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Author Topic:   Gel Coat Bubble Repair
Ray posted 01-24-2002 10:06 PM ET (US)   Profile for Ray   Send Email to Ray  
I am getting ready to buy West System products to fill and repair some bubbles in my gel coat along the sides below water line. I ground off the gel coat before storage 3 months ago to dry out the fiberglas. Just wondering what type of resin and hardener to buy. I noticed that 205 hardener will cure at about 45 degrees which would be great here in Michigan. However 205 only gives about 10 min. of working time as it is fast curing. Also what filler to use? if any. I'm thinking that I saw a thread on this type of repair including barrier coat. Does anybody recall the thread location?
kingfish posted 01-25-2002 09:16 AM ET (US)     Profile for kingfish  Send Email to kingfish     
How deep are you having to go below the regular surface of your gelcoat to reach a sound substrate? If once you have ground the bubble down to where you want to go, and that surface is no more than 3/16" or so below the desired plane surface of the finished gelcoat, all you need is gelcoat paste for the repair.

If you actually do need/decide to use epoxy, 205 will give you all the working time you need, and I'll have to review the fillers I have at home to remember for sure which one I'd recommend for that type of shallow fill, but sitting right here, I would think either low- or medium-density would be fine. The biggest thing would be to mix in enough of whatever filler you use to reach something between a mayonnaise and a peanut-butter consistency, so the epoxy will hold its shape and stay where you put it. If you do use epoxy, and this is your first time, I'd order enough of both epoxy and filler so you can mix up a practice batch before you go live. This will go a long way towards giving you a feel for how your mix acts with varying amounts of filler, how much working time you really have, and will give a lot of confidence for the real thing.


LarrySherman posted 01-25-2002 12:47 PM ET (US)     Profile for LarrySherman  Send Email to LarrySherman     
For below the waterline, use the 410 (411?) barrier coat filler. It is grey in color, and is some type of aluminum powder.

205 should be fine in 45 degree weather. I would do several thin applications, applying the subsequent layers as the ones applied get tacky.

Chesapeake posted 01-25-2002 04:06 PM ET (US)     Profile for Chesapeake  Send Email to Chesapeake     
Couple of thoughts here from West advocate...

1) Don't mix big batches. If you use the pump system, take one pump of each. After mixing, split the portion into 2 cups, 1/3 left clear and the 2/3 cup for adding your filler.

2) Before you use the epoxy with filler, spread a small amount of the "clear" onto the area. It will hold better.

3) The cup with the epoxy and filler... spread the epoxy "butter" around in the cup. This will extend your pot life. If you leave lumped together in the bottom, it has the tendency to quickly heat up and become useless.

4) Once the epoxy starts to set, throw the rest away and mix a new batch. If you do, it will often ruin the finish.

5) Remember the epoxy needs to be covered with gel-coat or paint. Light will break it down in no time flat.


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