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Old 29-07-2009, 09:46   #1
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Hull Finish Restoration

I have a 28 sea ray glass hull and it has been neglected. Has sat for five years without any care.It has some stains. The color is maybe cream or what you could call off white. I bought an orbitale buffer at costco. My question is what product should I get to buff it out to get the shine back.I will replace all pinstripping after the cleaning and buffing.I have never done this before and don;t want to damage what is there.Would appreciate you suggestions.I bought this cruiser about six monthes ago. It at one time was one of the nicest boats in the marina. I got a good deal or so I thought.Replaced outdrives. They were so bad when I pulled it out of water six mud suckers fell out of gear housings.It was a hot boat with electrical problems. current went out through out drives.The reason I mention this is a heads up for owners without proper isolation equip.I have reupholstered and new canvas updated out drives. removed and recond both motors.I got a bigger job then I bargained for. Inspite of it all I'm excited to get it finished and take her out.Kinda like an addiction huh.Thanks for any help.
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Old 29-07-2009, 10:44   #2
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I had to do a lot of work on our hull. I used a product called Aquabuff 2000. It's a wax with a 2000 grit rubbing compound in one bucket of stuff. It requires machine application. That would remove a fine layer and polish it up adding a sealer behind. It lasts a good long time and you can maintain it from there. There are a lot of similar products. The best way to apply it is with an air powered tool (kind of expensive) the big heavy electric buffers are sort of OK until you hold one in the air for as long as it takes. This job does not come clean in seconds. You work in an area of 1 ft by 1 ft at a time. You'll know it the next day if you finish in one day. Gel coat cleans up so it's just a matter of how hard you have to rub.

You could start with basic hull cleaning products to remove the worst of it and the old wax and maybe some of the staining. It appears you won't be taking no for an answer so good luck finishing the project.
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Old 29-07-2009, 11:46   #3
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There are 3M products for gelcoat resotoration that work really well. Basically, you start with a coarser grit that gets rid of the really bad oxidation. You then work your way up to a finer and finer grit. As Paul says, for really difficult restorations, get yourself a power polisher. Don't even bother with the cheap Walmart automotive polishers. Rent yourself a good one or buy one. Makita makes a great one.



Also, buy yourself some 25 pound barbells and start strengthening your deltoids now. An added benefit is that your wife will like your new physique.
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Old 29-07-2009, 11:48   #4
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I had really good luck with the 3M products. I first washed the topsides with soft scrub with bleach and a scothbrite pad, then compounded with 3M Imerial compound using their Superbuff pad, then their Finesse it polishing compound and then waxing with Colonite 885. I got all these product suggestions from an article in Practial Sailor on Gelcoat restoration, My boat looks new now, it was badly oxidized and stained... I tried to pull up the article and give you a link, but had no luck..... by the way, the Superbuff pads really are different from the rest of them,,,
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Old 29-07-2009, 11:58   #5
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Finish up with 3M Finesse it II... Great stuff. I've found wax not to be worth the trouble...
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Old 29-07-2009, 12:59   #6
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If you have coloured stripes on your hull will this compound drag the colour onto the white?

If it does do you have to tape off certain sections?
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Old 29-07-2009, 13:49   #7
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Make sure that the machine you get is a proper sander polisher with speeds below 1000rpm.

If possible get one with a central handle as they are easier to hold to the work than a side handle:

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Old 29-07-2009, 14:52   #8
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I knew I would get some great info about what and how to use.Better then going in cold turkey. Looking forward to big biceps.
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Old 29-07-2009, 15:11   #9
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the wax is not for appearance, it is to slow the oxidation process. After finishing with finesse it, the wax will not change the look at all. It goes on really quick and I have only hit it with a mix of Mequires cleaner wax and Collinite 885 twice a year since my initial polish, it only takes me about a half hour every 6 months..
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Old 29-07-2009, 15:31   #10
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Hand wet sand 400 to 800 to 1000 grit sand paper, buff with polishing compound, buff with 3m Finesse for fine swirl marks, wax hull, should look almost like new. Don't over do the wet sanding as not to go through the gel coat, find a non conspicuios area to try out first, do a one foot by one foot area to practice first. Not rocket science!!!
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Old 29-07-2009, 17:09   #11
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wet sand

ok now you got me going.Are you saying do this by hand?what type of motion would you use circular or straight. Another question is about stains. Do I need to bleach them out or are they shallow enough to get them out with wet sand?Thanks.
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Old 29-07-2009, 19:04   #12
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Typically when I wet sand a hull I like to use a circular motion, pail of water bungied to the step ladder, sand paper in the palm of the hand, cup hand to feel the profile of the surface being sanded, should not take a lot of sanding for each grit, you do not want to go through the gel coat to the laminate, all stains will be removed because you are actually removing a small ammount of gel (about 1 mil minimum). It is critical to do the entire prochedure in a test area to determine the final outcome. Origional gel thikness, uv exposure could cause some issues. Final step is polishing with a decent quality buffer with a wool or foam bonnet to remove the very fine scratches left from the 1000 grit paper, wax to shine and protect.
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Old 29-07-2009, 19:08   #13
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I shoul have mentioned that the reason to sand by hand is that the inexperienced and sometimes the professionals will burn through the gel into the laminate with powered equipment. The idea is to be gentle and just remove a small amount of gel. P.S this is not a very difficult process once you get the hang of it, just be prepared for a lot of arm pain.
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Old 29-07-2009, 19:56   #14
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Ditto Burger but maybe try buffing a spot with a courser compond first to see if the stains will come out. Might save some work.
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Old 31-07-2009, 00:03   #15
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I would recommend a good acid wash first. On&Off works very good: "paint" it on, let it work (minutes) and rinse off.

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