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Old 04-05-2008, 17:39   #16
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Wow, I wrote down Acoustic's ideas and will use it on my just done 30 year old hull. Use the blue stuff and it looks better but is far from great. Any suggestions for what to clean up my stainless and aluminum mast with?
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Old 04-05-2008, 18:15   #17
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Wow, I wrote down Acoustic's ideas and will use it on my just done 30 year old hull. Use the blue stuff and it looks better but is far from great. Any suggestions for what to clean up my stainless and aluminum mast with?
Collinite makes a metal polish (it's brown colored) that works well on stainless and leaves a layer of wax to help retard further corrosion. I have not used it on aluminum since my last mast was painted.

Acoustic's method *will* take a 30 year old boat and make it look like almost new. This is the only way to get your boat looking good, no matter what anyone with a "miracle polish" tells you. It's hard work, and there is no substitute if you want that showroom shine.
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Old 04-05-2008, 19:00   #18
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Collinite makes a metal polish (it's brown colored) that works well on stainless and leaves a layer of wax to help retard further corrosion. I have not used it on aluminum since my last mast was painted.

Acoustic's method *will* take a 30 year old boat and make it look like almost new. This is the only way to get your boat looking good, no matter what anyone with a "miracle polish" tells you. It's hard work, and there is no substitute if you want that showroom shine.

Wow I can't believe this thread popped up again..

For the doubters here's some more evidence..

So exactly how much oxidation and abuse of gelcoat is too much abuse? How do you know when it's to far gone to restore it?

The reason I ask is because I see LOTS of gelcoated boats being painted, in the same color for that matter, that could have clearly been "restored" for thousands less. With the price of Awlgrip hull work between $150.00 to $300.00 per foot depending on prep work required why don't more folks re-condition gelcoat?

To show what can be done I needed a primo abuse case and I found one. A neighbor of mine had a 9 foot sailing dinghy that has been sitting upside down, uncovered and unprotected for the last 19 years. His kids now grown and gone last used it in the late 80's.

I have yet to find a fiberglass hull I can't make shine yet I hear many complain that gelcoat can't be restored at a certain point. While that may be true,I have yet to find that point.. I'm now restoring it for my daughter..

The steps in the picture only involved a pressure washing of the hull then wet sanded beginning at P600 then moved to P1000. I then busted out my buffer and began compounding. I used a 3M wool compounding grade pad, Makita 9227C buffer and Presta Ultra Cutting Creme compound..

As you can see even the MOST neglected gel coat can shine again. There is no wax and I have not yet polished it this is just wash wet sand and compounded..

Before:

After:

Before and After:
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Old 05-05-2008, 11:54   #19
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Acoustic, you've done a beautiful job there.

I suspect there are a couple of reasons why folks spend big bucks on painting instead of thousand-grit wetsanding on larger boats though.

First, good salesmanship by painters.[g]

Second, gelcoat, like a teak veneer, has a limited thickness. And most commercial waxes contain an abrasive. As the gelcoat chalks and literally falls off from UV damage and too much abrasives, it reaches a point where it is simply GONE. It can't be restored forever. Or rather, it can be "restored" but that literally means applying new gelcoat--or paint. (Excuse me, they call it "coatings" now.)

I suspect the labor bill for properly wet-sanding a larger hull would be twice the price of painting it, making the 'coating' cheaper than a hand sanding like you've done. And if some monkey sands too far--there's no repairing the loss. As opposed to paint, where you can either sand it down, or spray another coat.

All the more reason to use a product like Collinite, who claim there are no abrasives or fillers like so many of the cheap auto waxes have.
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Old 05-05-2008, 16:28   #20
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Acoustic, you've done a beautiful job there.

I suspect there are a couple of reasons why folks spend big bucks on painting instead of thousand-grit wetsanding on larger boats though.

First, good salesmanship by painters.[g]

Second, gelcoat, like a teak veneer, has a limited thickness. And most commercial waxes contain an abrasive. As the gelcoat chalks and literally falls off from UV damage and too much abrasives, it reaches a point where it is simply GONE. It can't be restored forever. Or rather, it can be "restored" but that literally means applying new gelcoat--or paint. (Excuse me, they call it "coatings" now.)

I suspect the labor bill for properly wet-sanding a larger hull would be twice the price of painting it, making the 'coating' cheaper than a hand sanding like you've done. And if some monkey sands too far--there's no repairing the loss. As opposed to paint, where you can either sand it down, or spray another coat.

All the more reason to use a product like Collinite, who claim there are no abrasives or fillers like so many of the cheap auto waxes have.
Let's see I've restored over 80 gelcoated hulls and have yet to "burn through" gelcoat. It's surprisingly thick, resilient and take quite a bit more than rubbing compound or the occasional wet sanding to chew through it. That dinghy is a 1962 and the decks of my boat are 1979 I just polished up the cabin sides a few weeks ago, while installing new portlights, and the gelcoat is still about four times thicker than Awlgrip or Imron..

P.S. I can do a P600 and P1000 wet sand on a 30 footer in about 6-8 hours. My boat yard charges $55.00 per hour labor. A wet sand for a 30 footer should be under $500.00 and a total recondition of the gel coat less than 1k. It's about 6-9k to Awlgrip that same vessel..

