Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Repair or modification of Boston Whaler boats, their engines, trailers, and gear
Wyowanderer
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Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby Wyowanderer » Wed Oct 03, 2018 10:38 am

I want to revitalize my 17-foot Boston Whaler boat that I just purchased. This 1988 boat has not been on the water in 10 years, but was covered and is in great shape. I would like to make it shine again.

[Seeks] any ideas [on how to make a 1988 Boston Whaler 17-foot boat shine], and will greatly appreciate them. Thank you.

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Phil T
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Re: Revitalizing my 1988 17' BW

Postby Phil T » Wed Oct 03, 2018 1:27 pm

After you wash the boat, using a standard garden hose and a basic cleaner like Simple Green, wipe your finger across the dry gelcoat in several places. Is there a chalky substance on your finger tip?

The answer will help with specific cleaning techniques and product recommendations.
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1992 Outrage 17, 1992 Evinrude 115

jimh
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby jimh » Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:14 pm

Obtaining a shine finish on a gel coat resin involves these steps:
  • wash thoroughly and remove all dirt and stains
  • remove gel coat surface layer oxidation (if present) with mild abrasives and restorers
  • wash
  • restore gel coat oil content with additional restorer oils if needed
  • polish with successively less abrasive compounds to desired smoothness, gloss, and reflectivity
  • wash
  • apply heavy paste wax
  • buff to desired lustre

The above procedure assumes there are no repairs of any kind needed. For a boat made in 1988 and used presumably for at least 20 years of its 30-year age, it would be very unusual that the gel coat is completely intact and has no damage visible anywhere. Any visible damage would need to be repaired before attempting to restore a shine finish.

The gel coat resin layer is not very thick. The gel coat resin layer may be about 0.020-inches thick. To remove oxidation, only a very thin amount of gel coat resin should be removed.

Wyowanderer
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby Wyowanderer » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:20 pm

Thank you. This is very helpful.

Wyowanderer
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Re: Revitalizing my 1988 17' BW

Postby Wyowanderer » Wed Oct 03, 2018 8:22 pm

Phil T wrote:After you wash the boat, using a standard garden hose and a basic cleaner like Simple Green, wipe your finger across the dry gelcoat in several places. Is there a chalky substance on your finger tip?

The answer will help with specific cleaning techniques and product recommendations.


Thank you I will let you know if the chalky substance remains. Weekend project.

dleopoldi914
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby dleopoldi914 » Sun Oct 07, 2018 4:01 pm

For hard to remove stains scrub on some [Barkeeper's Friend (a product name)] and leave for 15-minutes; then wash off. I was amazed at all the staining that was gone after that.

The other is 3M compound and a buffing wheel.

Follow it up with fleetwax.

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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby jimh » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:50 pm

dleopoldi914 wrote:The other is 3M compound and a buffing wheel.

I am not following you here. What is "the other" in reference to? Another way to remove tough stains?

What is the actual 3M product you are recommending for this? Please give the product name.


dleopoldi914 wrote:Follow it up with fleetwax.

I am not sure what you mean to say here. What is the process that immediately precedes the application of "fleetwax"?

By "fleetwax" do you mean to refer to Collinite No. 885 Fleetwax Paste?

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CCDave
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby CCDave » Fri Oct 12, 2018 1:09 pm

I've found that the Magic Eraser sponges work real well for getting rid of oxidation on the hull.

Dave

vze2gbs4
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby vze2gbs4 » Tue Oct 16, 2018 12:42 am

Tried many. Had hulls that were never loved by previous owner that looked like all hope was lost .By far the best results I got from 3 M fiberglass restorer and wax (blue label ).Easy to apply , easy to rub and wipe . Results are stunning .Trick is to use old towels cut in 1 X 1 foot sections and change them often.Polish with old t shirt . Once you try this one you won't bother with anything else.Take this from guy who polished hundreds and hundreds of hulls .

TFrere
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby TFrere » Tue Oct 16, 2018 10:26 pm

That’s good information but when I look it up, the blue label is Cleaner Wax. The green label is the Restorer Wax. Are you using the cleaner wax?
1985 15’ Sport with Yamaha F70

vze2gbs4
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby vze2gbs4 » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:51 am

Yes Blue label-Cleaner and wax-I used green once - didn't like it at all

dtmackey
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby dtmackey » Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:23 pm

Not trying to take this off-topic, but for a badly oxidized hull I'll share my experience.

18 year old Nordic Tug, green hull which the boatyard no longer offered to buff the hull since they said the gloss was gone and could not be restored. They wanted to Awlgrip the boat and quotes came in far too high.

This is after year 2 of not doing anything before I decided to invest some time and see if I could bring it back.

Image

First I washed the hull to remove the dirt and then used the 3M Fiberglass rubbing compound with a Makita professional buffer. This material has heavy cut and will get through the oxidized gelcoat down to good material. So this was a machine apply and machine buff out. Separate pads used for each apply/buff.

Next was followed with a light cut finishing compound and this is where the color really comes back. Applied with the polisher and buffed out afterwards. Separate pads for apply/buff

For wax I use Mother's pure carnuba and hand apply and machine buff out. This is quick and easy and my favorite part of the process since I know I'm nearing the end.

So this is what the hull looks like when done. This was year 2 and the amount of time is greatly reduced since I'm not trying to "cut" my way down to good gelcoat.

Image

When applying compound with a machine, the pad will cake up and it loses it's effectiveness. There's a tool for under $10 that cleans the pads in seconds and looks like spurs.

D-

dleopoldi914
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Re: Restoring Shine Finish to Gel Coat Resin

Postby dleopoldi914 » Thu Oct 25, 2018 9:08 am

jimh wrote:
dleopoldi914 wrote:The other is 3M compound and a buffing wheel.

I am not following you here. What is "the other" in reference to? Another way to remove tough stains?

What is the actual 3M product you are recommending for this? Please give the product name.


dleopoldi914 wrote:Follow it up with fleetwax.

I am not sure what you mean to say here. What is the process that immediately precedes the application of "fleetwax"?

By "fleetwax" do you mean to refer to Collinite No. 885 Fleetwax Paste?


There are two methods I remove stains with. One is the scrub on barkeepers friend and let sit for 20 minutes. Then hose off. Then put some wax because it will remove wax.

The second method is use acetone first and clean the area, then use a hose to wash it off, then super duty rubbing compound with a wheel, then use fleetwax 870 to wax the area. SImply rub on to a nice layer then rub off.