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  Topic Review (Newest First)
1 Week Ago 09:07 PM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Great thread, learned a ton. Thank you
09-30-2016 12:35 AM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Are you keeping the boat in the water or on the trailer when not sailing? If in the water then you will want to paint the bottom with antifouling paint below the water line. on the trailer you can wax the bottom. the sides of the boat, the topsides and the deck are gelcoat unless they have painted over the gelcoat. those are the areas that you can polish and wax.
09-29-2016 06:52 PM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

First you need to clarify what you are talking about - the deck is called the deck, the hull above water is called the topsides and the hull below water is called the bottom.

If you are talking about the bottom you don't wax it, you paint it with antifouling paint.
09-29-2016 05:24 PM
Sera Bailey
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Hi all. Iboats told me about this advice here and I am buying all the gear needed for my 1972 Aquarius 23 foot I am restoring. I have to repaint all the bottom after I strip it and also want to do the top but my question is, after I pain the lower half, do I just wax over it and I am good to go or do I need to do the cutting creme etc as well? I know the top needs every step due to oxidation etc, but what about the bottom section that will have fresh paint?

What do I do after I paint is the short version? Thanks so much
08-15-2016 11:56 AM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Follow up to my post from a week ago: I have followed the instructions for one side of the boat and am delighted at how well it has come out! The terrible oxidation that came on in the last couple years is gone, and indeed the coloration on this 20-year old boat looks new. Have invested about $300 into it so far and am just really pleased with the turnaround. Here's a quick summary of my steps and products, in case it helps anyone else:

1) Cleaned boat using hot water, Simple Green, and a variety of cloths and brushes.

2) I wet sanded, starting with 1000 grit and moving up to 1500 grit. This part didn't take long. I used the Masterpro oval hand sander and velcro pads available from O'Reilly's auto. 4 pads per grit, each side. Cost = around $30 total. This step made a big improvement, but left some of the original, varied oxidation.

3) I ordered the Makita polisher 9227C ($179 from Amazon) and the 3M compounding (#05711, $30 from Amazon) and polishing (#05713, $32 from Napa) pads. I will come close to burning thru the compounding pad by the time I'm done. I used Meguiar's #49, the Heavy Oxidation Remover. It took two 16-oz bottles ~ $14 each). The first bottle was at least 7 years old, and seemed to work just fine. This step was another big improvement, removing the remaining oxidation and making the finish completely even. Total cost = ~ $275.

* note - I did one section by hand while awaiting the Makita and was initially pleased with the results, then had to laugh after I saw what the Makita could do.

4) I polished all areas using two new 16-oz bottles of 3M Finesse-It II ($32 per 16 oz, available at West Marine). Again, this step made a huge difference. This removed all swirl marks left by the compounding, as well as the more minor scratches and any unevenness left from the prior steps. Other products would have cost half the price, but I did not try them.

5) Waxed with Trewax Boat Wax paste, (free, about 7 years old), using a round applicator pad and buffing with a 2x2 microfiber towel (~$5 each at West Marine). I chose this carnauba wax over a bottle of Interlux teflon-based wax (also about 7 years old) after reading about how carnauba has an almost endless shelf life. I had a 16-oz tin, and it was plenty enough for both sides.

A few tips to pass along:
- I taped off the bottom paint using painter's plastic. I left one section undone and regretted it once compounding residue dripped down and stained the bottom.
- I used Makita settings 1-4, which correspond to 600, 900, 1500, and 2100 rpms. For each section, I did a diminishing number of passes as I went up in rpms, roughly in a ratio of 4:3:2:1. It really only took about 8 passes at 600 rpms (then 6, 4, 2 at progressively higher) to do each section.
- For each section, both compounding and polishing, I marked off about 2', and then strayed about 6" into the section just finished in case it helped with transition. Not sure if this was needed, but it came out looking completely even.
- Slinging was a real hassle and multiplied how much of the compounding and finishing paste I went thru. The best way I found to minimize this was to apply the paste directly onto the boat instead on the pad. I also found the reducing the amount of water I pit on the pad helped reduce slinging.
- I wiped all compounding and polishing paste off immediately after finishing section. This was much easier than waiting until after it had fully dried.

I hope this helps someone down the road. I'm really pleased with how it turned out, and grateful to the OP for the detailed instructions, part numbers, tips, etc.
08-05-2016 12:20 PM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Thank you, this is exactly what I was looking for. I just fine sanded a test accent strip and it looks terrific. Will compound the larger areas and sand the accents, and expect it to look much, much better.
08-04-2016 10:37 PM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

If you sand with black wet/dry sandpaper you will always see white or blue color. You're removing some gelcoat, so you'll see its color.

As to whether this is a bad sign or not, it depends. You want to remove oxidized gelcoat, but not more than you have to. Whether you really need wet sanding or just a compounding depends on how badly oxidized the surface it. Even with compound you're removing some gelcoat, but less likely to notice it because you're not seeing it against a black background like sandpaper.

I have one boat (1985 vintage) that needed wet sanding to remove oxidation (followed, of course, by compound/polish/wax). Another boat (1998 vintage) only needed cutting cream, and sanding would have been overkill. It totally depends on the current condition of your gelcoat.
08-04-2016 11:05 AM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Thanks for the advice on the process.

I didn't understand the implication of there being no paint on the surface layer/the colored gel coat being applied in the mold before the fiberglass.

Originally Posted by overbored View Post
..unless the boat was painted over the gelcoat then there is no paint on the surface. Gelcoat is the color layer that is applied in the mold and then the fiberglass is laid in the mold. so it is a molded in color coat...
If I sand with fine grit, I immediately get color on the sandpaper. Does this mean something is not right, or is this to be expected? Lots of searching, but I can find no reference to it in any gel coat sanding discussion.

The boat's finish is original.
08-04-2016 01:26 AM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

I would recommend that you start with a gelcoat compound first. Presta gelcoat compound is expensive but it is the best and easiest to work with. use a rotary polisher and compounding pad like the Makita mentioned in the OP. an orbital does not work for compounding. if the compounding does not do the trick then go to wet sanding. wet sanding will remove more gelcoat then compounding. once the gelcoat is removed you can repair it but it is a long process so the less you take off the better. unless the boat was painted over the gelcoat then there is no paint on the surface. Gelcoat is the color layer that is applied in the mold and then the fiberglass is laid in the mold. so it is a molded in color coat. follow the OP from mainsail to the letter and don't use cheap tools or materials if you want good results.
08-03-2016 11:01 PM
Re: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax

Hi All,

First post here. I have a heavily oxidized fiberglass hull and came across this excellent thread when researching wet sanding. But I have run into something unexpected and decided to post here to make sure I'm not about to do more harm than good. Simply, when I go to wet sand the hull by hand, I see a filmy residue in the color of the hull (white) or stripe (blue). Am I correct in thinking that that I should see no colored residue? And if I am seeing it, does this mean I'm into the paint? This would surprise me as the boat is not really run down otherwise, but then again I obviously don't know much about gel coat.

The boat: 1996 Seasport, white hull with a blue stripe below the rub rail and another just above the bottom paint. The top stripe is especially chalky looking and oxidized, much more so than when I bought it 6 years ago.

My plan was:
1) Wash boat
2) wet sand with fine grit by hand
3) rubbing compound (cheap orbital buffer/polisher)
4) wax.

However, when I started Step 2 with 1000 grit sandpaper, I immediately had blue on the paper when sanding the lower stripe, and wet when sanding the main hull. I can't find any posts about this when searching boat sanding. Is this normal on a gel coated boat?
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