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View Full Version : Gelcoat polishing, finishing terms, strategies, help......



WaterBullDawg1980
05-10-2011, 09:16 PM
Ok, so I have done a fair amount of research and believe I have a decent handle on what I need to do to restore a bit of shine and get rid of some small scratches/scuffs to my gelcoat.

But my question is really to gain some more clarity on a few terms.

After all this research I am under the impression that it is basically a 4 step process.

1. wash/clean off oxidation if there is any
2. Wetsand or rubbing compound or something of that sort
3. Polish
4. Wax

I guess my question is on a few different terms I have ran across that may mean the same thing, but I am simply not sure.

So, what exactly is "wet sanding" and what do you use to do it? Is this using a "rubbing compound"? I am assuming this is when I will be smoothing out the gelcoat before I apply a wax? What exactly is the difference between a "wetsand" and applying a rubbing compound? Seems to me that wet sanding is going to be more aggressive which I may not need.

Also, on the polish or wax part. I have read about people hand glazing, and then following it up with a wax. What in the hell is a hand glaze? I have seen a glaze type product before, but is this not simply a type of wax? I had been under the impression that polishing was used to remove fine scratches. But apparently this is needed to polish after the rubbing compound because of what the RB will be doing to the gelcoat. (smoothing it out, but making it look dull) Sound correct?

Finally, there are the products which I know are always going to be up for debate.

I am following the work of this fella, and hoping for the same results. I can get everything for around $100 and about about 3 weekday evenings or I could pay a shop $500 to do the same thing. Well they said they would detail the inside and clean the carpets, but I do not need that done.


Any tips or pointers? :confused:

brain_rinse
05-10-2011, 10:24 PM
Wetsanding is using a fine sandpaper that you keep wet. There are several different grits of paper depending on how aggressive you need to be. Wetsanding would only be needed to remove larger scratches or heavy oxidation that couldn't be removed with compound.

Compounding would be the next step to remove light scratches and oxidation. This is best done with a DA or rotary, but can be done by hand if you are incredibly patient. :)

Polishing again is best with a DA or rotary but you can do without. This step will take out the swirl marks left by the compound. Sometimes they will have "fillers" to make the surface appear completely scratch free. This doesn't last long though, especially on a boat. Polish is a overused term with multiple meanings. Machine glaze and hand glaze are Meguiars polishes and both are pretty good. 3M has good stuff too - finesse it for example.

And finally wax or sealant. Last protectant step that I think you've probably got a good handle on.

WaterBullDawg1980
05-10-2011, 11:14 PM
I forgot to include the link of the guy I was following.....

http://www.wakeworld.com/forum/showthread.php?t=282492

WaterBullDawg1980
05-10-2011, 11:18 PM
Wetsanding is using a fine sandpaper that you keep wet. There are several different grits of paper depending on how aggressive you need to be. Wetsanding would only be needed to remove larger scratches or heavy oxidation that couldn't be removed with compound.

Compounding would be the next step to remove light scratches and oxidation. This is best done with a DA or rotary, but can be done by hand if you are incredibly patient. :)

Polishing again is best with a DA or rotary but you can do without. This step will take out the swirl marks left by the compound. Sometimes they will have "fillers" to make the surface appear completely scratch free. This doesn't last long though, especially on a boat. Polish is a overused term with multiple meanings. Machine glaze and hand glaze are Meguiars polishes and both are pretty good. 3M has good stuff too - finesse it for example.

And finally wax or sealant. Last protectant step that I think you've probably got a good handle on.

My boat doesn't have any deep scratches, but does have a few minor scratches that I would like to remove. I assume the filler type of glazes would do this?

From what I understood, when you used the rubbing compound, this is basically taking away the gel coat, hence removing scratches. So the filler would be used instead of a rubbing compound?

So I have the orbital sander for the process, but I have been reading that I may need to pick up a buffer for the polishing since mine is not a variable speed sander. What say you?

brain_rinse
05-10-2011, 11:38 PM
My boat doesn't have any deep scratches, but does have a few minor scratches that I would like to remove. I assume the filler type of glazes would do this?
The fillers that are added to some brands of polishes might make them disappear temporarily but it wouldn't last. If you're going to the work you might as well get rid of them permanently. Try the compound first. If that isn't aggressive enough to take them out then break out the wetsandpaper.


