
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Carworx Refinish Restorer

I drive a Chevy Avalanche; the truck with all the plastic panels. They all faded, but not to the same shade so it really looked bad. I've tried a lot other refinishers and even paints and they did not work too well.

I belong to a forum for the truck and was introduced to this product- Refinish Restorer. After applying, this has lasted about two years, so definately a lot better than anything else.

It can be ordered off Amazon, where I got mine, and a little bit goes a long way.

First step is to wash and strip off all coatings using something like Dawn dishwater detergent. Then apply the Refinish Restorer with a lint free cloth and let air dry.

Here's a link to the product on Amazon

Here's a link to the technical datasheet

BTW- this stuff is a lot like linseed oil, so you have to treat cloths that have this stuff on it very carefully- it can ignite spontaneously.
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Old 01-17-2018, 10:48 AM   #15
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There is "Wipe New" (as shown on TV) that also claims to restore colored plastic but I'm at a loss to figure how a clear liquid or coating can restore black rubber or plastic that has turned white or light grey back to black.

The solution is probably to replace the rub rail but it's not easy and certainly not cheap. I might have to try the paint RT linked to.
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Old 01-17-2018, 12:45 PM   #16
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Years ago I needed a trim piece for the rubrail, next to the transom door. I found that they were made by Morse Industries. I tried to contact them for a replacement, but they did not ever reply. This was after Camano in BC went out of business, so I couldn't get one from them. The Morse website might say what they are made of.
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Old 01-17-2018, 01:27 PM   #17
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I had a new vinyl rubrail installed a couple years ago and was advised to use acetone to clean it. It's worked well without any problems so far.



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Old 01-17-2018, 04:24 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Larry M View Post
Donít do it. Acetone may/probably will soften the rub rail. Maybe try using something like Armorall.
I stand corrected. From work experience, acetone would have been my last choice. You learn something new everyday.
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Old 01-17-2018, 07:11 PM   #19
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Before you try acetone you might want to give Marine Strip a chance. I'm not sure if the rub rail is the same plastic compound as a shore power cord (probably not), but on the advice of the forum I tried Marine Strip on my super grotty cord. Holy crap! It was a miracle product. I've tried acetone on the same cord and this was much, much better.

Didn't leave a gummy finish afterward either.

you can get it from Hopkins Carter.
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Old 01-17-2018, 08:46 PM   #20
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Acetone will soften power cords and fenders. Not sure exactly the difference between them and rub rails, but I still would not use acetone. I used to have 2 Chevy Avalanches and like the prior post about the color restorer. Wish I had known about it when we had the Avalanches.
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