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Old 04-30-2010
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help Restoring Small Old Fibreglass Boat

Hey,

My buddy and i have been looking for a small boat to fish out of in the summer. We recently found a small (10' x 4') rowboat/dinghy. The boat is fiberglass and is in rough shape. I am wondering if anyone has any tips, links, etc on how to do the project.

The paint is very scratched and faded, with small grooves (looks like its been dragged over gravel) all over the bottom. There are a few small cracks, but in general the hull is in fantastic shape.

We are looking to repair, paint, and redo all the wood in the boat.

What i am thinking is that we sand the whole boat (what grain of paper do we use, is it ok to sand or are there stripping products that would work better or be used in addition do sand paper)

Once its is sanded, what product should I use to fill in the scrapes and knicks ?

Any ideas would be welcome.

thanks
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help Restoring Small Old Fibreglass Boat-boat-1.jpg   help Restoring Small Old Fibreglass Boat-boat-2.jpg  
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Old 04-30-2010
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Read this article by Don Casey. I'd point out that the article says the smallest patch of fiberglass should be applied first... but more current literature on the subject, including that by Don Casey, says the largest patch should be applied first. This is also what I would recommend. I would also use EPOXY resin, rather than Polyester or Vinylester resin, since Epoxy has much greater secondary bonding characteristics (adhesive) than either polyester or vinylester resin and is a bit more forgiving.

I would recommend epoxyproducts.com over West for the epoxy, since Progressive Epoxy Polymers is a much less expensive, no-blush, award-winning epoxy formulated for boat building and repair. It uses a simple 2:1 ratio that is fairly easy to mix.

I'd recommend fiberglasssite.com for your fiberglass needs.

I'd recommend adding a layer of kevlar with a layer of fiberglass over it to the outer skin if you're going to be dragging the boat over rocks and gravel. Kevlar is very abrasion resistant, but you need to add the fiberglass over it since it tends to float in the epoxy resin and won't wet out very well unless it has a layer of fiberglass over it—or you vacuum bag the laminate.

I'd also recommend you get this book.
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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-30-2010 at 04:31 PM.
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If what i read is correct, the Gel Coat on my boat is essentially gone, can i just paint a new layer on? how do i prepare the surface?
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The bow of that boat has a crack in it, that is clearly visible in the top photo on the starboard side and big chunk missing. You're going to be doing repairs for a while before you're anywhere near ready to re-finish anything on that boat.

The oarlocks also appear to be missing, at least on the port side. and the rubrail needs to be replaced.
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Absolutely the boat is in rough shape, it has one chunk missing, and 2 visible cracks. All the wood needs replacing and new oar locks must be fashioned. I have done fiberglass repair work before, which is why i do not ask about that.

It is the finishing down the road that i am unfamiliar with and need some guidance on.
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You can sand and paint. I would not even think about appying new gelcoat. Gelcoat is very difficult to apply after a boat has already left the factory mold, and not really worth the trouble and cost for your project. Keep in mind that you will need to repair that crack near the bow with fiberglass and expoxy before you even think about paint. There are marine paints on the market, but they are very expensive. I've no personal experience, but I have heard of people using paint from a home store. If you search here on SN, you may find some info on this. It really comes down to how much money you want to invest in this project.
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Yes. Upon further discussion i think gel coat is above and beyond the worth of the boat, and my knowledge and skill.

The yellow on the boat: is there anyway of knowing whether that is a gelcoat or just paint? if so how do i strip it off, or can i just sand it finely. It looks like the previous owner tried to paint white over the the yellow, and most of it came off with a simple scrubbing with a brush and soapy water, so obviously he did it incorrectly. Under the yellow appears to be the fiberglass itself.

After sanding is there primer i should paint on?
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Instead of a primer, I would recommend using Interprotect 2000E, which is an epoxy-based barrier coating that is often used as a tie-coat between the fiberglass and the paint.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjonson View Post
If what i read is correct, the Gel Coat on my boat is essentially gone, can i just paint a new layer on? how do i prepare the surface?
Forgetabout gel coat paint on some paint.

See Perfection at yachtpaint.com - the official site of International and Interlux paints.

First time around stick with light colors or better yet white, it wont show the learning curve. Leave flag blue to the next project.
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Yes. White with dark stained wood trim is what we are planning on doing. I am just wondering how much of the yellow paint i need to remove, or if there is any way of knowing the yellow is a gel coat or a paint?

It appears that the layers go like this: Fiberglass, Yellow, White. The white is for sure a paint as it is easily removed, not sure if the yellow is or not.
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