I am restoring an old hatch cover. The Lexan cover on it is very scratched and dull. Is there any product on the market to clean it up. And what procedure would you use to make it look like new again?
Sue & Larry respond:
We’re not sure that you can revive your Lexan to like-new condition, but there is a way to remove most of the scratches, gouges, and a lot of the haze that you describe. For many years, the aircraft industry has relied upon micro-abrasion products to restore acrylic windshields and windows on airplanes. This same approach will work on polycarbonate materials, such as your Lexan hatch, but with one small caveat: the best result you will obtain will still leave a very light haze.
One example of these micro-abrasion products is Micro-mesh. One kit contains a series of sandpaper like abrasive sheets ranging from 2,400 grit all the way to 12,000 grit. The idea is to begin with the rougher paper to remove imperfections, then move progressively to finer grits to restore the polish and shine. This will remove imperfections in the surface, but will not alter any crazing that is deep inside the Lexan. Micro-mesh is available from www.sportyspilotshop.com for $24.95. If you want to read more about the product, the company website for Micro-mesh is www.micro-surface.com.
Alternatively, if you truly want like-new results, it's ordinarily not that difficult to remove the Lexan from the frame of your hatch, take it to your local glass shop where you can get a new piece of polycarbonate cut to precisely fit your hatch, and then replace it. If you choose this method, check out the following articles on SailNet to help guide you through this process: Choosing and Using Sealants by Don Casey, Resolving Hatch and Portlight Problems by Tom Wood, and our article Drilling and Filling Holes in Your Boat.
Here's hoping you’re able to clear things up soon and get back out on the water.