Shiny Fiberglass - SailNet Community

   Search Sailnet:

 forums  store  

Quick Menu
Boat Reviews  
Search SailNet 
Boat Search (new)

Shop the
SailNet Store
Anchor Locker
Boatbuilding & Repair
Hatches and Portlights
Interior And Galley
Marine Electronics
Other Items
Plumbing and Pumps
Sailing Hardware
Trailer & Watersports
Clearance Items

Advertise Here

Go Back   SailNet Community > On Board > Gear & Maintenance
 Not a Member? 
Old 05-15-2008
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 633
Thanks: 2
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Siamese is on a distinguished road
Shiny Fiberglass

'Just a quick story and a thanks to Halekai36 for his info. I mentioned this in an existing thread, but I want to confirm/testify regarding his posted method for restoring fiberglass.

This Spring I had some black streaks that wouldn't come off the topsides of my '07 Catalina 309. I finally went at them with a new sponge and some Turtle Wax Polish. Worked great. I did all the starboard side and most of the port. As I went along, the streaks disappeared and the polish dried to a haze...this is great!....La La La. When I rinsed off the haze I discovered that ALL the shine was gone from the topsides and there were DEEP swirl scratches everywhere. Contaminated sponge? Demons? Funky polish? Whatever...pretty sure this was the stupidest thing I've done in well over a decade.

I searched Sailnet and the rest of the net for info on a fix. Most of the wisdom out there says DO NOT attempt to fix this yourself. Professional buffer polishers and rubbing compound are not for amateurs. You'll burn your fiberglass, etc.

I didn't even bother asking the marina what they'd charge to restore it. I imagine we're talkin' thousands.

I ended up using Halekai36's instructions for fiberglass restoration and followed them religiously. 'Used the Dewalt Buffer Polisher, 3M products, and sanded with 600, 1000, and 1500.

I initially simply used rubbing compound followed by polish without sanding and got shine, but it didn't begin to take care of the scratches. The idea of using sandpaper of any grit on my glass was just plain spooky and I had hoped to avoid it. But I wet-sanded per his instructions and couldn't go wrong.

Sorry, I don't have pictures of the finished job, but you know what a new boat looks like, right? That's what my boat looks like now. Positively glassy from stem to stern. No loss of fairness in the hull. Wow.

I pass this on so others, in their pursuit of shine, might access Halekai36's information. If the thought of taking sandpaper to your hull sounds radical and not a good idea for a do-it-yourselfer, I'm here to tell you that with reasonable skill and care you can turn you topsides into a mirror, IF you follow the instructions.

Loss of gelcoat was minimal, and easily controlled.

It's hard for me to put a positive spin on messing up the hull on my nearly new boat, but now I have the skills to maintain the glass anywhere on my boat. And knowing how to take dull glass and make it shiny is just plain cool. The answer is NOT in some one-step miracle product. It's a process, and it's a labor intensive process, with the right products and tools.

Thanks again to Halekai36 for posting detailed info that was un-findable elsewhere on the web, and a "go for it" for those of you who are hesitant about coaxing the shine out of your faded boat.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Old 05-15-2008
Sea Slacker
Join Date: Jan 2007
Posts: 1,789
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
brak is on a distinguished road
Yep, sandpaper helps. Using high-grit sandpaper I was able to buff the starboard side of my boat, removing at least some of the weird paint-like substance that PO used to cover up "dock rash". Dock scratches themselves were really not that bad, and if PO only used the same method - the boat would have looked good as new, but too late for that now. As it stands, proper sanding can achieve quite a bit even on essentially damaged gelcoat.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Old 05-15-2008
Maine Sail's Avatar
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Maine Coast
Posts: 5,410
Thanks: 11
Thanked 125 Times in 93 Posts
Rep Power: 15
Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice Maine Sail is just really nice

Glad I could be of help!

I can't figure out why you had such deep scratches though, unless you dropped the sponge and tried to re-use it? By the way NEVER use a kitchen type sponge for compounding, polishing or applying a wax and always use a dedicated applicator pad in either terry cloth, microfiber or foam. Sponges are and can be VERY, VERY abrasive!!

I use either these Zymoil pads or the similar foam applicator from Meguiars.

They are available from any auto parts supply store.. Was it a Turtle Wax compound??

P.S. Turtle Wax is worth about a 1/100th of what you actually paid for it and that was not much...

Rule number one of polishing & buffing

Rule #1 If it hits the ground it's DONE! Put it away and DO NOT touch it again until you can wash it.!!! This includes rags, foam waxing pads, terry cloth and compounding and polishing pads!!
-Maine Sail / CS-36T

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

© Images In Posts Property of Compass Marine Inc.

Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Old 05-15-2008
Senior Member
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Adirondack Mountains
Posts: 136
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 10
lharmon is on a distinguished road

Congratulations! Halekai really put some wonderful stuff together for us. Doing the hull is my #1 priority for next season. This year has been full of other maintenance items.

How long did you spend restoring your shine?
It's better to have your enemies inside your tent pissing out than outside your tent pissing in...
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Old 05-15-2008
lbdavis's Avatar
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Portland, ME
Posts: 560
Thanks: 0
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Rep Power: 8
lbdavis is on a distinguished road
I'll join the Halekai-restoration-bandwagon. I, too followed most the steps religously, save the wet-sand (if I find myself looking at some extra time next spring, I'll probably put some sandpaper to her.) I am VERY pleased with the results.

Thanks for the great instructions, bub!
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook
Old 05-15-2008
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 633
Thanks: 2
Thanked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Rep Power: 8
Siamese is on a distinguished road
How long did it take? I didn't keep track, but I'd guess 40ish hours maybe.
Reply With Quote Share with Facebook

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may post attachments
You may edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
The legacy of Philip Rhodes GoodOldBoat Good Old Boat 25 12-14-2012 07:34 PM
High Tech vs traditional-Comments? Pangaea General Discussion (sailing related) 38 08-07-2007 01:07 AM
Cleaning Fiberglass Hulls and Decks Sue & Larry Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 03-07-2002 07:00 PM
First Fiberglass Repair SailNet Gear and Maintenance Articles 0 09-01-2001 08:00 PM

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 10:51 PM.

Add to My Yahoo!         
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
SEO by vBSEO 3.6.1
(c) LLC 2000-2012

The store is owned and operated by a company independent of the forum. You are now leaving the SailNet forum. Click OK to continue or Cancel to return to the SailNet forum.