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Author Topic:   Cleaning & Polishing Gelcoat
browning20ga posted 07-16-2001 12:23 AM ET (US)   Profile for browning20ga   Send Email to browning20ga  
I just bought my first whaler (13' Sport) what do you recomend for cleaning and polishing the hull? I'd guess that the luster is about 50% of what a new hull would be.
Bigshot posted 07-16-2001 01:01 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
Get a 7" polisher/buffer from sears($50)and some good rubbing compound(3m). Then buff and do coats of wax. If the compound does not cut it, try 1000 grit wetsand then compound. If you do it by hand it will take 5 times as long and not come out half as good.
ledfoot posted 07-16-2001 04:43 PM ET (US)     Profile for ledfoot  Send Email to ledfoot     
When buffing, be very careful on the edges of the gelcoat; best to put tape on all corners, feature lines etc to avoid polishing thru. Go slowly and carefully, but keep the buffer moving at all times. Use 3m rubbing compound, and wet the pad slightly. next step is called 3M Microfinishing compound, followed by 3M Finesse It. Follow that up with Meguires #9 and then wax. This will be a professional result.
Bigshot posted 07-16-2001 05:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
man you must have a lot of time:)
lhg posted 07-16-2001 07:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
With gelcoat buffing, it's important to use the LEAST abrasive material that will do the job. I have found that rarely is anything coarser than Meguires #44, or equivalent, needed.

I have always thought that 3M microfinishing compound and Finesse-it II were one and the same thing. BW directly recommends this as a last step before pure waxing. Try Collonites's Pure Boat Wax, or Fleetwax. You'll love it.

browning20ga posted 07-17-2001 12:10 AM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
Thanks for all the info and the tape on the edges sounds like a great trick
Bigshot posted 07-17-2001 09:57 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
not really necessary to tape gelcoat, pretty tough stuff. Cars, yes if you are not good with a buffer, boats, Nah.
ledfoot posted 07-17-2001 10:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for ledfoot  Send Email to ledfoot     
Microfinishing compound is very different from finesse-it; Microfinish has a very slight grit to it (rub it between 2 fingersto tell), while finesse-it is totally smooth. After reading the first email again, I would try skipping the rubbing compound step. I agree with Ihg about starting with the least abrasive as a test and working your way up. Time and effort is the ONLY way to make paint or gelcoat look good. Generally there are no shortcuts, just stop when you're happy with the finish.
p.s. apply the Meguires #9 with an orbital buffer; this is what removes the swirl marks from the other steps.
browning20ga posted 07-18-2001 01:09 AM ET (US)     Profile for browning20ga  Send Email to browning20ga     
Thanks again, I'm amazed at all the expertize here, no B.S. just a lot of great information

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