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Author Topic:   small cracks in gelcoat
will posted 07-10-2001 03:02 PM ET (US)   Profile for will  
what is the best way to fix very small cracks in gelcoat?
Bigshot posted 07-10-2001 03:42 PM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
liquid gel coat. About $5 a tube at local west marine, etc.
lhg posted 07-10-2001 05:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for lhg    
First you will have to open them up a bit, by scraping a "v", about a 1/16" deep, with a can opener. Then fill with gelcoat, then wet sand the entire area, beginning with 320, and ending up with 2000.
hardensheetmetal posted 07-10-2001 10:46 PM ET (US)     Profile for hardensheetmetal  Send Email to hardensheetmetal     
I just got done doing this to a 1970 13' Sport. I used a Dremel tool with a pointed bit to (carefully) gouge out the path of the crack. I then cleaned them and filled with Spectrum Gelcoat. Then wetsanded with progressively lighter grit, then compounded. My only comment on the whole process is that if you are doing this to a Whaler with a blue interior, be prepared to do some experimenting to get the right color. I did not use Spectrums tint kit, instead I mixed small amounts of Whaler exterior white with the blue to get the closest match I could. I guess what I am trying to say is, if you can get away with just wet sanding the crack, don't dig it out and fill it, as the result may not be so much better than what you started with.


JimU posted 07-16-2001 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
Dremel tool is great for this. I restored a battered 1970 Fish and Wildlife whaler and the dremel tool was was essential. JIM
L A posted 07-16-2001 12:05 PM ET (US)     Profile for L A  Send Email to L A     
While repairing cracks near rub rail I noticed rust leaking from the crack, is there a steel reinforcement at the hull joint? Also, did you guys wet sand surrounding area first before filling with the gel coat paste? Thanks L A
bdolnik posted 07-16-2001 03:51 PM ET (US)     Profile for bdolnik  Send Email to bdolnik     
When filling these small hairline cracks and spider webs how do you know when to use an epoxy like the West System or just straight gellcoat? I'm getting ready to start this same type project and was thinking I would have to use the epoxy first, and then color with gelcoat or paint?


JimU posted 07-16-2001 04:48 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
I used the epoxy first, then sanded flush with surrounding surface. Tape off the area you're repairing so that you control the area you are sanding and repairing. Leave the tape until you're ready to feather out the gel coat with wet sand 1200 grit. JIM
JimU posted 07-16-2001 04:50 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
PS get the West system manual for specifics. It's a great help. Good Luck. JIM
Hank posted 07-16-2001 07:39 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hank  Send Email to Hank     
I have a similar question to Bryan's. My console is peppered with holes. It seems the previous owner attached and removed lots of equipment from the top of the console. I'm considering filling the holes scant with epoxy using masking tape as a backing.I would like to then cover the holes with gelcoat.

My question: What do I do to assure the gelcoat adheres to the epoxy.


L A posted 07-17-2001 10:15 AM ET (US)     Profile for L A  Send Email to L A     
Apparently gel coat will not adhere directly to epoxy, the Mini Craft of Fl people suggest using a vinyl ester fairing primer, or you could fill the holes with a fiberglass putty made with chopped mat and resin.
L A posted 07-17-2001 10:27 AM ET (US)     Profile for L A  Send Email to L A     
JimU, did the gel coat stick directly to the epoxy?, if so it would save a step.
L A posted 07-17-2001 10:39 AM ET (US)     Profile for L A  Send Email to L A     
JimU, did the gel coat stick directly to the epoxy?, if so it would save a step.
Bigshot posted 07-17-2001 11:20 AM ET (US)     Profile for Bigshot  Send Email to Bigshot     
My console top had sooo many holes on my 76 that I just covered it with white nonslip tape. Looked great and kinda factory.
jimh posted 07-17-2001 11:59 AM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Gelcoat will stick to epoxy, but you have to remove the amine blush. The only solvent that removes amine blush is plenty of soap and water. Acetone and others do not remove it.
JimU posted 07-17-2001 04:19 PM ET (US)     Profile for JimU  Send Email to JimU     
What jimh said. JimU
Chesapeake posted 07-17-2001 04:59 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
You can also sand away the anine blush if you are so inclined.

West epoxy tends to cure with such a hard and smooth surface, sanding with a medium grit also provides an opportunity for increased "structural" grip. It also lessens the amount of fairing you will need to do. The blush does tend to "gunk up" your sand paper, so frequent change needs to take place. Best method for removing anine blush (before paint, more epoxy or gelcoat) is to remove with soap, water and a Scotchbrite pad.

Also noticed a post about 3-4 weeks ago where someone used a different epoxy (maybe for a wooden boat layup?) and had great results without anine blush formation. I wish I saved this as I would love to try it when my current gallon of West is gone.

Bob (Chesapeake)

LarrySherman posted 07-17-2001 05:07 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
It was Andy Gere, on his kayak. Was something like MDM. I also have been looking at System Three epoxy, they have several types, on for rot, one similar to West System, and one called SB112, for surfboard building. The last one apparently is designed to very clear for applications in which paint will not be used. They say no amine blush.

I've been reading a lot about this lately, and found a great site that goes into incredible detail concerning the chemistry of polymers, including epoxy. Very cool.

Hank posted 07-17-2001 10:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for Hank  Send Email to Hank     
Larry, the URL doesn't seem to work.

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