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Old 13-12-2010, 09:02   #1
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Restoring Awlgrip Paint

I am considering the purchase of an older Bristol 35.5 that had been painted with awlgrip about 10 years ago. The color is dark green, and there is no luster to the finish at all, yet it is free of scratches and gouges. It is basically in good condition provided I will be able to bring back the shine.

I have read that awlgrip can not be compounded, buffed or waxed, but I find it hard to believe. I have had good luck with wetsanding, compounding and waxing gelcoat, but do not know much about awlgrip.

What suggestions do you have? Should I lower my bid on the boat based on the cost of a new paint job?

Thanks for your help
John
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Old 13-12-2010, 09:47   #2
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I have read the same about buffing AWL-GRIP. I have painted Imagine with the roll & tip method. If your paint is in good shape. Just a coat would do her fine with the same color. It probably cost more in sand paper than paint.......i2f
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Old 13-12-2010, 10:45   #3
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You can not buff or polish Awlgrip. Well, you can but it is a complete waste of time. You will need to repaint to bring it back. Ideally, it should be sanded down and at least one coat of primer, them paint. If the surface is in good shape and no damage, you can get away with sanding and a coat or two of paint. At least two coats will be needed to do it right. Chuck
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Old 13-12-2010, 10:51   #4
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Try asking the seller to buff/wax a small area like the transom so you can determine the remaining life of the paint. If he knows he's going to suffer lower offers he might be more than willing to show the paint can be brought to life.

I have a friend with a boat painted dark green that was looking pretty tired. He was able to bring the gloss back pretty well with a buffer. I seem to remember it being Awlgrip but I could be wrong. It's always worth trying before launching into a big project like a full repaint.
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Old 13-12-2010, 11:35   #5
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I had a same issue with my Bristol painted Flag Blue. I used a buffer with 3M Finesse, and the appropriate pad. I then used AWLGRIP'S Awlcare. It lasted a year or so, but another coat of Awlcare makes it look good again. It doesn't come back to a perfect finish like a new paint jog, but does look respectable.
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Old 13-12-2010, 14:49   #6
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The mfg recommends to not buff Awlgrip and this is where the theory derives. Practical experience buffing a large number of Awlgripped (not Awlcraft) painted hulls is that if you are careful to not burnish the top film coat, you can quickly restore the sheen by buffing. The problem is most people use either too much pressure, too aggressive a buffing polish or too much buffer speed and in so doing, destroy the outer layer.

Be careful, go slowly and practice on a small area to perfect your technique and you should do fine. Anyone who tells you it can't be done or shows you the poor results of trying simply did it wrong.
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Old 13-12-2010, 15:50   #7
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The shine from awlgrip is like a very thin clearcoat that rises to the surface of the coating and requires no buffing. In fact, buffing awlgrip that still has a little shine will only help a very short while, if at all, and then make it worse. After about 5 or 6 years Awlgrip looses a lot if not most of its shine. Then it looks a lot like old gelcoat. It also, at this point, becomes micropourous and looses most of its ability to shed stains. By ten years old it has done its job and really needs to be re done. Presumably the first time around a lot of fiberglass flaws were repaired and filled as well as proper prep / prime / sand etc. IF all was done well and still looks GREAT, except the shiny look, then restoring the surface and re priming is not necessary. This cuts the job in half. (and the price)

The surface just needs a good sanding with say...320 grit, to get a good bond. One must use "guidecoat" stain to be sure you don't miss a single square inch of the surface. (There is absolutely NO chemical bond to old LP paint, so the scuffing and proper solvent washing is important.) IF you could do the prep yourself, this cuts the remaining time and $ in thirds! The actual spraying is the easy part, and many pros will agree to do just that part. In this case however, they might not back the bond. If you do the prep right, and the paint is mixed right, it will hold up great.

Good luck, Mark
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Old 13-12-2010, 16:42   #8
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It sounds as if I will be better off repainting this hull.

Are there products that are better than awlgrip that will allow buffing to bring back the shiny for more longevity.

Are there products that can give a factory or spayed appearance even though they have been applied by hand. I would love to save the money on a paint job if I could do it myself, but I would not be able to live with a paint job that did not look professional.

Thanks
John
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Old 13-12-2010, 17:17   #9
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Here is the low down on Awlgrip. It is a polyester urethane and because of the nature of this chemistry, buffing will ruin what is left of the gloss. When people have success buffing a polyurethane paint, it is in the acrylic variation of the family. For US Paint(awlgrip) this is the Awlcraft 2000. This paint system can be wet sanded and buffed to a showroom finish. When you go to the boat show and see the big go fast boats, this is the paint system they use to get that quality of finish.
The good news is that you are in luck with the old paint that is on the boat since it is just dull and has no scratches or damage. To test what it can look like, just wipe some water on a rag and see the shine before the water evaporates. If the color looks good, then all you need to do is apply a fresh coat of clear. This can be done with the Awlcraft 2000 and the results can be spectacular.

