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Author Topic:   Spider Cracks, Epoxy Paint
coalnation posted 05-06-2015 08:37 PM ET (US)   Profile for coalnation   Send Email to coalnation  
[I am] in the process of restoring a 1987 Boston Whaler 15-footer. The hull looks like absolute garbage. There are spider cracks everywhere, and other areas need repair. I started sanding down the hull, and, in some areas, the gel coat was so thin that it went to the fiberglass instantly. How should I proceed?

I wanted to paint the entire boat with an epoxy paint. Should I take off the gel coat completely? Or do something else? Here are some photos.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

jimh posted 05-07-2015 10:41 PM ET (US)     Profile for jimh  Send Email to jimh     
Your 1987 Boston Whaler boat must have had a hard life. I have seen many c.1987 Boston Whaler hulls that look like new. To have one look "like absolute garbage" is sad.

The gel coat layer is normally only about 20-mils (0.020-inch) thick. You can sand through it rather rapidly. If the gel coat "looks like absolute garbage", it is probably dried out, oxidized, and brittle. Perhaps sanding it off is not much of a loss.

Cracks in gel coat usually occur due to stress. Stress can be from flexing of the hull, or from the gel coat drying out and shrinking. If the hull has "spider cracks everywhere" it will probably be easier to not try to repair them on an individual basis. Sand the hull to a point where you have a stable base. Fill remaining cracks with some sort of filler or fairing.

Generally you cannot apply paint with layers as thick as gel coat. For that reason you need to have the top surface nicely faired and smooth before painting. The paint is not likely to hide many defects in the finish.

dg22 posted 05-08-2015 01:58 PM ET (US)     Profile for dg22  Send Email to dg22     
When I refinished my boat, I made the mistake of filling the larger spider cracks and after one year they came back. I had to sand them out (down to the fiberglass).
acseatsri posted 05-08-2015 02:52 PM ET (US)     Profile for acseatsri  Send Email to acseatsri     
Eight years ago I [refurbished an OUTRAGE 22] with no problems. After sanding smooth, use two coats of epoxy primer, thinned to almost water consistency, to soak into the cracks and seal-up everything. Then, just thin according to instructions. I used Interlux epoxy primer (probably five coats total) followed by two coats of Perfection epoxy paint.
george nagy posted 05-08-2015 09:03 PM ET (US)     Profile for george nagy  Send Email to george nagy     
Have you thought about using a product called Tuff Coat? I saw it used on an episode of SHIP SHAPE TV where they used it over crazed gel coat on an old 20-foot Aquasport. I have had a 15-footer that crazed similarly to yours, only not as bad; if I still had it I would probably [use a] two tone [color scheme on] the interior using the Tuff Coat. Someday I will probably get a project 15-footer for my kids and end up doing it up like this for a no fuss fun boat for them.
RocketMan posted 05-08-2015 09:40 PM ET (US)     Profile for RocketMan  Send Email to RocketMan     
I just had my 1968 Sakonnet 16 hull painted with Awlgrip inside and out. We'll see how it holds up. Right now, you can't see the spider cracks and she looks new!

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