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Old 28-03-2013, 18:49   #1
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HELP WITH GEL COAT PLEASE

hey guys,

I just received a qt of gel coat from spectrum color to do misc repairs.. in the package i received the qt of gel coat, small bottle of catalyst and another small bottle of "surface seal".

my question is what is the surface seal for?? i must have watched 100 videos on youtube and never saw anyone add anything but the catalyst. i read the directions 3 times and am still not clear. do i add the surface seal to the entire qt? if i do will that start the curing process? what is the appropriate time to add the surface seal? i do plan on calling spectrum tomorrow but i thought id first see if i could get the answer from someone that has experience..

thanks
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Old 28-03-2013, 19:33   #2
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Re: HELP WITH GEL COAT PLEASE

just a guess that surface seal is for after the gel cures and then you buff in the seal/wax.
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Old 28-03-2013, 19:52   #3
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Re: HELP WITH GEL COAT PLEASE

The surface seal is a wax you put in at about 3% when you are using the gel coat out side of a mold. You mix it into the gel coat prior to applying. The wax will rise to the surface of the gel coat as it cures to seal it from oxygen. This will give it a hard surface. Without it the gel coat will cure with a sticky film on the surface that makes it hard to sand and will result in a soft surface. Add it prior to the hardener. You could just add it to the whole quart as it does not sound like you will be doing any mold laminating. It will not effect the curing and you can add it anytime prior to the catalyst. You can by wax with the wax pre mixed.
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Old 28-03-2013, 20:10   #4
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Re: HELP WITH GEL COAT PLEASE

Quote:
Originally Posted by sailvayu View Post
The surface seal is a wax you put in at about 3% when you are using the gel coat out side of a mold. You mix it into the gel coat prior to applying. The wax will rise to the surface of the gel coat as it cures to seal it from oxygen. This will give it a hard surface. Without it the gel coat will cure with a sticky film on the surface that makes it hard to sand and will result in a soft surface. Add it prior to the hardener. You could just add it to the whole quart as it does not sound like you will be doing any mold laminating.


+1 mostly. Poly resin and gel coat are air inhibited, which means the surface layer will not cure when exposed to air. This is so that you can laminate to it with no prep and get a chemical bond. To get a surface cure, you need a surface seal. There are many methods of doing this, from PVA to wax surface seal. If you are not doing a molded part, and therefore want surface cured gel, you need to mix in the surface seal at 2oz. Per qt. I often use slightly less. Do NOT add it to the whole batch. The proper method is to spray 2-3 coats catalyzed with no wax, allowing 15 min to half hour between coats depending on temps, and finish with a final complete coverage flow coat of gel with wax. The wax will rise to the surface, creating a surface seal that will allow surface curing. If you have wax in all coats, it will rise to the surface at each stage in between coats, creating some cryptic problems you will not be able to explain. Pre waxed gel is for amateurs who don't know better. This is the reason they sent it to you separate instead of sending you a whole can of pre waxed. If its at all cold there, make sure to heat up the surface seal before mixing. This liquifies the paraffin wax in styrene monomer which makes up surface seal. If you don't do this you'll get little chunks of wax in your finish that won't want to polish out. We used to make our own all the time back in the day. Many people prefer PVA, but not me. Properly used surface seal is superior, though more technically challenging.
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Old 29-03-2013, 04:21   #5
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Re: HELP WITH GEL COAT PLEASE

thanks guys

both of you were extremely helpful.. this is why i love this forum!! its always best to speak to people who have experience in real world applications...
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