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Old 03-08-2012
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Exclamation Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Ok, so to set the stage, this is my first boat. I'm trying to boost my handyman confidence by doing some hull work. I read all I could about this for a few days before giving it a try so if for a moment I sound like I might know what I'm doing don't be fooled

I've read MaineSail's post on compounding and polishing hulls about 100 times, have bought the materials, and can't wait to start.

BUT, as much as I want to make things shiny, I knew I should address some dings in the hull first.

Here are the ones I figured I'd start on:



So first I took a dremel and lightly carved out the dings some in order to make a smoother surface for the gel coat.



And a super close up to show the layers (it really isn't that huge, I promise!)



I saned out out by hand with some 60 grit, then 120 and 220 to feather the edges and smooth it out more.

Then I cleaned the area with acetone and mixed up my gel coat. It was from the Evercoat "Match N Patch" Kit. The gel is a reddish clear color and you are meant to mix in your coloring. So I mixed in several drops of the white dye (the reason I didn't just get white was I was trying to match the aged hull a little better and I have some gouges in the blue stripe I need to patch up too).

I mixed it up, added the hardener, placed plastic over the area and used a plastic spreader to push the air out and even out the gel coat. I taped it up and let it sit an hour as instructed.

Here's what I ended up with after I faired out the excess gel coat:



It seemed the middle worked out because the gel coat was thick enough, but the edges didn't and you can see the blue circle. Even if it was because the new gel coat was too thin, I can't make it any thicker without making a lump. If I sanded out more I'd just have more blue to cover. I must be missing something.

I cleaned out the dings again and cleaned with acetone.

I then tried some White Evercoat Formula 27 filler (really gray) to fill the deeper spots and faired out the spots a little more.

After that cured I sanded off the extra. At first I was using a stiff sanding block so I could sand down the filler and not the surrounding gel coat, but I was worried I was usng too much of a straight block on the curved hull, so I switched to a dry spong and continued to use 220 grit to sand down the filler.

I started to see blue specs showing through the white so I immediately stopped, seeing that I was on the fast track to more problems.

I then mixed up some more gel coat and added some extra white drops to be sure it wasn't a problem of being too translucent or something, and spread it on thicker and over a larger area, just covering on of the spots so I could test.

How I had to leave it this evening. Shown under a plastic sheet to keep air out.



As you can see, you can see a hint of the oval within the photo. Not a huge deal if I could leave this much gel coat on, but once I start to fair it, it will show more. Even if I can fair it enough to barely see it, I feel as soon as I compound the hull to follow MaineSail's buffing guide I'm going to start seeing blue again.


What am I doing wrong?! (Thanks so much!!)
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Last edited by maine89; 03-08-2012 at 07:12 PM.
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Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

I was hoping to see a lot of replys to look over. Are you mixing in a good pigment? try to let it dry off the hull follow this same recipe on the hull once you find a color match. I know some white color will use a blue to make a bright white. Could this be what is the cause of your blue? a blue in your old gell coat? Please keep me up to date ! I am almost in the same boat as you. I have purchased a small boat to tune up my skill to see if when I buy the big one I should get a fixer up or pay the price for a boat in nice shape I have done some fiberglass work. I am a pipe welder and once in a blue moon someplace will run fiberglass pipe so each 20 feet is a joint but no gel coat 20 years ago I did a fiberglass repair on a hull crack on a 120 hp ski boat it was red and for the gel coat I added pigment and you could not even tell. We ran it hard in lake Erie for 3 years could not even see it. It may have been all luck. I think red is an easy color to match.
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Hello Lou452,

The pigment and gel coat quality is questionable. Someone warned me not to go with gel coat kits at west marine because they don't turn them over enough and they are often too old. However, others told me they did just fine with them so I took a shot!

What do you mean by dry off the hull?

The blue is whatever the blue layer is below my white gel coat. I'm not sure if that is a primer or what. If I feather the edges at all I get more blue.

It is entirely possible I just went sand crazy and didn't realize it and have made this part of the hull very thin on gel coat.

My current plan is to go back tomorrow and try to slap a nice even layer of gel coat over a wide area and try to blend it in as much as possible. Hopefully I don't end up with a smooth but noticeable bump on the side of the hull.

