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Old 04-03-2013
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Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

I have never done any gel-coat repairs other that scratches and wanted a low stress way to check it out.
Someone abandoned a small fiberglass dinghy at my house that I've been using for a tender for a boat I keep on a mooring.
It is really scratched up and pretty rough.
During a recent storm the side got hit pretty hard and the integrity of a one foot section was compromised.
It was pretty easy to take the angle grinder and grind out the bad glass and epoxy in some cloth and fair it up.
I figured this was a good time to try some gel-coat repair as the end result didn't matter much.
First thing I learned is that the color is very hard to match. I didn't even try as you can tell by the pictures. It would have cost a fortune to get a full set of colors.
These is all kind of warnings about putting gel-coat over west system epoxy but the west folks seem to think it is OK.
The gel-coat mixes easy and paints on very easy. It was thinner than I expected.
But sanding, forget it. It is super hard to sand.
I tried to sand it dry. Does not work dry at all.
I started with 320,400,600,800,1000 wet dry paper
As you can see I wasn't very fussy. Just wanted to know what it would be like If I had to do a job that mattered.
I'm thinking it would take a very long time to get even mediocre well sanded surface.
At least I know now.
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The lesson from the Icarus story is not about human failing.
It is a lesson about the limitations of wax as an adhesive.
If you have an engineering problem solve it.
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