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Old 29-10-2014, 06:17   #1
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Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Any recommendation on the best product and processes to clean and wax the hull at the end of the season?
My Pearson is old and looking pretty weathered.
Before I wax "in" dirt and grime I was looking for some advise.
Thanks
Joe


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Old 29-10-2014, 06:21   #2
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re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Is it gelcoat or paint?
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Old 29-10-2014, 06:37   #3
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re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Looks like the original gel coat to me.
Appears to have never been painted.


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Old 29-10-2014, 06:49   #4
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Wash the hull with oxalic acid diluted with water. Let it set for 30 minutes and rinse.

Go over the hull with a mild rubbing compound.

The buff in a mild paste wax.

The hull will look new

There is also lots of YouTube videos on Gelcoat cleaning
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Old 29-10-2014, 06:58   #5
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Get one of these
Makita 9227CX3 7-Inch Hook and Loop Electronic Polisher-Sander with Polishing Kit - Power Polishing Tools - Amazon.com
And us this
Fiberglass Boat Cleaner » Collinite

You may need a coarser cutting compound, or even wet sand.
I've had good luck with Colonite paste wax as a final step myself

It's possible by hand, but my God the amount of work would be astronomical, even with a buffer it's a lot of work
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Old 29-10-2014, 07:15   #6
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Thank you. I'll order the makita and get to work.
Beats painting it by hand!


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Old 29-10-2014, 07:22   #7
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Our take similar with Tom's. Degrease, wash down, wax, buff. Small boat here so we go by hand.

b.
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Old 29-10-2014, 07:43   #8
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

I have a Makita, I like it, but there are others. In my opinion the important features are vairable speed and a "soft start", and most importantly light weight. I'd buy a Harbor Freight one if it was significantly lighter, thing gets heavy, quick
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Old 29-10-2014, 09:21   #9
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Taking a buffer, or worse yet wet sanding your gelcoat can be a big mistake unless you're getting it ready to sell. Gelcoat is thin & it doesn't take much to go through it. Once you do you'll be painting your boat. Wax in Florida looks good for about 3 months so you'll be redoing this a lot. There are other products that last a little longer but at more expense & none last more than a year. A magic eraser is as abrasive as we get. Your boat doesn't have to be shiny to look good!
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Old 29-10-2014, 09:30   #10
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Other side of the argument is that a good coat of wax helps seal and protect the Gel coat, making it last longer.
It is a lot of work though, I don't think anyone is recommending cutting into the Gel coat on a yearly basis, if you maintain it, only a fine polish is needed between waxings, just like a car.
I think compared to paint, Gelcoat is thick, but you can cut through anything.
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Old 29-10-2014, 09:55   #11
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

I agree that wax is a good idea & buffing your gelcoat & a couple of good coats of wax can make your boat look really great. But the gelcoat on a boat is much softer & more porous than the paint & clear coat on a car. If you want your boat to be shiny & actually stay shiny the only real option is 2 part urethane paint. Doug Hylan wrote a good article for WoodenBoat a couple of years ago about boats not having to be shiny to look good. A couple of tricks they use at the local marinas are The Works & MopNGlow. If you've got stains in your gelcoat The Works can be magical.
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Old 29-10-2014, 10:08   #12
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Regarding heavy or light tools... there are two sides to that coin. In Sanders, I find the heavy ones seem to absorb the vibration a lot better without transferring it to your hands/arms. Case in point is vibrating sanders. I have two; a heavy weight Ingersoll and a very lightweight Makita. They both sand really well, but the Makita will tear up your joints after an hour of sanding.... Are the buffers this way?
Waxing doesn't last long on a boat, but I still think it's a good thing to do on occasion..... and removing that powdery gel coat isnt bad either. Yeah, you could break through a bit in a few spots.... just depends on the boat, many are very thick in the gel also... some aren't...
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Old 29-10-2014, 10:14   #13
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Here's the best write-up I've seen on this topic.

Tips For A Great Buff Wax - SailboatOwners.com
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Old 29-10-2014, 10:26   #14
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout 30 View Post
Taking a buffer, or worse yet wet sanding your gelcoat can be a big mistake unless you're getting it ready to sell. Gelcoat is thin & it doesn't take much to go through it. Once you do you'll be painting your boat. Wax in Florida looks good for about 3 months so you'll be redoing this a lot. There are other products that last a little longer but at more expense & none last more than a year. A magic eraser is as abrasive as we get. Your boat doesn't have to be shiny to look good!
This boat is a 1979 with factory original gelcoat. It has been buffed/polished & waxed every year for nearly 35 years. No holes and it is in absolutely beautiful condition...



And some actual comparisons of gelcoat thickness compared to a box cutter blade.


For those interested here are some good tips for novices with gelcoat:


This 1970's gelcoat was restored by a complete novice using the instructions above, POST #13, by Vasco..
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Old 29-10-2014, 11:13   #15
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Re: Cleaning and Waxing the Hull

Thing about a buffer is your often having to hold the thing on a vertical surface, and up high too, vibration isn't nearly as bad as a sander to me, but then I run it slower maybe than some others, fast = heat and well you have to be careful and lets face it, I'm no pro.
Worst sander in the world to me is one of those little 1/4 sheet electric jitterbugs, darn things really mess with my fingers.
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