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Old 14-05-2015, 13:07   #1
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Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

The gel coat on my 1984 Hood 38 looks remarkably good for its age. It was polished and waxed last year, and I'm getting ready to do it again to remove a light chalk before I put the boat on hard for summer. I'm worried about annual polishing eroding the gel coat and would like to go with a mild (non aggressive) polish. Have any of you found a light polish that works well on maintaining old gel coat? Most of the stuff I see for old gel coat is to "restore damaged finish" and is too agressive for repeated use.
Thanks,
Tom, Ft Pierce, Fl
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Old 14-05-2015, 13:33   #2
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

If you get it to a shiny finish it'll stay that way as long as you could use a light cleaner polish on it twice a year.I use Meguiars or 3m makes a nice product. I wet sanded my top side gel coat on my 1990 Endeavour 42 with 1200 grit and water once you to see the milky fluid stop.coming off I stopped and gave it a light polish with a very fine compound and then a wax and it looks wonderful. Looks basically like new and it's much easier to clean and spray off the bird poop etc footprints


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Old 14-05-2015, 13:53   #3
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Isn't gel coat usually like 0.25 - 0.5mm thick? That's a lot to burn through with polishing.
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Old 14-05-2015, 14:44   #4
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Gel coat should be sprayed at a minimum of 25 -30 mils in the mold. That's why I used 1200 grit to get off all of the chalk on top and then a very light polish and a wax try and minimize any type of burn through or standing

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Old 15-05-2015, 08:25   #5
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

There was a thread on this topic last year where a pro posted very detailed directions with photos. Worth searching for.
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Old 15-05-2015, 08:53   #6
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

If you find this thread, please let us all know.Thanks! I'm in the same spot with my 1978 Cal 3-46
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Old 15-05-2015, 09:30   #7
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Hi Bohemian - a nimimum of more than 1" thick gel coat? Do you mean greater than 0.25 -0.3mm?
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Old 15-05-2015, 09:40   #8
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Mirage polish by Prism. I used it on 40 yr old Cal 36. Excellent results, very easy to use, not hard on gel coat.
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Old 15-05-2015, 11:09   #9
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

We use a mil gauge when we spray gel.coat.. converted to mm is .75 mm

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Old 15-05-2015, 11:10   #10
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Finesse from 3m worked great on my boat's 40 year old gel coat. It's a cleaner and removed stains and haze and brought back the shine without removing much. if any, material. Initially tried a grit polishing compound but got better results with the Finesse.

Be careful if you use a grit polishing compound. Over the years, you can remove the gel coat to the point you'll need to paint. Unfortunately, eventually had to paint my boat. SPOT 'polishing' on the gel coat through the years had thinned it down so much that the underlying layup was showing through in large areas amidship.
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Old 15-05-2015, 11:35   #11
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

I use Collonite products on our 1980 Pearson 424. First, the cleaner wax. Then an application of their liquid wax (925). No gel coat removed and easy hand application. A twice a year regimen keeps her shiny, even with the Hawaiian sun. Collonite insulator wax is also excellent for stainless. Clean, then apply 2x/year for lengthy corrosion protection. I sound like a pitchman, but that's what cruisers use out here.
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Old 15-05-2015, 11:47   #12
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Collonite is.good.stuff. Either way everyone's going to learn the hard way if you have a lot of chalking already you take water and 1200 grit sandpaper and you just rub it back and forth until it quit looking milky that way you're getting all the dead gel off the top you can put any kind of wax you want on it is just making goo until you get off that layer then you got a nice hard surfaced it'll actually buff up polish up and stay clean but chalky surface is way too porous . It will lose it shine and get dirty and stain easily. I've been doing this for a long time if you don't take that nasty layer off the top carefully you're not going to get anything that lasts

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Old 15-05-2015, 11:54   #13
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

Quote:
Originally Posted by roverhi View Post
Finesse from 3m worked great on my boat's 40 year old gel coat. It's a cleaner and removed stains and haze and brought back the shine without removing much. if any, material. Initially tried a grit polishing compound but got better results with the Finesse.

Be careful if you use a grit polishing compound. Over the years, you can remove the gel coat to the point you'll need to paint. Unfortunately, eventually had to paint my boat. SPOT 'polishing' on the gel coat through the years had thinned it down so much that the underlying layup was showing through in large areas amidship.
3M Finesse-it is great. Albeit not a wax.
Regarding gel thickness... what it is and what it's supposed to be are two different things. Have seen quite a few boats with worn thru places. Let's face it.. some "Vapor Drunk" low paid guy probably sprayed it in the mold manually with a ton of gear on....
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Old 15-05-2015, 13:22   #14
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

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Originally Posted by Bohemian17 View Post
We use a mil gauge when we spray gel.coat.. converted to mm is .75 mm

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Ahhhhh......I am used to hearing millimeters abbreviated by many as mils - hence the confusion. Cheers.
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Old 16-05-2015, 12:38   #15
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Re: Polishing 30 yr old gel coat

I used Mirage with amazing results on a 40 year old, light blue hull. Worked magic and lasts more than 6 months which is plenty in Michigan!
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