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Gex 04-15-2006 11:06 AM

making old fibreglass look new
 
Hey guys, quick question. My older boat (a Tanzer22 1973) is starting to look kinda old on deck (I wonder why duh???). I was wondering if there is any miracle product that I can use to make it shine nice and bright again and maybe a protective wax to keep it that way?

Thanks in advance

Saylorman 04-15-2006 11:39 PM

If you don't have the book "Boat Maintenance" by William M. Burr Jr.(Mcgraw-Hill Company), get it! It's the best reference I've found for boat maintenance and restoration of old boats like our's. In it he recommends specific brands of products that he's actually tried and tested without prejudice. He suggested and I tried 3m Marine Fibreglass Restorer and Wax. It works fantastic!:cool:

sailandoar 04-16-2006 10:24 AM

Polishing/rubbing compound with elbow grease and/or good buffer followed by wax and elbow grease again.

Maybe there are some MIRICLE products that require no sweat, just wipe on and it looks like new forever.....good luck on that one, modern science is working on it but I don't know much about them.

Penetrol by Flood is a 'paint conditioner' that is very often used to wipe down fiberglass and restore the NEW LOOK but it does not last. It has been said that it is a used boat salesman's trick to wipe down with penetrol and sell it before the shine fades. It does work well and can be redone over and over. My wife is very fussy and she uses it on her Grady White 206 which is no beater, she bought it new in 1996 and keeps it under a cover when not out cruising.

RichH 04-16-2006 09:15 PM

First look at the gelcoat with a strong magnifying glass or pocket microscope (Radio Shack). If you see NO 'alligatoring', then the gelcoat can be wet sanded and powerbuffed back to the 'original' shine and brilliance.
1. wash the surface with a STRONG caustic detergent ... from a janatorial supply, then use oxalic acid (wood bleach -- from a paint store) to remove old dead wax, iron and tannin stains. Dont MIX detergent and oxalic !!!! rinse in between the two. Wear gloves when using oxalic as it quickly absorbs through you skin and can damage your kidneys.

2. Flat sand the gelcoat with 1000--> 1500 -->2000 grit wet and dry sandpaper using a few drops of dishwashing detergent in a few gallons of water. Use a rubber sanding block. Sand away until the surface is flat. Most gelcoat is quite thick .... but stop sanding immediately when you see the matting layer of fiberglass under layer showing through .... if you do its time to paint. If not, proceed to 2. The object is to remove the oxidized outter layer of gelcoat and produce a FLAT surface ... use the pocket microscope if you have one.

3. Get a high speed autobody power polisher (varibale speed 1000-3000 rpm), 3M foam polishing pads, Coarse Fiberglass rubbing compound, 1000 grit auto body shyop compound, 3M finesse it, 3M Perfect polishing compount, Collinite Fleetwax.

4. Begin with a fresh foam pad (Never mix pads and grits). In a 2ft. by 2 ft. surface apply coarse rubbing compound then do the 2ft. x 2 ft. square with a foam pad, move to the next 2X2 square until the whole boat is completed, Then do the same with 1300 grit - whole boat, then Finesse-it, then Perfect-it. Keep the buffer moving at all times, be very careful and dont 'burn through' sharp corners. Power buffing can remove a LOT of gelcoat, so use a 'light touch' .. and keep the buffer moving so you dont 'overheat' the surface. The speed of the polisher is what does the work not the pressure. By the time you get to the Finesse-it the hull should be back to NEW condition shine wise. Perfect-it with give the deep shine.
You must wax immediately to fill the 'pores' of the gelcoat. Use a clean bare hand, some water and the paste collinite and rub by hand until the wax begins to shine, then add about a 10 size spread over the 2X2 and powerbuff. Push the wax INTO the pores of gel ... dont just smear it across it - this will seal the pores and will retard oxidation.

99% of the time the above process will restore an old faded hull back to NEW condition. Its also the same process that is used to powerbuff a NEW hull when its pulled from its mold. Rewax at about 6 months and every 12 thereafter as a minimum. Every 2-3 years STRIP the old dead wax with a caustic detergent, light powerbuff with Perfect-it and rewax. .... This should keep the boat looking like new for the next 30 years.
You may want to fill in gouges, etc. with new gelcoat before you powerbuff.

