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Old 08-03-2012
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Spraying gelcoat

The recent Why paint instead of gelcoat? thread was very interesting, and timely too. This winter I plan to refinish the deck, cabin top and cockpit of my 35 year old Bristol 29.9. The original gelcoat is scratched in a few spots and seems to have “pin holes” in other areas. My original plan was to paint the deck, but after reading the thread I realize that spraying gelcoat is actually an option for me.

I don't want to rehash the pros and cons of gel vs paint in this thread. I've decided that I will be spraying gelcoat. I'm a rookie, but I will be doing it myself. I've got a few months to practice.

Most of what I have read about spraying gelcoat involves doing the topsides. In my case I will be doing the deck, the smooth portions between the anti skid. So I dont have any big areas to cover. Of course the small sections are spread out of the whole boat, and some of them extend the length of the boat.

so a few questions:


  1. Practice. Can I practice on wood scraps (plywood etc) or is it too porous to give a decent finish? If not what can I practice on? (I dont have hunks of fiberglass ... )

  2. The preval sprayer a reasonable choice? Its seems the easiest for me at this point and I think it would be fine for the relatively small sections that I am doing. But I could go with an HVLP sprayer and borrowed compressor if that is the way to go in this case.

  3. With paint, roll and tip, you need to keep a wet edge, but I am wondering if that is the case with gelcoat. Can I do a section, say the side decks from stern up to the shrouds. Then the shrouds forward the next day? Or do I need to shoot it all in one go? (this may determine if I can use the preval sprayer or not … )

  4. Also plan to do the antiskid. Kiwi Grip was the plan, but now Im wondering if stippled gelcoat would be the natural choice at this point. thoughts on that?

  5. Materials:

    • duratec additive: yes?
    • thinning: use styrene or “patch booster”?
    • surfacing wax: for all coats or just the last?
    • coats: how many?



thanks everyone!
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