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View Full Version : Buffing gelcoat to its original color?


jayderwin1
01-21-2006, 06:24 PM
i have 20 year old white MC and i removed the decals. i am having trouble matching the gelcoat anyone have any thoughts on what i should do? i have tried buffing with two different compounds no luck.

André
01-21-2006, 06:28 PM
It will be hard to match 20 years of sun fading.
Will you put back some original decals?

jayderwin1
01-21-2006, 06:35 PM
the only decals i want to put back are the one's that say Mastercraft and competition ski boat. i don't know if it is sun fading, its a yellowish color. if i can get the rest of the boat to look like it does were the decals use to be the boat would look brand new.

tph
01-21-2006, 08:15 PM
i have 20 year old white MC and i removed the decals. i am having trouble matching the gelcoat anyone have any thoughts on what i should do? i have tried buffing with two different compounds no luck.

I,ve had luck sanding with 1500 wet/dry sand paper then following up with 3M rubbing compound and Finess it (sp?) using a buffing pad. You might want to try a small, not so visible area, first.

jayderwin1
01-21-2006, 08:45 PM
do they have a compound that has a grit, a little more coarse maybe that i can use.

T Scott
01-21-2006, 09:32 PM
I have had good luck restoring gel coat using 3M fiberglass compounds. I have used 3M "Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover" found at Wal-Mart. I think what really does the trick is the buffer that I have. I use a Dewalt variable speed (1000-3000rpn) buffer. It is not an orbital buffer, it is a straight spinning type. An orbital buffer typically used for applying wax isn't strong enough to grind down a layer of gelcoat. For me, the Dewalt buffer was the best $150 I have spent in quite a while..

jayderwin1
01-22-2006, 12:00 AM
well i have been using a makita high speed buffer but i have not tried that buffing compound i will try that out thanks for the info

JEREMY79
01-22-2006, 08:24 PM
3M makes several diffrent compounds. The one you need that has extra grit is called "Extra Cut" it would be the best for that. Then I would use the, cant think of what it is called but the old part number is 5933. it is a rubbing compound.

Go to a auto body supply store (kind that sells to the body shops) and tell them what you are doing. They will be able to tell you what you want.

I second the DeWalt. I used to use mine everyday.

jayderwin1
01-22-2006, 11:12 PM
thanks Jeremy. have you used this stuff before? do you have to buff it again with a compound that has a finer grit before you wax it?

jeverett
01-22-2006, 11:32 PM
Have you considered wetsanding? Gel coat is should be about 22mils thick and if it has never been done before then chances are it is still that thick. My guess is that you are going to have to take it down pretty far to get rid of all that sun fading.

André
01-23-2006, 06:26 AM
Have you considered wetsanding? Gel coat is should be about 3/8" thick and if it has never been done before then chances are it is still that thick. My guess is that you are going to have to take it down pretty far to get rid of all that sun fading.
I think gelcoat is way way waaaaaaaaaay thinner then 3/8. :eek:

BriEOD
01-23-2006, 08:04 AM
Try these guys. They sell a gelcoat restorer kit that works great. However, you need a high speed orbital buffer.

Link (http://www.properautocare.com/gelcolaapgu.html)

Tom023
01-23-2006, 08:22 AM
Gelcoat is about 22 mils thick, so it's easy to buff through it on edges with a high speed buffer and compound, so be careful. If I have done this right, approximately 22 mils = 0.022 inches, for comparison 1mm = 0.039 inches.

stevo137
01-23-2006, 08:59 AM
Gelcoat is about 22 mils thick, so it's easy to buff through it on edges with a high speed buffer and compound, so be careful. If I have done this right, approximately 22 mils = 0.022 inches, for comparison 1mm = 0.039 inches.
Yep, 22 mils. It's one of the reasons that MC is better.
I had good results with my 88' using a high speed orbital and Meguiars Deep Oxidation Remover. Make sure that you don't use cheap pads, they can wear on the edges leaving the wheel exposed and cause damage.
Sometimes even though there is 22 mils of gelcoat, you may not be able to remove all of the oxidation.

JEREMY79
01-23-2006, 09:58 AM
IF you dont know what you are doing you will buff though it quicker than a cat can sneeze! you need to be careful. Yes it is a multi step process. I thought you knew you needed to wetsand. It will get rid of tiny scratchs and nicks, and oxidation. Then buff it. Just remember when you sand it you are making the gelcoat that much thinner.

jayderwin1
01-23-2006, 10:05 AM
Stevo i've tried the Meguiars Deep Oxidation Remover, it just wasn't cutting it. i might SOL, maybe have to find the original decals, or i can always go with the General Lee theme

Thrall
01-23-2006, 05:40 PM
3M makes several diffrent compounds. The one you need that has extra grit is called "Extra Cut" it would be the best for that. Then I would use the, cant think of what it is called but the old part number is 5933. it is a rubbing compound.

Go to a auto body supply store (kind that sells to the body shops) and tell them what you are doing. They will be able to tell you what you want.

I second the DeWalt. I used to use mine everyday.

After wet sanding, if needed, use 3M Imperial Microfinishing compound, designed to take out 1200 grit scratches (I've found a light 1500 grit sand first makes it go alot quicker). Then 3M Imperial microfinishing glaze to polish. Ona white/light colored surface that's about all you'll need to do.

