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04-09-2012 08:20 AM
Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

I found a local auto paint shop with Presta Ultra Cutting Cream, so I picked some up, and also bought a polisher/sander and 3M wool and foam pads. I did a test section on my boot stripe, and it fully restored the deep, wet look of the original blue bootstripe. It is going to look fantastic when I do the whole thing (stripe and hull). Work commitments will prevent me from doing the whole boat until next weekend, so I need to hold off on starting this.

The Presta cream is amazing stuff, the way it starts as a heavy compound and disappears as it breaks down into a fine polish. It does seem to accomplish 2 or 3 steps all at once. I could not find Presta Chroma, so I'll probably use Maguire's #9 as a final glaze - or skip that step and just go to wax.

The Presta cream says it removes 1500 and finer scratches, so since I had sanded the bootstripe with 1000 grit, I did a second sanding with 2000 grit to better prep it for the Presta cream.
04-05-2012 10:06 PM
Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

Thanks for the link. I had read that thread a year ago, but it was good to reread what I had forgotten. In theory I should have seen it right away since it's stickied, but the stickies become wallpaper after awhile and my eyes skip right over them.

I went out to a local auto supply store this afternoon and tried to find some of the products that MS recommended. All I found was the Maguire's #9, which I'm not ready to use yet, and all the other stuff looked to have silicone oils. I want to polish my entire hull - not sure I need compounding, but we'll have to see. However, I thought boot stripe needed more work than the rest of the hull, so I wanted to get started on that ASAP. I decided to go ahead with wet sandpaper instead of searching for a heavy compound, since I already had the paper, and I know that the only silicon it had was silicon carbide . Also, I felt it would be easier to control because I could cut it to the width of my boot stripe, and thus focus the sanding just on the stripe itself. I tried 1000 grit first, and it did the trick much quicker than the 2000 that I tried before. I was able to eliminate the chalkiness on both sides of the bootstripe (25' boat) in about 30 minutes.

As I observed the results of sanding I had some thoughts about what was causing the chalkiness. The bootstripe was always shiny since I bought the boat, it was just milky under the shine. I know the PO used Collinite Fleet paste on the hull, and the wax is starting to get discolored on the white part of the hull. The chalkiness would not go away when the stripe got wet - the stripe seemed to be hydrophobic (evidence that it was coated with wax). However, after about 10 strokes over a section with the sandpaper, the chalkiness would disapper and the water caused the strip to turn a nice, deep blue. I'd wipe off the area with a wet sponge and lots of water and let it dry. Once dry, it became a little lighter in color than when wet (but still darker than before), and very dull at this point. But now when it gets wet, the water coats it and it immediately turns dark again, instead of repelling the water and staying light like it did before.

My conclusion is that the milkiness was probably stale Fleet wax over top of an oxidized boot stripe. Now that I've sanded down to the bare stripe, I can compound/polish/glaze/wax to restore it.

I'm still struggling with whether to compound or go right to polishing. Overall the hull is in nice shape, and just needs for the old wax to be stripped off. I had already purchased the Collinite Fiberglass Boat Cleaner which seems to be somewhere between a compound and polish, so I'm thinking that maybe using that followed by Maguire's #9, then Collinite Fleet paste will get me decent results using up most of what I already have.

The other thing I'm toying with is getting the Presta Ultra Cutting Cream so I can do compounding and polishing in one step. It sounds like that is amazing stuff. However, I'm not sure that my pre-splash schedule will allow time for an online order to come, so it might have to wait until next year.
04-05-2012 01:57 PM
Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

04-05-2012 11:45 AM
Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

I wouldn't think anything higher than 600, then heavy cut compound and then light compound then wax then sealer...

It worked on my 77 o'day stripe quite well
04-05-2012 11:24 AM
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.
04-05-2012 11:21 AM
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.
04-05-2012 11:03 AM
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.
04-05-2012 10:49 AM
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.
04-05-2012 10:42 AM
Re: Restoring bootstripe by wet sanding?

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?
04-05-2012 10:39 AM
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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