View Full Version : Restoring Gelcoat. Rubbing Compound - will it strip decals?

05-25-2008, 05:45 PM
I would like to get that shine back to an old boat I just purchased... It's a 1979 Stars/Stripes and it has some heavy oxidation on the transom but the rest of the boat looks okay...

I was thinking of doing the following to the ENTIRE boat but didn't know if it would strip my decals off or not.

In order of application:

1.) 3M Super Duty Rubbing Compound

2.) 3M Finesse-it II

3.) 3M Marine Color/Gloss Restorer

4.) 3M Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax

Is it a bad idea to go to town on the whole boat with the rubbing compound if it doesn't have bad oxidation??? Will rubbing compound strip the decals off???

I am new to this and just looking to get the boat to shine again.

Thanks as always...

05-25-2008, 06:09 PM
rubbing compound can. Are you using a high speed which i think you will have to? My advice is do the whole boat and put some serious elbow grease into it around the decals.....

05-25-2008, 06:34 PM
So the compound CAN strip the decals? I saw where Brian restored his stars/stripes on here with photos after the 3M super duty and it looked GREAT. He did mention he went slow around the decals and didn't apply pressure...

Yes, I will be buying either an orbital or buffer for the project.

Do the products above look adequate? Am I missing any steps? What about a cleaner? Will I need to clean after the rubbing compound or finesse-it? Would water be sufficient?

Looking forward to the finished product and I WILL TAKE PICTURES AND START A REFINISH PROGRESS THREAD for you all to waste time on... I know I have spent probably 3 or 4 hrs just reading similar threads on the forum here...

05-25-2008, 06:36 PM
The compound and then that finesse should do it. the finesse really does work some magic. Just make sure you are using the correct cloth to apply each....and im not sure which goes to what.

05-25-2008, 11:02 PM
Can I use an orbital buffer or do I need a fixed rotational buffer?

I guess the orbital buffer will leave less "swirl" marks, but will it work well with the rubbing compound?


05-26-2008, 12:21 AM
I bought a cheap circular buffer (http://www.harborfreight.com/cpi/ctaf/displayitem.taf?Itemnumber=90820) from Harbor Freight to do mine this winter. I don't think the orbital would work well with the rubbing compound (I used Meguiar's #44, with some #49 on the transom that was really bad).

You have to assume that the abrasive compounds will damage your decals; it started removing the pinstripes around the edge of mine. Fortunately, C36 and I had made a deal, and I had some nice replacements on hand. If you're very careful, you could polish around the decals, or perhaps you could put masking tape over them as protection.