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Author Topic:   Solvents an Gelcoat
aquaman posted 10-28-2005 03:10 PM ET (US)   Profile for aquaman   Send Email to aquaman  
What solvents are safe on Gelcoat? After hand stripping Rhino Lining from the inside of my boat a residue remains. Any ideas on what might desolve this lining and not harm the gelcoat??? The likely suspects are laquer thinner, acetone and MEK although as I remember MEK will damage the gelcoat.

Thanks,

John

davej14 posted 10-28-2005 03:26 PM ET (US)     Profile for davej14  Send Email to davej14     
I have had to clean up the transom several times when repositioning my motor. The local marine mechanic I use for help always uses a spray can of carburator cleaner and it works great. He said that he has never had a problem with damage to the gel coat. It cost less about $1/can at Walmart.
Tom W Clark posted 10-28-2005 06:31 PM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
John,

The carburetor cleaner idea might be a good one. I have always used acetone. Do not believe those who tell you acetone with dissolve the gel coat on a Boston Whaler. This is not true. I speak from substantial personal experience here.

rtk posted 10-28-2005 07:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
Acetone and the laquer thinner will not harm the gelcoat as Tom mentioned. MEK I don't know, never worked with it. I don't know if the solvents mentioned will remove the Rhino Lining either.

A Scotch Brite pad, or something similar with the acetone or laquer thinner may get it off. Just make sure the pad is not eaten up by the solvents before you try it on the gelcoat.

Rich

aquaman posted 10-28-2005 10:28 PM ET (US)     Profile for aquaman  Send Email to aquaman     
Guys,

Thanks for the reply's, any idea's about xylene???

John

aquaman posted 10-28-2005 11:53 PM ET (US)     Profile for aquaman  Send Email to aquaman     
A scotch brite pad and laquer thinner seemed to work the best on smooth surfaces so far. The thinner didn't disolve the pad. I used a small very fine wire brush with laquer thinner on the non-skid and that worked well too. I tried carb cleaner and xylene with no success. Tomorrow I'll get acetone and see how that works. Didn't have the guts to try MEK yet, I think it might soften the gelcoat...
Tom W Clark posted 10-29-2005 03:00 AM ET (US)     Profile for Tom W Clark  Send Email to Tom W Clark     
John,

Xylene won't hurt the gel coat either but it is not as aggressive as acetone nor as volatile. The smell is much more persistent too.

The one thing xylene is really good for is cleaning white vinyl like the rod holder lips on the classic RPS or windshield glass molding on a Nauset/Sakonnet/Eastport. It will clean the white vinyl without really attacking and dissolving it like acetone or lacquer thinner will.

Binkie posted 10-29-2005 07:32 AM ET (US)     Profile for Binkie  Send Email to Binkie     

I`ve always found that Xylene will do the same job that laquer thinner will do, except it doesn`t evaporate as fast, so less is needed. Ive never used MEK, but I read that its a cancer causing agent, and it`s used as an ingrediant in some 2-part polyurithane and epoxy paints.
swist posted 10-29-2005 09:11 AM ET (US)     Profile for swist  Send Email to swist     
Both xylene and MEK are nasty things. If you can avoid them and use acetone instead you will be much better off.

Every once in a while someone suggests that acetone is bad stuff, but those reports are always dismissed - after all women have been removing nail polish with acetone for a century and no one has found any ill effects. Although obviously it is still a volatile hydrocarbon and inhaling too much, or ingesting any at all, is bad....

tarbaby posted 10-29-2005 08:29 PM ET (US)     Profile for tarbaby  Send Email to tarbaby     
Acetone is good for cleaning IF you wipe on and wipe off.

All of you that say that acetone will not harm gelcoat: Go get a rag soak it in acetone and lay it on the deck of YOUR Whaler and come back in 4 minutes. I assure you you will say that acetone is harmful to gelcoat.

Don't do it. I promise that it does harm gelcoat and I have the scar to prove it!!
Shay

rtk posted 10-30-2005 08:08 AM ET (US)     Profile for rtk  Send Email to rtk     
If you left a puddle of most cleaning supplies or solvents on gelcoat for multiple minutes, it will probably damage it, or at least stain it.

Acetone will not damage the gelcoat if used properly. Form a puddle of it on a gelcoat surface you may damage it.

Added Disclaimer to Using Acetone on Gelcoat: Acetone is ok to use on gelcoat as long as you don't form a small lake of it and let it sit on the surface for an extended period of time, or soak rags with acetone and let that sit on the surface for extended periods of time. Why anyone would do that I don't know. Also, use alot of ventilation, the fumes will chew you up. Don't smoke around the stuff unless you want to know what it is like to be on fire. Probably not a great idea to put it in your coffee, either. The stuff is poisonous.

You do have to be careful using acetone on newly applied gelcoat. Acetone may damage new gelcoat if it has not hardened for an adequate amount of time.

If the acetone is not getting all the Rhino Lining off, some "Wil-Bond" or brush cleaner may get that paint off, but be very careful- test the surface first.

Rich

aquaman posted 10-30-2005 09:49 PM ET (US)     Profile for aquaman  Send Email to aquaman     
The acetone is working great with a scotch brite on the smooth finish and a very fine-wire brush on the non skid. It will be a big job to get it all cleaned up but I've got all winter.

Thanks for all of the suggestions...

John

PeteB88 posted 10-31-2005 06:53 AM ET (US)     Profile for PeteB88  Send Email to PeteB88     
Why don't you contact Spectrum or some other gel coat manufacturer? I respect the experiences of fellow forum members but why guess?
goinboatn posted 11-02-2005 01:14 PM ET (US)     Profile for goinboatn  Send Email to goinboatn     
NMP is what you need. It is not to harsh just let it sit for a few min and wipe. Rhino guy might have it- Line-X guy will have it.

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