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post #1 of 14 Old 04-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

My 13 year old boat has a bootstripe that's in pretty good condition, it's just gotten a little chalky. I'd like to restore the bootstripe before launching. Traditional compounds do not make any visible improvement on the chalk. I tried wet sanding with 2000 grit on a test spot under the stern, and it came out well, but only after A LOT of time. I don't think it is practical to do the whole boat that way. I suspect that wet sanding with a coarser grit will allow me to work much more quickly.

My question is how coarse do you think I could go without scratching all the way through the stripe? 1000? 500? 220?

If any of you have actual experience with this to share, I'd appreciate it.

Obviously I'd follow this up with finer grits and compound, and a good wax over top to prevent additional chalking.


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)
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post #2 of 14 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

going to piggy back on your thread.

What sort of paint is used on the boot stripe? I thought it would be anti-fouling, but it doesn't seem so.

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post #3 of 14 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

If the boot stripe is white, use iron and rust stain remover. Takes that brown color back to white. I have not tried this myself, but have this boot stripe problem. If you try it, let me know how it works. My boot stripe appears to be part of the gelcoat

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

The bootstripe is dark blue. I've never heard of a white bootstripe on a white hull. There is no stain, because the bootstripe is well above the waterline. When I say it's chalky, I mean that the blue has a milky appearance.

The bootstripe is embedded in the original gelcoat as supplied from the manufacurer - I'm not sure if it's just colored vinylester resin or a post-applied decorative paint. I think antifouling paint tends to be a little too soft, rough, and stainable for bootstripe use.


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)

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post #5 of 14 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

I've had pretty good luck by just repainting my bootstripe with an Interluk bootstrip paint sold by WM. It does require sanding the surface prior to application as per the instructions on the can. The only wet sanding that I may do is trying to remove some pimples in the freeboard gelkote. Rubbing compound does not seem to work, but someone suggested wet sanding.
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post #6 of 14 Old 04-05-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

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Originally Posted by lancelot9898 View Post
I've had pretty good luck by just repainting my bootstripe with an Interluk bootstrip paint sold by WM. It does require sanding the surface prior to application as per the instructions on the can. The only wet sanding that I may do is trying to remove some pimples in the freeboard gelkote. Rubbing compound does not seem to work, but someone suggested wet sanding.
This boat is only 13 years old, and the gelcoat is in great shape. I think repainting is overkill at this point. I don't mean to shoot you down - your advice could be very helpful for many readers here with older boats. And if I end up damaging my bootstripe, I'll probably end following your advice.

In the meantime, can someone suggest a proper grit of sandpaper that will give me good productivity without damaging the gelcoat? Or maybe a different compound that will do the trick?


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1998 Catalina 250WK Take Five (at Anchorage Marina, Essington, on the Delaware River)
1994 Mason 44 Firefly on loan from my BFF (West River, Galesville, MD)
1991 15' Trophy (Lake Wallenpaupack)
1985 14' Phantom (Lake Wallenpaupack)

Last edited by TakeFive; 04-05-2012 at 10:46 AM.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

Be careful on being too aggressive as the gelcoat is only 20 thousandth of an inch or about the thickness of seven pieces of printer paper.
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post #8 of 14 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

I have always just used rubbing compound on the boot stripe. I don't do it as aggressively as the rest of the hull because I know that it is painted on the gelcoat, not part of it.

Doesn't MaineSail's thread on rubbing and waxing have a detour into boot stripe restoration? I recall something about taping off the boot stripe so the pigment doesn't migrate when the white hull is rubbed and then taping off the hull and doing the stripe separately. I might have imagined the whole thing (I have a rich fantasy life). I might try that; I recall seeing a lot of blue getting rubbed off when I did my C-18 last year.

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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

Ditto for using MaineSail's instructions for restoring your boot stripe.

Definitely, don't paint it.

I've used them with amazing results. Word of caution: don't substitute inferior tools and compounds. Do what he says.

Wet sanding with 600 grit is likely the way to go, and work your way up from there with your sanding grits. You'll likely end up at 1500 grit, followed by compounding with Presta or 3M products.

You should end up with a like new shine. Be sure to budget some time in the future for doing the entire topsides with Maine's techniques.
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post #10 of 14 Old 04-05-2012
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Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

2000 grit is too fine to start with. Try some 800 wet. If that removes the chalk then go to 1200 and then polishing compounds. If the 800 is still too slow, back down to 600, then 800 then 1200 etc.

For comparison, I restored the 40 year old, probably never maintained hull of my 43' starting with 400 wet, then 600. The chalking I had to deal with was as bad as I've seen but it ended up where I could read the names of other boats in the reflections.

The only reason to use grits like 1500, 2000 etc. is for show car paint where a true, perfect mirror reflection is required. It's pointless on gelcoat since it never is, or can be, that glossy.
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