Beware snake oil: acrylic coating 'wipe on' coatings. They look good for a season or two but ultimately fail and have to be removed (when they will look like a severe skin disease). The acrylic removal is a PITA and is ultimately more harmful than the above powerbuffing method.

sailingdog 04-17-2006 07:19 PM

Anyone have any experience with West Marine's Teflon Polish, seen at http://tinyurl.com/lxjrv

RichH 04-19-2006 10:00 AM

If you are looking for the 'n'th degree of speed, any Teflon filled wax will work well as it reduces the dynamic frictional characteristics of the topsides/hull.
There are lots of offerings of teflon filled speed wax used mostly by the top notch dinghy racers. However, on-deck and above the gunnels this stuff is too slippery to be safe and for that application consider to use a non-skid 'deck wax' to be 'safer' - especially on the molded non skid.

Faster 04-19-2006 02:19 PM

A cautionary note
 
With most of these various fibreglass restoring products containing silicon, teflon or whatever, there are ramifications from its use.
If the possibility of a paint job is absolutely not in the future for you, then by all means wipe and shine away. If, however, you hope to restore your faded beauty with a good LPU paint one day you will rue the day you used products like Penetrol.
Once used Penetrol repeatedly on a faded red Ranger 28, with amazing (short term) results. A couple of years later it took an extra several hundred dollars of special solvents and HOURS of wiping down to remove the deeply imbedded product so that the paint would stick.

So if you really want to spiff things up, repaint. It's not that difficult, even for an amateur, to put on a decent job with reasonable equipment, especially if the boat has not been previously painted or treated. The biggest issue with the LPU (two-part) paints are the solvent fumes, VERY important to have adequate ventilation and protection.

foxglove 04-19-2006 04:01 PM

I tried PoliGlow with good results for two seasons
 
My 1882 Pearson was also looking dull. I took a chance on PoliGlow.

I used the accompanying product, PoliClean first. It's the best cleaner I've seen. Then 5 coats of PoliGlow per instructions. That was two years ago. It still looked good last spring but I applied 2 or 3 more coats anyway (didn't clean with the PoliClean that time) and it still looks good now.

I plan to clean off the PoliGlow in a few weeks and start over. The PoliClean is only product, the instructions say, that can remove PoliGlow. I'll find out how difficult it is to remove.

I read the Practical Sailor comment on PoliGlow when they did a report on waxes (it's plastic; not wax was the comment). They gave it good marks as i recall.

Max

sailingdog 04-19-2006 06:26 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by foxglove
My 1882 Pearson was also looking dull. I took a chance on PoliGlow.

I used the accompanying product, PoliClean first. It's the best cleaner I've seen. Then 5 coats of PoliGlow per instructions. That was two years ago. It still looked good last spring but I applied 2 or 3 more coats anyway (didn't clean with the PoliClean that time) and it still looks good now.

I plan to clean off the PoliGlow in a few weeks and start over. The PoliClean is only product, the instructions say, that can remove PoliGlow. I'll find out how difficult it is to remove.

I read the Practical Sailor comment on PoliGlow when they did a report on waxes (it's plastic; not wax was the comment). They gave it good marks as i recall.

Max

Love to hear how PoliClean works for you. How did the PoliGlow work out? Are you using something else in its place? Would you recommend it?

hamiam 04-19-2006 09:45 PM

I use the Poli- Products As Well
 
Policlean will remove basically anything from the surface of fiberglass. This includes old poliglow, any waxes or polishes that were on there, stains, etc. Poliglow is nothing like a wax or a polish; think of it more like a clear paint that you apply to your hull. The problem with wax is that it typically only lasts 1-3 months or so and then you need to reapply which often is not convenient. Now poliglow doubters will say: just you wait hamiam. you are going to have a yellowed mess someday and its impossible to remove. Nothing cud be further from the truth. Ive used the product for years now and find that just enough wears off over a years time that when i reapply there is not alot of buildup. That being said there is some technique to applying it and u do need to put on 5-7 coats the first time and about 3 there after. the coats dry almost instantly so i camp out on one 3 foot section of the hull, do all coats, and then move down to the next section. you need to keep track of where you left off so you dont go over a band between the 2 sections as this looks funny. i wud suggest if u choose to go this route that you try it on the transom or something first or better yet an old piece of fiberglass and once u get the hang of it goto the boat. If you screw it up, however, it can always be removed with policlean.


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