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Old 12-01-2015, 12:25   #1
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Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat


Thanks in advance for any help. I am a new owner of a Union 36 sailboat in great shape! Hull #4. Had Bob Perry himself help us through the boat purchasing process. Exciting times.

One odd thing. The boat hull topside color has a strange green hue to it. I can't imagine that was the original color as it looks pretty strange. On a sunny day it's hard to see the hue but on a cloudy grey day it really stands out, especially when the boat is next to other boats with normal cream or off white colored hulls. Anyone have any idea how this came to be? Does gelcoat degrade as such over time? I verified and the topsides have not been painted yet.

Which brings me to my question. I would really like to paint the topsides to get rid of the green hue. But the topsides have the fake planking look moulded into the fiberglass. Has anyone ever hand painted topsides with the fake planks? Any tips? What would be the best way to sand between them? I've been reading "This Old Boat" as well as some blogs and websites and can't seem to find much info on how to deal with them and the fake planks seem not to lend themselves well to the roll and tip method commonly used for flat topsides. Thanks!

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Old 12-01-2015, 12:44   #2
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Re: Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat

Uh boy.

First off, sounds like faded gelcoat. Hard to really tell without pictures.

Regarding painting, you're really going to be in for a time of it. There's a huge amount of cleaning, sanding, solvent washing involved, of the bare fiberglass and then the successive coats. The moulded plank joints are going to complicate things with respect to ensuring that the surface is properly prepped at each step. It basically comes down to just being more work. You'll probably want to make your own sanding block profiles to ensure that you maintain the profile of the hull joint shape and do them by hand.

If you're talking about rolling and tipping then you want to do this yourself, I suspect. In rolling and tipping you customarily tip vertically. You're not going to be able to do that on this hull, and the result might not be so hot. Personally I would suggest that you hire someone to show up and shoot coats and you do all the prep and taping yourself. If it's shot outdoors by someone who knows what they are doing, at the right time of year, it will still turn out better than rolled and tipped.

Hopefully Minaret will weigh in. I would trust his advice on viable approaches as everything I've said is theoretical and based on working only on a smooth fair surface.

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Old 12-01-2015, 13:09   #3
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Re: Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat


Here's another take on your situation. Gelcoat can often be rehabilitated, and to me that would be a preferable solution to painting. What I don't like about paint is that it is far more fragile than gelcoat. Therefore, I'd rather put the work into the gelcoat. YMMV.

Ann & Jim, U.S. s/v Insatiable II, SE Qld, for a while
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Old 12-01-2015, 16:22   #4
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Re: Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat

Paint is not nearly as durable as gel coat. I wouldn't paint unless it was absolutely necessary. Painted my hull and deck because gel coat had been compounded so many times the greenish/gray underlying laminate was showing through and deck had a ton of holes from removed old hardware. Scratched the topsides putting it back in the slip after the haul out and deck shows wear where there is constant traffic like coaming going into cockpit. These weren't an issue with gel coat.

As far as painting, be sure you sand and thoroughly wipe with wax remover/acetone in the small grooves of the fake planking. Great place for things to hide that will limit the adhesion of the paint.
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Old 12-01-2015, 18:37   #5
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Re: Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat

Can't help you with practical advice... but I've often wondered about those fake plank lines. Folks with planked timber yachts sweat blood filling and sanding to get rid of such lines, and then some bozo in Taiwan decides that putting them into the hull will somehow make the boat look better... go figger!

Jim and Ann
s/v Insatiable back in MBTBC marina, waiting for next eye jobs to be done
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Old 12-01-2015, 19:28   #6
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Re: Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat

As the owner of two painted boats, one with planking, I can attest that paint is not as hard as gel-coat and never paint a boat unless it is absolutely necessary.

Rolling and tipping with the coves that simulate painting is not all that difficult. Simply dip the tip of the foam roller into the pant and drag it along the cove, then dip the roller and roll the planks. Then tip with the brush.

Sanding the coves is not all that terrible but it does take more time than a flat hull. I use thick cloth backed sandpaper and fold it without giving it a sharp crease. That fits the coves nicely.

On our boat I had a lot of patching to do and I often got putty in the coves. It wasn't a nightmare to sand out and , "re-cove," it.

Hope this helps.
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Old 12-01-2015, 19:40   #7
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Re: Painting Top Sides That Have Fake Planking in Gelcoat

Use Abranet or the new 3M hook & loop wet/dry grit. Abranet on a hook and loop sponge is best for this. Be sure to guide coat to ensure thorough prep.

As to roll and tip on false plank seams, it's definitely doable, just requires a bit more skill. Reasons are that vertical tipping is no longer possible, and coves tend to hold paint which then wants to hang. Just have to tip very thoroughly.

I certainly agree that restoring the gel may be a better alternative. But not if the color itself and not oxidization is what the OP dislikes. Many earlier versions of Oyster White have a substantial green hue, it's not uncommon.

O you who turn the wheel and look to windward,

Consider Phlebas, who was once handsome and tall as you.
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gelcoat, paint

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