JEREMY79
01-23-2006, 05:44 PM
dont forget to wax over the glaze, because glaze is water-based and will wash off first time it hits water

jayderwin1
01-23-2006, 05:53 PM
ok so i've tried wet sanding with 1500 grit it kind of works but it take a very long time. does the 3M extra cut work the same as the 1500 grit sand paper? i would rather be able to use the buffer instead of the wet sanding.

jayderwin1
01-23-2006, 05:54 PM
does the gel coat crack easier when its thinned out from sanding of buffing?

Hunterb
01-24-2006, 02:31 PM
I don't think so. Cracking us usually a result of stressing the structure somehow. I wet sanded my entire boat last winter. It was a lot of work. If you're finding the 1,500 grit is too fine, then start with a coarser grit. I started parts of my boat with 600. Get good paper and keep it really wet. Use a spray bottle in front of you to keep it soaked. Unfortunately I think you need to do this by hand for the best results. It takes a while but you can make it look nice again. My boat was seriously faded and it came up very nicely. I wouldn't worry about going too deep EXCEPT on the corners where you must be very careful.


Good luck !!

Bruce

jayderwin1
01-24-2006, 05:43 PM
Did you wet sand your boat to blend the color where you removed sticker or where you just trying to bring it back to original state? do you have any before and after pictures?

Hunterb
01-24-2006, 06:24 PM
I had intended on sanding the sides so the fading was not evident around the old decals but that turned out to be impossible as it was just too faded. As it turned out I sanded as much as I could deal with and then put the new decals on and unless you look really closely in the right light you can't see the old outlines. I could not get the original decal font so I was a bit worried about it but it was fine in the end. I sanded out some significant scratches on the back surface (between the back seat and the back of the boat) where it looked like someone had dragged a piece of plywood with nails sticking out of it across it. I was amazed at what I could sand out. I worked hard on the transom area and it came out very well. I have the teal on white colour scheme with the entire back of the boat (almost) in teal.

Like I said, I think it works best by hand. I used a small rubber backing pad and good wet/dry paper which I soaked for about an hour before use and then kept very wet and cleaned a lot. When I was done I had a perfect outline of the boat in the garage floor formed by gel-coat drippings. It is a long, very long, process to do the entire boat.

I would caution you about attempting to do a small area, like around the decals. I think it is an all or nothing process, as in do the whole side, back, bow, whatever, but don't try to do the area just around the decals.

Don't be scared to attack your boat with sandpaper. That might cause some people on this board to have a heart attack, but it's a great way to spruce up an older boat and combined with a good cut polish and wax after will give you excellent, long lasting results.

Sorry I don't have any good before and after pictures. You'll have to take my word for it :)

Bruce

jayderwin1
01-24-2006, 08:19 PM
yeah i am planning on sanding or buffing the whole boat.

Sodar
01-24-2006, 08:38 PM
Don't be scared, get after it and it will turn out awesome!

bfinley
01-24-2006, 09:37 PM
I did the same thing - don't be afraid to sand your boat. I used 300 grit to take care of deep gouges, it worked great. After the 300, I used 400, then 600, then 1000, then 1500, then rubbing compound, then finesse, and then wax. It was a lot of work (about 2 days), but turned out awesome.

jeverett
01-24-2006, 10:19 PM
Gelcoat is about 22 mils thick, so it's easy to buff through it on edges with a high speed buffer and compound, so be careful. If I have done this right, approximately 22 mils = 0.022 inches, for comparison 1mm = 0.039 inches.

Thanks for the clarification I don't know what I was thinking when I said 3/8, 22mils does ring a bell. It has been a long week already.

jayderwin1
01-25-2006, 06:10 PM
here are some pics of what i am working with. its hard to see the difference in color on the picture but you can see it in real life. i am also putting a couple of pictrures that a photo shopped a little, they're some ideas that i might try to do. let me know what you guys think.

Kevin 89MC
01-26-2006, 10:24 AM
Cool! Is that the one oddball year 1986? Did that boat style have a name? "Stars & Stripes" thru 1985, and ProStar from 1987 on, right? Anybody have any idea how many were produced? Is it much different than a 1985 other than the graphics? Did MC actually call the boats up thru 1985 "stars & stripes", or is that just a commonly used nickname?

Nice pics! Boat looks to be in good shape. Not sure if keeping the graphics "original" will add any value (but maybe??), so you could do something really unique. Keep us posted, one of these years I'm going to redo mine, it's pretty faded.
Good luck!

Sodar
01-26-2006, 12:22 PM
Hey Jay, I dont mean to threadjack, but are your fenders painted or gelcoated black? If they are painted have you had any problems with chipping or peeling? I am debating whether to have my fenders painted or re-gelcoated. Thanks!

jayderwin1
01-26-2006, 05:20 PM
Sodar Ski 73 The fenders are painted i actuallly just redid the trailer a couple of weeks ago. they are holing up just fine. this is the second time i redid the fenders, so i had paint on them for a year and didn't have any problems other than when i painted them the primer and paint did mix very well and caused a reptile effect.

Kevin 89 MC it is a 1986, i don't think it really had a name other than 19 skier, its exactly the same as the 1985 stars and stripes the only difference is that rainbow decal that put on there, not quite sure what they were thinking with that idea.