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Old 12-15-2010, 04:53 AM
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Default Wet Sanding Fiberglass Boat

I have a 2004 Contender 23 Open, when we got the boat 2 years ago, it had been sitting outside all its life, so it caused some oxidation. Now, we have done the 3 part wax/restore to it before, came out ok, just not great. Now the boat is in the shop for some cosmetic gelcoat issues, and he quoted me $3500 to wet sand the whole boat. I think this is somewhat high.

So, during my non fishing, boring ass winter, I figured this may be a good project to try out, if it's not too complicated. The fiberglass guy is already wetsanding all the the colored part of the hull, I just want to do above the rubrail and the inside walls. How hard can it be?

So, here's where the boat guru's help out.

Anyone done this before?
Is it extremely complicated?
There are no issues with the gelcoat, just oxidizing, I just want to bring it back to the showroom shine.

What tools would I need?
What's the process?
How do I finish the job? Sealer? Wax? Ect.

Any advice would be great, including, don't do it, if it's too complicated.
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Old 12-15-2010, 04:59 AM
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You could have a 23 foot boat painted for $3500.00,that is a ridiculous price...Really ridiculous
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:13 AM
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not a bad job, did mine last winter. Do a little searching here and you will find all the recomendation and experts you care to read about. The job just takes a some time.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:23 AM
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you should not need to wet sand in my opinion. I am actually in the middle of restoring a boat that has been neglected for several years and am polishing the boat which was extremely chalky and oxidized. Get some finesse it paste number 6039 then follow it up with finesse it II finifhisng compound. the 6039 is formulated to restore heavily oxidized gel coat and has a very long working time.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:30 AM
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its not complicated at all. just go buy a bunch of different grits and get started. i don't know how bad your boat is, but buy a bunch of wet/dry sheets something like 1000 grit, 500 grit, and 200 grit. (harbor freight has cheap sandpaper, it's not the best, but its cheap)

get a bucket of water and a rag and go try a test spot somewhere. start with the 1000 grit, if it doesnt do anything move down to 500 and then if that doesnt do it, try the 200. just keep wetting and washing the sandpaper in your bucket of water and wiping off the hull once in awhile.

so if u find you need the 200 grit to get the oxidation off, then that's what you're going to start with on the rest of the hull. you can do sections or u can do the whole thing at once, up to you. but after you finish with the 200, wipe it down and go to the 500. and then so on with the 1000 grit.

after the 1000 grit, use a high speed polisher with some compound or polish to bring back the shine. then just wax or seal it. lots of choices there like collinite vs. rejex vs. starbrite with ptfe etc...


it will be lots of elbow grease, but its not complicated. don't worry, you won't wreck anything, so go for it.




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Old 12-15-2010, 05:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Biloxi Regulator View Post
you should not need to wet sand in my opinion. I am actually in the middle of restoring a boat that has been neglected for several years and am polishing the boat which was extremely chalky and oxidized. Get some finesse it paste number 6039 then follow it up with finesse it II finifhisng compound. the 6039 is formulated to restore heavily oxidized gel coat and has a very long working time.
this is true, you may not have to wet sand at all if its not that bad. you can just try a high speed polisher and something like 3M Finesse it or the 3M restorer wax.

http://www.shop3m.com/60980106938.ht...s-Restorer-Wax

ha, again, if u you dont have one, i suggest the cheap 7 in. high speed polisher at harbor freight. it's only $28 (after using 20% off coupon) and i've beat the crap out of mine and it's still going. and at that price it's basically disposable.

http://www.harborfreight.com/7-inch-...der-92623.html



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Old 12-15-2010, 05:41 AM
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04 boat the white should polish up, maybe a real light sanding on the gunwales, but I dont think you should go near the boat with 200 grit, wont need it anyhow. Finesse and restorer wax are final products, you will want something aggressive like 3M high gloss gelcoat COMPOUND.

Polishes at this point will be a waste of time, you have to "cut" first, then polish.

White polishes up much easier then the colored gel
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:43 AM
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Add soap to the water. It keeps the sandpaper from getting clogged with material
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:44 AM
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High speed buffer w a 100% wool pad w/3M Color/Gloss Restorer.
Follow with 3M Finesse It II with a blended wool pad.
Finish w/ Collinite 885 Paste wax applied by hand using terry applicator pads and 100% cotton terry towels to buff off.
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Old 12-15-2010, 05:56 AM
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lots of good info here!

raybo is right, the 3M high gloss gelcoat compound more aggressive than the finesse it, but there is more than one finesse it. the gelcoat compound according to 3M designed to remove P600 scratches, but the finesse it 6039 (previsouly mentioned) compound is still designed for P800 scratches.



i still learn a lot here. thanks!



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Old 12-15-2010, 06:06 AM
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trust me I have tried just about every compound on the market, for what he wants to do the high gloss compound is what he wants, from there he can progress to something that will finish a little finer

And there is a big difference in prices as well, gallon of the high gloss you can get for about $65-$80, gallon of lets say Finesse It 3000 Extra Cut I am currently paying right around $110 a gallon. And regardless what the label says in regards to what grit sanding it removes its rarely accurate, almost always have to sand with 1000 grit to get the extra cut to finish without a single scratch left in it, unless you like compounding the same area 4-5 times. Remember hand sanding is more aggressive then machine sanding so you need to step up a grit when finishing
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:07 AM
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http://www.jamestowndistributors.com

Get a JD Boat polishing Kit
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Old 12-15-2010, 06:08 AM
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The lower the wet/sandpaper number, the more steps you'll have to take...but the faster the cutting will be.

