Worst Gel-Coat Job ever - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 21 Old 04-03-2013 Thread Starter
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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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post #2 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

I see some paint in your future!
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post #3 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Davidpm...why was it hard to sand? Hardness or sticky or what?
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post #4 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Gel coat is a little science and a lot of art to get it right. I see you learned a little of the science about Gel coat. but the art of it not so much. at least you got the blue close. well maybe not that close but at least it is blue.
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post #5 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Quote:
Originally Posted by overbored View Post
Gel coat is a little science and a lot of art to get it right. I see you learned a little of the science about Gel coat. but the art of it not so much. at least you got the blue close. well maybe not that close but at least it is blue.
Indeed, gel coat is a bitch to get just right. I prefer to work with epoxy if at all possible.
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post #6 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Can you roll & tip to get a better finish to start with? Maybe a preval sprayer?

Maybe start with 80 grit paper on a random orbit sander?

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post #7 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Someone suggested putting mylar over the gelcoat. You'll get a smoother finish that way, and (I'm told) gelcoat uses an anaerobic reaction to harden, so the mylar helps in that regard, too.

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post #8 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Actually easy with some knowledge. treat it the same a paint. surface prep to 220 sand paper. spray it on and use air set formula or cover with spray coat of PVA so the surface will harden. wet sand it out. polish.

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post #9 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

I'm pretty sure that the gel-coat "pros" use a Pre-val sprayer as Jimgo suggested.
Use acetone to thin it for spraying. Acetone is your friend.

Color matching is an art form.
You can mix the pigment into the resin before adding the hardener. This must be done in very good light though, preferably without the sun being directly overhead.

Gel-coat smells much worse than West System epoxy.

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post #10 of 21 Old 04-04-2013
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Re: Worst Gel-Coat Job ever

Dave, don't paint it. Think of it this way: when at a busy mooring field, no one will steal it nor will you ever have a problem figuring out which is your tender!! I actually thought about spraying mine a flourescent orange and green zeebra stripe. Course, being as close as I am to Key West, I am concerned I might be sending the wrong message to the wrong crowd!!

Brian
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