View Full Version : Need buffing steps

04-21-2011, 01:43 PM
'99 Maristar 230

Ok so I've done this before, but this one is a little worse than I've ever done. The color(blue) has faded to almost a grey color in most spots. I know that it will need buffing, and I'm assuming it will need to be wet sanded first as well. Would it be ok to use a DA sander to wet sand or would by hand be the best way(that would take forever though). Also what grit would you experienced with this start out with? I've got the buffer and pads, and I only use 3m products for compounds and polishes so I'm familiar with that part of the process.

Also the boat has some pretty good scratches in some spots. Not all the way through the color though. Is this something that i could sand down and buff back? Or should I used some sort of colored wax when done just to help hide them? Any other suggestions?

04-21-2011, 02:04 PM
Search around, there's a tone of threads on this

04-21-2011, 02:22 PM
I'm in the middle of this right now on my '88 Prostar. I recommend picking an area like the transom and starting in a 2x2 area to determine what your approach will be. My boat had been painted, and I started with 400 grit on a DA, wet. Not a good idea.

If I were starting on your boat, I'd start at 600 grit wet, avoid the DA. I'm not a big fan of sanding my nights away, so I was looking for an alternative, but there doesn't seem to be much of a safety zone when using a DA.

I am currently looking into 3M Imperial Compounding and Finishing material #06044. I will have it this weekend, and I'll let you know how it goes. It claims to be able to remove sanding scratches up to 800 grit, and I found on some other boating forums that it got rave reviews.

From this forum, you will find two main recommendations - Meguires's Fiberglass restoration kit has #49 for initial work, and #45 for finishing work, and a wax product for final polish. I tried it on my scratched, sanded transom and it gave a great polish, but didn't take out the 400 grid sanding marks - i'm going to have to start over there and see if i can work them out. I am hoping the 3M may be a bit more forgiving, but you'll have to stay tuned through the weekend for that.

The other line of thinking is to use 3M Finesse-It II. That product is built for automotive paint, and in general, the advice that i've seen go with it is start sanding at 600, then 800, then 1000, then 1500, then 3M Finesse-It II, and so on with a finishing and polish buff. That's too much work IMHO. The Meguires' method above comes off great after 800 grid wetsanding from all the photo's i've seen and commentary in the forums.

Hope that helps a bit. Let me know if you find a good way to DA wetsand the gelcoat - I wasn't able to find a combination that worked well and left me with satisfactory results.

Re: the scratches, if they aren't through the color, you can probably sand them down and buff them out, but you always risk leaving the gelcoat thin there when you do that. Still beats re-gelling it. I dont think colored wax is going to give you the kind of results you want on a boat.

04-21-2011, 02:36 PM
-Use 600 wet by hand on the scratches.(if you see any black specks start to appear while sanding STOP as you are starting to go through the color coat. The gel is pretty thick though so if you don't see black in your scratch you shouldn't have a problem)
-After that use 1000 wet until all of the 600 scratches are gone. Use the 1000 on the really badly oxidized spots as well.
-3M Super Duty Compound with a high Quality Wool pad with a circular polisher. This will take out all of the 1000 scratches and will take out the oxidation. You might do this step twice for best results.
-3M Finesse-It-II with a high quality foam pad with the circular to bring back all of the shine
-High Quality Carnuba Wax of your choice with a foam pad on a random orbit. i do this twice as well.

The Super Duty Compound will take out some serious oxidation so I would try that first before deciding you have to wet sand the entire thing.

I have done multiple boats with this process either entire boats or just to remove scratches. Turns out like butter.

04-21-2011, 02:59 PM
Mine was pretty badly faded, but I couldn't bring myself to sand. I bought a cheap circular polisher from Harbor Freight, threw some Meguiars #49 Oxidation remover on it, and it cleaned right up. Used some #44 to shine it up nicely, then some polish. Other manufacturers have similar heavy cut/light cut compounds. Anyway, I have no complaints about this.

If it hadn't cleaned up nicely, I was planning on doing the wet sanding thing.


04-23-2011, 01:29 PM
I was told by my fiberglass guy that while compounding will bring back the shine the oxidation will eventually return. The only true way to prevent this is to wetsand. Thats what I did using BrianM's method above and the results are fantastic.