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View Full Version : Removing scratches from gelcoat



loudsubz
04-16-2012, 10:07 PM
In the fall we did a rush job to clean the boat and in the process we didn't wash off some dirt/sand that had stuck to the boat from the back roads from the boat ramp. After washing it I noticed we had a bunch of tiny scratches all over, so we need to get rid of them in the spring when we give her a good cleaning.

So far from what I have gathered I should use 600 grit and follow by 1000 grit wet sanding, wash down, and use a cutting polish to remove the haze, than a finish polish to clean it up.

Am I missing anything? What products have you guys found work best and are easiest to apply? I have a Porter cable random orbit polisher that should help a bit.

Brando86
04-16-2012, 11:21 PM
Are the scratches actually deep enough to require wet sanding? I have had good luck with giving the gel a good buffing. I have only once had to wetsand a boat, and that was only required because of oxidation.

ChrisK
04-17-2012, 12:53 AM
Yeah I'd try a rubbing compound, polishing compound, and wax before you wet sand. And if you decide you need to wet sand, don't start with 600, I'd do 800 at minimum for the first grit. A picture of the scratches would help some opinions on here as well!

pmoomba
04-17-2012, 07:49 AM
A friend of mine bought an 19 year old boat and brought it to a professional to clean up the gelcoat, remove the oxidation, etc. He started with only 2500 grit before moving into compounds. On my boat, I picked a small scratch in a concealed area and tried to get it out with just meguire's oxidation remover on a sponge, by hand. The scratch was pretty superficial but I could feel it. The scratch came out with almost no work at all. So, I'd definitely try without sanding first. I'm of the opinion to try the least aggressive options first, you can always go more aggressive.

That being said in my small experiment, after the oxidation remover I tried to use a polish and wax by hand as well. It cleaned up the area but isn't quite as nice as it should be. Not sure if that means I'm not doing it right or if I just can't expect great results by hand for those stages. At some point I'll pick up a polisher I guess and try again.

bkearney
04-17-2012, 08:26 AM
IMHO.. by hand wont cut it. If you dont want to invest in a good polisher head to harbour freight. You will like what it gives you.

http://kearneyville.com/2012/02/27/first-try-at-boat-detailing/

loudsubz
04-17-2012, 10:08 PM
Thanks for the comments.

Sorry no pics of the boat right now its in storage, but will be heading up in a few weeks to get her and clean her up.

Good calls on trying the rubbing compound first. Any recommendations on ones to try? I always hear 3M recommended, not sure if others work better or not.

ditchsnake
04-18-2012, 12:33 AM
You'll need a buffer like that. I use 2000 wet and it takes out minor scratches. I use 3m products as I have a black boat and found they work the best.Finesse It II for the first buff then perfect it. I use the perfect it to polish my black truck as it never leaves swirl marks. #M stuff is about 40 a quart but it does great for finishing
IMHO.. by hand wont cut it. If you dont want to invest in a good polisher head to harbour freight. You will like what it gives you.

http://kearneyville.com/2012/02/27/first-try-at-boat-detailing/