I would absolutely not use anything lower than 600, and since your guys tried to do the job and left it "ok, but not perfect", start with 1200 and start on the transom (small area for testing). Spend the TIME to wetsand it (the soap is a good idea on the last stages).

Cheap wet/dry sandpaper falls apart. It's good for sanding your painted trailer, not your pride and joy. Your investment in good stuff won't exceed $15, so saving $5 isn't worth it. Get the best and make your work look good.

Use a sponge between your hand and the sandpaper in order to avoid scoring scuffs from pressing too hard with a fingertip or palm of hand.

Use enough water to allow you to see how much chalk is coming off the area.

You want to progress from one grit to the next, in order, so if you start with 1200, next is 1500 and finally 2000. At that point your boat is shiny and wheeling rubbing compound followed by polishing compound will give you a hull ready to was that looks factory new.

A 23' boat...plan on two good days max. Bring beer, it gets tedious. Don't shortcut when you get bored...let it go and come back the next time when you're ready to continue.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:14 AM
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I'm in the processs of doing the black parts of my 25 right now. I started with 400 because part of what I'm doing is fixing 12+ years of dings and rock chips from towing. Took me about 3-5 hours to sand each side, and remove registration stickers and Contender decals. Next step will be to tow to my friend's fiberglass shop so I can fill in the dings with gelcoat and block sand that down. Also have some of that type work to do up on the gunn'ls and deck too. Will have to mix gelcoat to match for the white parts. Fixed a couple of dings about 4 years ago and was able to match the color on the gunn'ls so close, I can't even tell where the repairs were any more. The white on my gunn'ls and on the bottom of the hull has a little brown in it but the deck has some blue in it. The black is a no-brainer.

My black had started looking pretty bad just from age and no amount of buffing would get rid of the haze, hence this project. I'm having a guy re-paint my gold boot stripes and I've been thinking that maybe I should get him to spray clear over the black so it doesn't haze up again. Then I wonder if I should just get him to paint black. Guess what I really need to do is buff out a section of the black and see what it looks like after I wet sanded it with 400. Might be easier to make a decision then.

Tip on the wet sanding. Get a stiff sponge and wrap your sandpaper around it. I've been using some of those drywall sanding sponges you can buy at home depot / lowes that I had laying around the house from other projects. Works very well if you cut a piece of sandpaper in half and wrap that around the sponge.

I used to paint cars and used the wet-sand/ buff technique a few times. Never done it on a boat before but I can tell you this. On paint, I never used anything above 600 and after buffing you could see no sandpaper scratches. So not really sure if 2000 grit sand paper is really necessary but I will be experimenting with different grits and the buffer shortly.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:23 AM
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back in black, why not just paint the hull at this point? small black touch ups are not going to come out that great, unless you are not that picky, and you are talking about painting the stripes

you wont be able to clear over the black, it will not retain gloss well at all
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raybo Marine NY View Post
back in black, why not just paint the hull at this point?

X2 the prep work for painting has already been done...paint lasts longer and doesn't fade, either.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:38 AM
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Well believe it or not, I did a half dollar size chip in the black about 4 years ago. My boat was sitting at a friend's dock and some a-hole ran by at plowing speed and banged the boat into a PVC pipe that was cutoff too low. It took a half dollar sized chunk of gelcoat out...all the way down to the glass. Anyway, my friend and I prepped it and sprayed black gelcoat on it and I block sanded, wet sanded and buffed it out. I offered my friends a thousand bucks if they could find that spot after the repair... no takers.

But you are both correct. Paint is probably the best option for me right at this time and I will likely go that way. What paint is the best out there?
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:45 AM
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Raybo is the expert, and I'm not. However, I painted a Formula with automotive paint and it came out perfect.

Think about cars/trucks and how few you see faded. I used a gallon on a 28' boat.
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Old 12-15-2010, 07:54 AM
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I'm hijacking this thread. I'll start another to ask more questions.
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Old 12-15-2010, 08:15 AM
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3 years ago - I did a lot of wet-sanding on my Montauk that had been waxed maybe once since 1986. For fear of "sanding" my boat, I busted my tail with compounds (3m) using a Porter Cable and still had some haze I didn't like. So I took the plunge. I did everything with 1000, then on the tougher parts I went down to 800. There's a feel when it's working - hard to describe, it just glides once the rougher/damaged (microscopic) gelcoat is gone. I went back over all with 1500, then 2000. It was then when 3m Finess it really worked. After that, I finish with 3m wax. I still wet-sand on occasion on gelcoat repairs. I find it enjoyable and have done a pals 17' Whaler for the price of some beers and some ribs off the green egg. I do realize it's only 17'... :0)

Take a look at the bow area reflections: http://picasaweb.google.com/mgeiger7...67143084545394
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Last edited by mgeiger; 12-16-2010 at 05:20 AM.
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