To refinish the boat, Clean it real good with soap and water, wipe it down with a solvent to remove oil and finger print residue. Next sand the surface with 320 grit. If you have a high quality DA sander, you can use a machine to prep the surface, otherwise, hand sand the old paint being careful not to break through the exist coating to the primer below. There is no need to prime the paint since the old paint acts like the primer. Roll the clear on the surface and then tip the bubbles out of the wet paint with a high quality brush. If you make a mistake such as a run, don't try to fix it during the paint job. Wait until it drys and then wet sand the run(imperfection) and buff to a high gloss. If you are getting a lot of orange peel with the clear, just keep adding coats until you have a good buildup of clear. You can then sand the orange peel out of the clear coat and buff the finish to a showroom finish.
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Old 13-12-2010, 18:13   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jcallis View Post
It sounds as if I will be better off repainting this hull.

Are there products that are better than awlgrip that will allow buffing to bring back the shiny for more longevity.
John,

Yes Awlcraft 2000 or Imron which are both acrylic urethanes as opposed to linear polyurethanes. Cleaning, wet sanding and clear coating over the existing finish will result in a beautiful finish IF the old finish is as you say only dull and not scratched.

Awlgrip, with proper care, can be shiny for well over 10 years but if not well cared for can be short lived. My friend Jerry's boats Awlgrip is going on 17 years old and has always been cared for with Awlcare and Awlwash and still looks like most 3 year old awlgrip jobs or virtually like new. His boat is kept at the Ocean Reef Club in Florida so even with baking sun it can last a long while IF well cared for and never buffed.

The only time you might ever consider buffing Awlgrip is when the paint is already toast and in need of a new paint job then you might be able to buy yourself another season and what do you have to lose.

The problem with Awlgrip is that the re-melt window temp is very short and the hard protective resin layer, very thin. When you are trying to buff Awlgrip it goes something like this;

cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, cold, just right, ruined...

Until it gets to the "just right" temp nothing really happens because it is so hard. Once you get there it is nearly impossible to maintain the "just right" temp even for a well trained pro so it is far to easy to spill over into the "ruined" category where you bust through to the pigment layer, which leaves it unprotected, and you a slave to it with Awlcare.

This was Imron, after buffing, at over 15 years old (I think 17 but can't be absolutely certain). Can't get away with that with most LPU paints. Acrylic urethanes are a touch softer but if you are careful with your hull it can last considerbaly longer because it can be polished and brought back.


I would try negotiating for a new paint job in the purchase price. Do not accept them "buffing" it as a fix.
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Old 13-12-2010, 18:14   #11
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To refinish the boat, Clean it real good with soap and water, wipe it down with a solvent to remove oil and finger print residue. Next sand the surface with 320 grit. If you have a high quality DA sander, you can use a machine to prep the surface, otherwise, hand sand the old paint being careful not to break through the exist coating to the primer below. There is no need to prime the paint since the old paint acts like the primer. Roll the clear on the surface and then tip the bubbles out of the wet paint with a high quality brush. If you make a mistake such as a run, don't try to fix it during the paint job. Wait until it drys and then wet sand the run(imperfection) and buff to a high gloss. If you are getting a lot of orange peel with the clear, just keep adding coats until you have a good buildup of clear. You can then sand the orange peel out of the clear coat and buff the finish to a showroom finish.[/QUOTE]


---and none of the above is easier to do, than with Dupont Imron.

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Old 13-12-2010, 19:16   #12
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I'm learning alot from this post. I like the idea of adding an awlcraft or imron clearcoat. Jamestown distributors sells it for $170 per gallon, and it sounds like I could sand the hull myself in a day or two, and them follow up with a few coats of clear. It was mentioned that if there was a run I could wetsand and buff it out, but is buffing necessary if it goes on smooth.

I think I would also try to get enough coats on so in the future I could buff and polish any minor nicks or scratches.

Thanks Again
John
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Old 13-12-2010, 20:06   #13
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You might consider doing all the prep work and just paying a pro to shoot it. I know a few yards that do that here. There was a woman around here that was deadly with Awlgrip. She only showed up and sprayed. The secret is partly in the spray technique but mostly in adjusting the mix to compensate for the current weather. The haul and the prep work is what adds up on a pro paint job. It's not hard with a little guidance to do that work yourself.

In the world of boat colors that last a long time the very worst is dark green, followed by flag blue. Anything that goes toward a red pigment can not be covered over due to the iron in the pigment and will bleed.

Never negotiate a paint job on a purchase. Get the money instead and you have the boat painted your way. No seller should agonize if you will like the paint job or not.
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Old 15-12-2010, 03:47   #14
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My 38 foot boat has a linear polyurethane paint finish (not Awlgrip) which still looks like new after 8 years. After washing I hand polish the topsides once a year with microfibre cloth and 3M Marine Color/Gloss Restorer.
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Old 15-12-2010, 04:54   #15
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The last boat I painted I used an "Concept" acrylic urethane by PPG. After 10 years I've had to use polishing compound on it once, and that caused it to look better than the day it was painted. The boat gets waxed once a year and with almost 15 years on the paint job, it still looks great. Pricey paint @ almost $300.00 per gallon, but given the longevity of the paint, it's probably considered affordable once you get over the initial sticker shock. This paint can only be applied correctly with spray equipment.

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