From what I understood, when you used the rubbing compound, this is basically taking away the gel coat, hence removing scratches. So the filler would be used instead of a rubbing compound?
Yes, wetsanding, compound, and polish are all removing some gelcoat at the microscopic level. Forget the filler polishes and get something with some "cut." Here is a good kit that gets you all 3 steps: http://www.amazon.com/Meguiars-M4965-Marine-Fiberglass-Restoration/dp/B0000AY4YT


So I have the orbital sander for the process, but I have been reading that I may need to pick up a buffer for the polishing since mine is not a variable speed sander. What say you?
Yeah you need something with variable speed. I like the dual action polishers like the Porter Cable 7424 because you'd have to try to mess up. The rotaries are more powerful but you can do some damage in a hurry if you aren't careful.

kaneboats
05-11-2011, 11:06 AM
I looked all over for that post and couldn't find it a year or two ago when someone asked about wetsanding. That's the guy I copied when I did my Outback a couple of years ago. Mine was white over navy blue and had scratches everywhere you look from the prior owner and his buddies. He had bought the boat with his Dad and the Dad died a few years later. The Dad was the one that made them clean and polish all the time. Needless to say they still used the boat but quit doing all the work. But the guy was a mechanic so he still maintained the engine and stuff but just did nothing for the cosmetics. When I got it I had to redo the interior and wet sand the whole boat. It looked like showroom when I got done.

Here's a pic of it a few weeks after I finished (while I was working on my bimini and tower speakers, etc.). It's the only close up one I could find.

My vote, do it!

WaterBullDawg1980
05-11-2011, 01:35 PM
I looked all over for that post and couldn't find it a year or two ago when someone asked about wetsanding. That's the guy I copied when I did my Outback a couple of years ago. Mine was white over navy blue and had scratches everywhere you look from the prior owner and his buddies. He had bought the boat with his Dad and the Dad died a few years later. The Dad was the one that made them clean and polish all the time. Needless to say they still used the boat but quit doing all the work. But the guy was a mechanic so he still maintained the engine and stuff but just did nothing for the cosmetics. When I got it I had to redo the interior and wet sand the whole boat. It looked like showroom when I got done.

Here's a pic of it a few weeks after I finished (while I was working on my bimini and tower speakers, etc.). It's the only close up one I could find.

My vote, do it!

Awesome!

I will be sure to post up some pics during the process. If I can get the results that you and the guy in the other post got, then I will be a HAPPY boater.

WaterBullDawg1980
05-11-2011, 01:37 PM
Thanks Brain for the info. I am going to take a look at those Porters today.

kaneboats
05-11-2011, 02:00 PM
Nothing at all wrong with a few porters. May have to go look some up myself.

WaterBullDawg1980
05-11-2011, 04:53 PM
Have you guys heard of this stuff?

http://www.poliglow-int.com/

Sounds almost too good to be true.

kaneboats
05-11-2011, 06:00 PM
Never heard of it. Must be a new generation Nu Finish kind of thing. I think that red boat is an old Boomerang.

WaterBullDawg1980
05-11-2011, 07:02 PM
It has a 12 month money back guarantee. That is nearly unheard of. Actually, I have NEVER heard of that kind of warranty before.

It did say that it is absolutely CRUCIAL to remove all oxidation and stains on the boat before hand or "Poli Glow will seal in any stains on the surface, i.e. shiny rust stains"

I watched the video again, and this stuff looks pretty amazing. The warranty they are offering is pretty amazing by itself, but with the video testimonials it looks pretty legit.

Ole Mr. John Greviskis from Ship Shape TV recommends it! He has a trustworthy beard. I'm going to give this stuff a try.

Wish me luck!

brain_rinse
05-11-2011, 08:46 PM
Must be some kind of acrylic or something similar. Well regardless of what you want to use as a top coat, wax or sealant or poliglow you still need to get the oxidation, scratches, and swirls taken care of first. Good luck and post pics.