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1979 After:
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Old 06-05-2009, 17:15   #21
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Maine Sail,
Thank you for this write-up. We bought a boat 2 years ago and it had heavy oxidation. The hull is a blue and towards the bow it was very chaulky.. Last season being a newbie I used what the guys at the boat store recommended which was "3m restorer/wax". After application it had a nice shine..... but 2 weeks in the water and it was dull again. So this year im glad I read your write-up. I didn't do the wet sand but I started with 3m heavy duty compound. I finish the stage in 6 hours on a 36' sail boat. Another 6 hour for 3m finesse it II. It already looks amazing. My dad is very impressed on how it's coming out. Next step is the glaze and wax. Due a rib injury I started late this year and the boat may be in the water before I get a chance to wax?

Is the waxing stage do-able in the water??

and again thanks for your write-up it has made our boat brand new.
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Old 28-05-2009, 08:15   #22
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MS,
Thanks for all the info you have given us! I have tried your method on a section of my 1982 LN41 and am astounded at the results. But I have a question, how do you deal with the areas that you can't get a buffer into? ie: between cleats or winches, behind shrouds and chainplates and between the caprail and deck?

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Sailing in Ohio for now.....
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Old 13-11-2009, 18:33   #23
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polishing

Main Sail, I read your article and went out today and bought a variable speed buffer. I am wondering how fast should I set it to polish or compound? I tried a small spot of finesse it to bring out more shine and could not get good results - I assume operator error. I used a wool finishing pad. I also tried applying polish directly to the boat and directly to the pad. Tried slow and fast...?
Bill
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Old 14-11-2009, 16:11   #24
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Every bottle of 3M compound and polish that I have - has the recommended speeds on the back.
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Old 14-11-2009, 17:49   #25
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Every bottle of 3M compound and polish that I have - has the recommended speeds on the back.
Yes but do be careful because those speeds assume you are a pro and know what you are doing. Until you have a feel for it "bottle speeds" need to be given good caution..
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Old 17-01-2012, 12:55   #26
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This is by far the best and most informative thread I have found so far about getting my 30 year old fiberglass trawler shiny again. I haven't been able to start yet but I'm confident I will get good results following this thread. Besides the finesse-it, are there any other recommended types or brands of polish to use? I haven't seen online where to get smaller amounts of this polish. I only need enough to do a 30ft boat, unless I just am not understanding the amount I will truly need...

Thanks!
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Old 17-01-2012, 13:37   #27
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pirate Re: Tips For A Great Buff / Wax (Long)

I don't know if they have it in the State's but there's something in the UK called T-Cut... its a liquid cutter/polisher paste used in the car trade and available in small tins in DIY store's...
I've had good results on both GRP topsides (cream) and Awlgrip hull (Dark Green)... and that was by hand.. 31ftr.
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Old 21-05-2012, 21:35   #28
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Re: Tips For A Great Buff / Wax (Long)

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Last season being a newbie I used what the guys at the boat store recommended which was "3m restorer/wax". After application it had a nice shine..... but 2 weeks in the water and it was dull again. So this year im glad I read your write-up. I didn't do the wet sand but I started with 3m heavy duty compound. I finish the stage in 6 hours on a 36' sail boat. Another 6 hour for 3m finesse it II. It already looks amazing. My dad is very impressed on how it's coming out. Next step is the glaze and wax.
I had the same problem you had with the 3M Restorer/Wax... Looked great then dull in a couple of weeks. I just finished a full 3M Heavy Duty Compound today and plan on finishing the 3M Finesse It II tomorrow.

I thought the Finesse It II was considered the glaze? I was going to finish with a hand Fleet Wax after the Finesse... Did I miss something or were you going an extra step?

Thanks,

Gene
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Old 22-05-2012, 09:09   #29
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Re: Tips For A Great Buff / Wax (Long)

Gene, 3M has an extensive line of products and they've been mainly sold to the trade, not the consumer market. But you should find 3M's toll-free number on the back of each label, and they can and will get a tech on phone, not just a script-reader but someone who knows the products and applications and can tell you exactly what will best suit your needs. Great folks to work with.

Lots of products on the market, probably some cheaper than 3M, but they're a solid company to work with.
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Old 23-05-2012, 08:44   #30
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Re: Tips For A Great Buff / Wax (Long)

Maine Sail, good tips for restoring gel. Our yard has also restored a great many hulls, sometimes even for clients who came in looking for paint. We guide coat and use 5" DA film discs for the wet sanding, which we do dry. You can get film discs out to 2000 now. 2 guys and some scaffolds can do a 50' hull in less than a work day like this, and the guide coat prevents "holidays" or blow through. Makes it easy for even our most inexperienced laborers. A true guide coat is needed or gumming will occur, leading to swirlies. The best reason for a variable speed buffer is that fixed speedmodels run at too high an RPM, most products call for 800-1200, which is much slower than a fixed speed. I often see owners burning their gel and causing swirlies with the cheaper model because their RPM is too high.
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