Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Jackson, Missouri
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There are 2 types of gelcoat, with wax and without. Finish Gel coat is with wax, I think. Without wax must have a barrier over the surface to cure, with wax will fully cure without this barrier. Commonly, PVA (poly vinyl alcohol) is used as a barrer. If you use waxed, you must also sand/wash the surface before applying the next coat. PVA is also sold as a mold release agent.
For small jobs, you can use the Preval spayers that have a propellent can on a glass resevoir, or for larger jobs, purchase an inexpensive gravity gun and use a compressed air source. Use Acetone to thin gelcoat, but be conservative, as a small amount of thinner goes a long way. Regardless, after spraying, you will have to wet sand with increasing finer grades of paper and then compound and polish to get a good glossy finish.
Having said all that, you can simply brush on a coat of gel coat and then block sand it smooth. This works well also. The nice thing about it is you can always sand off your work and start over if you are unhappy with it (unless you are working on non-skid!). Gel coat work is not hard but tedious sometimes, and your results do depend on your prep work, just like any other finish surface.
Also if you are spraying, mask off everything in the area, as this stuff is really hard to get off after it cures, and wear your respirator as it is very toxic if inhaled.
Good luck with your project!
Jboat J/37c (new to me Jan 2011); J/22 #1003
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