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  Topic Review (Newest First)
04-30-2008 01:52 PM
Finallybuyingaboat Thanks for the input everyone. Will wash it down and then use manufacturer's recommended product(that is assuming it ever gets warm enough to do any work outside!38 degrees out there this morning).I read about acetone dissolving gelcoat on a thread on sailnet about Cetol, that is why I became wary.
04-30-2008 01:48 PM
Zanshin Beware of pure MEK with fiberglass (not gelcoat) - I know one guy who washed his glider's integral tanks out with MEK by mistake in order to dry/clean them. Later that morning, while pushing the glider out to the launch we realized the wings were flexing waaaay to much and it turns out that he'd dissolved so much spar/skin material that both wing halves were complete writeoffs - $30K in damage with just a liter of MEK and a couple of hours!
04-30-2008 01:47 PM
Quickstep192 If, after all that work, there was a problem with the finish, I would want to be able to go back to the manufacturer and say that I had used all of their products just as they described.
04-30-2008 01:32 PM
Just Clarification

Acetone ((CH3)2O) is chemically very different than Xylene, isopropylbezene,and Naptha. Acetone (and MEK and Cyclohexanone) are ketones, the others you mentioned are alkenes or in the case of Naptha a mixture of alkenes and alkanes. Acetone and MEK are low boiling very fast evaporting, were as the others are not.

I still advocate using water/soap as the initial process for getting rid of the bulk sanding dust/dirt, then following it with a solvent wipe (acetone or similar) for spot greasy or oily areas, then your paint prep fluid the whole, and lastly the topcoat paint.

04-30-2008 01:02 PM
Maine Sail
Originally Posted by Finallybuyingaboat View Post
However, I have read that acetone turns gelcoat into mush. Ideas?
This is a 100% bogus information! I have been using Acetone on gelcoat, as a wipe down / prep agent for over 30 years and have never once seen my gelcoat turn to mush.

If you pour it on the surface, and let it just sit there, it will eventually do some damage but why the heck would you do that? It will do no damage wiping the surface with a rag doused in Acetone. MEK is a another good wipe down agent that evaporates a little slower. I don't like oil based solvents such as straight mineral spirits because they can leave an oily film..

If you're still concerned about Acetone you can pay big bucks for Interlux 202 Solvent Wash or Pettit Fiberglass Dewaxer.

202 is a mixture of a bunch of potent chemicals like MEK, Cumene or isopropylbenzene, Xylene, Naptha and Cyclohexanone which is a similar industrial solvent to Acetone...

04-30-2008 12:34 PM
BenthosCritter Finally,
Acetone does not dissolve gelcoat...period. NOLASailing is correct. Use the manufacturers surface prep.

Good luck with your project.

04-30-2008 10:58 AM
Dust Off versus Surface Prep

For getting dust off, why is everyone telling the OP to use volatile and flammable solvents? General deck cleaning and dust removal should be done with a weak soapy solution and rinse.

The is a difference between dust/dirt and grease/wax and residual adhesives. If the OP has dust/dirt, use a weak soapy solution with some scrubbing action and then rinse well with water, allow to dry thoroughly, then follow with the paint prep solvent for what ever paint system that you are using. If there are areas of residual adhesive, grease, or wax, hit them with a cloth soaked in acetone or mineral spirits first. No need to do whole desk in acetone or MS .

The paint prep materials do have high flash solvents in them and surface etching materials, but they also contain a small amount of "paint/tie coat" that will bond to the cleaned deck and help the topcoat bond better. You need to do this step, as NOLAsailing points out, to ensure adhesion of the topcoat.

04-30-2008 10:35 AM
NOLAsailing STOP!

All paint systems I'm aware of (Interlux, AwlGrip, AlexSeal, etc) have specific solvents for prepping the surface. It's an important step - please don't skip it (yes, they are way more expensive than just acetone). If you're just removing bulk dust and residue, then go ahead and use acetone or mineral spirits (neither will damage the gelcoat), but follow up with liberal use of the manufacturer's recommended solvent.
04-30-2008 10:27 AM
timebandit Just before painting always, always use a tack cloth.
04-30-2008 09:29 AM
kwaltersmi Interlux sells a couple of products called "Fiberglass Solvent Wash", "Fiberglass Surface Prep" and "Brushing Liquid". I think any of these should work for your application.

I just finished painting everything on my boat above the waterline. I just used clean warm water and several clean rags to remove the sanding dust.
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