I'm am watching this thread like a hawk and hope to get some tips before I start another early morning of boat work (170 miles and $30 in gas to get to the boat until I can have it moved so I have to make every day count!)
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Old 03-08-2012
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

There are many 'shades' of 'white' and one must carefully eyeball the tinting colors to attain the correct shade of 'white'.

There are many internet sources for the correct methods of 'color matching' gelcoat. Heres a very simplified method: with small tubes, etc. of the proper tinting gel, you start with the basic white and slowly and in VERY bright light you keep adding very small amount of the tint color until you arrive at a close match ... all this is done without catalyst and is done on a large plastic or glass plate using a 'putty knife' to be sure that all the color is correctly matched. You transfer small 'trials' of the matched gel to the OEM surface to verify the 'match'. Then when fully satisfied with the color match you scrape together all the gel on the plate and then and only then add the catalyst and quickly apply (either by trowel or diluted and then sprayed) to the surface to be repaired. You then flat sand then power buff. Other additives to enhance the gloss are available and there are 'chemicals' that are sprayed onto the finished gel to accelerate the cure.
For deep gouges you usually begin with a fill or 'leveling' application, let fully cure, and then overspray (blend) into the surrounding area with diluted color matched gel.


For best gel matching, you cut a 50˘ sized plug out of the surface and send it to a gelcoat source who does computer color matching .... but still usually needs to be 'adjusted' by yourself by 'eyeball' to attain the best 'match'.

Do websearch for: gelcoat + repair + color + match. There are several 'good' videos available for pro quality DIY gel repair available.
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Too thin.

This is why I HATE, absolutely HATE, attempting to repair dings and chips with gelcoat. The match is never 100%, and with one or two spots it's no big deal, but if you've got a few, you might as well paint the bloody topsides, or accept that your boat will look like a leopard.
or a leper, depending.

Sorry for being awol chris. it's been a weird couple of weeks.
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

I have HUGE respect for anyone that can get an acceptable color match on a gelcoat repair, especially on an off white hull and deck like mine. I tried, I really tried, about a quart worth of gelcoat, a whole lot of coloring agents, trial after trial. Forget it, wasn't going to happen in my lifetime!

Gary H. Lucas
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Hello Rich,

That is what I did and the color mostly matches, but the problem is the blue border of the hole is visible.

It is possible that I have not added enough color since the gel is originally transparent (ish). But the directions warn of putting in too much color. Of course their measurements are in $20 increments of gel coat so it's hard to know for sure what % I'm using.
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Too thin.
More coats.
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Too thin.

This is why I HATE, absolutely HATE, attempting to repair dings and chips with gelcoat. The match is never 100%, and with one or two spots it's no big deal, but if you've got a few, you might as well paint the bloody topsides, or accept that your boat will look like a leopard.
or a leper, depending.

Sorry for being awol chris. it's been a weird couple of weeks.
Hey there! Looks what happens when you leave me alone!

What do you mean by too thin? If I add more gel coat it is going to being a lump. Unless of course I went sand crazy and lowered this whole section, then maybe a big lump is what I need?

After I salvage this spot I might call it quite on the ding fixing and just continue with the compounding and waxing. I don't mind the dings and I'm sure they won't be my last.

Quote:
Originally Posted by GaryHLucas View Post
I have HUGE respect for anyone that can get an acceptable color match on a gelcoat repair, especially on an off white hull and deck like mine. I tried, I really tried, about a quart worth of gelcoat, a whole lot of coloring agents, trial after trial. Forget it, wasn't going to happen in my lifetime!

Gary H. Lucas
Hi Gary,

It isn't so much of a problem of matching (though I'm sure that's a problem as well) it's a problem of the color (gray fill and blue ring) beneath the gel coat showing through. I'm not even trying to full match the color because I knew before starting that wasn't a realistic expectation

Though I did take notes of my mix ratios in case I happened to get lucky my first few times.
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Re: Gel Coat Repair Flop (Pics)

Quote:
Originally Posted by bljones View Post
Too thin.
More coats.
How do I add more coats when it is already too thick (again supposing I didn't go sand crazy and need to build up this whole area again)

I had to really heap it on to cover the spot and haven't even faired it yet.
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