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  #1  
Old 11-04-2009
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using super fine sandpapers

I'm real experianced with using up to 2500 grit papers on all types of finishes. one example would be my car that doesn't have "orange peel" on the 3 yr old paint job from when it had it done. Much of the gel coat on my boat could use something "more" then compound to get rid of the oxidation. I think it would work ok. I doubt someone could get down to the substrate using super fine papers. Not like using a sander with 50 grit! Anyone with experiance in this please let me know how it worked out? thanks all!
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Old 11-04-2009
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Strong cleaners,such as TSP,will remove most of the oxidation without sanding.If you need to go deeper,600 or 800,used carefully should not remove too much gelcoat.i would hand-sand all areas that are not flat and use a small rubber block on larger,open surfaces. 3M High Gloss Gelcoat Compound will buff out the scratches ,results willbe very good if you machine buff.
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Old 11-04-2009
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I use 1500--->2000 grit wet and dry for gelcoat restoration prior to powerbuffing (with knobby foam pads) with 3M "Finesse-it" followed by 3M "Perfect-it". If the surface of the gel is bad (I'll use a pocket microscope to see 'how bad') then I might start with 600 W&D and work my way up to 2000 grit. Flat sanding gel the same way that you 'flat-sand' a museum quality varnish/lacquer job is the only way to go if you want 'mega-brilliance'.

BTW - when waxing I only use a bare wet hand to 'push-in' the wax, then continue to hand-rub until most of the wax either fills the pores of the gel or transfers to my hand .... just like I do on my sportscar, etc.
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Old 11-04-2009
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wet sanding

Hello,

My boat has an off white hull with red boot and cove stripes. When I bought the boat the stripes were very faded and oxidized. I wet sanded them with 300 and then 600 grit and they look much better. It was difficult just doing the stripes, I can't image doing the entire hull.

Before and After pics
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using super fine sandpapers-starboard1.jpg   using super fine sandpapers-img_3166.jpg  
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Old 11-04-2009
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I occasionally use 1500 to clean up gelcoat stains. I have been neglecting the waxing job...
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Old 11-04-2009
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Some abrasive companies now offer mesh sanding discs [look like screen fabric]. They work well for vacuum sanding and wet-sanding-almost no clogging of grit. Brand I use is Abranet by Mirka...has become my favored product for blending in LP paint and also gelcoat repairs.
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Old 11-04-2009
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I used 800 on up to 1500 or so before compounding and Finesse-it on the gelcoat on and around the cabin and it made a big difference. I didn't get it perfect, but much shinier than before.
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Old 11-05-2009
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You should be safe with grits over about 1000. I am in the process of restoring the gelcote on my 87 Catalina 36. I started wetsanding with 600, moved to 1500, and finally 2000 grit backed with a foam block. The 600 is effective at working through most of the dead stuff, but it is possible to eat through the gelcote if you aren't careful. All in all I am very happy with the results. I followed it all up with the 3M fiberglass restorer, and can see my reflection from a few feet away which isn't too bad for 22 year old gelcote!
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Old 11-05-2009
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I've usually used a steel wool equal above 600 sandpaper in the 0, 00 or 000 grit. I prefer that over the different styles of paper in the 1000+ range. I am sure the same results occur, just choice of material used. The foam back 600 seems to work best for the initial, then then I use the plastic "steel wool" to get the final touches, then as mentioned, a 3m restorer or equal, then wax.

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