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Old 04-06-2021, 02:19 PM   #1
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Default Refurbing Gelcoat

I've never done extensive gelcoat work so I don't truly knows what goes into it. I've just been around boats and boating forums for the past 10 years so I know that there are different levels of refurbishment available.

But how much oxidation damage on a boat that has lived outside most of it's life can be simply buffed and waxed out?

What is the process of giving an old boat a new "paint" job if I wanted to just haul out a 3300 and have it redone? I know it's a very expensive job so I'm just adding this type of stuff to the back of my mind as a budget item should I land on a particular 3000 I'm looking at that needs it's shine restored.
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Old 04-06-2021, 03:22 PM   #2
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I would test some spots out. I would test with 3M heavy cutting compound first. If you didn't like it, try wet sanding a spot, then compound. If one or both show promise use Finesse-It Glaze to polish and see what you think. It's not a fun process, but if you pick sections at a time it's a lot easier. I'm actually in the middle of compounding and polishing mine. I've finished below the rub rail and I'm going to plan on finish the bow this week. I've gotten a lot of compliments already. I love how glossy it looks below the rub rail and the water just beads up. Google 3M's "Gelcoat Finishing System 2 3 4 5 6 1 Gelcoat Finishing".

I was using a dewalt buffer for the compound until the handle broke. Then I switched to my harbor freight. It isn't as powerful as the dewalt, but it's much lighter. To wax/polish, I switched to an orbital.

I don't have any idea on painting, but I think West Marine has DIY kits.
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Old 04-06-2021, 04:30 PM   #3
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thanks that's helpful and makes me think I can find some more on youtube as well. I guess in my head since I don't know how far gone it can be and still be salvaged I'm trying to find maybe some before and afters so that I know when I walk up to a boat for sale "yes, I can fix this" or "no, I need to pull it and have it done".

A local fellow down here almost sold me his 3200 but decided to keep it, lol. He said he has 60 hours into refurbing the gelcoat this winter and is very happy with the outcome but I haven't seen the before and afters yet to know how it compares to the boat I looked at this last weekend.
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Old 04-06-2021, 04:47 PM   #4
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Looks like quite a bit can be done!
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Old 04-06-2021, 05:04 PM   #5
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Most times, oxidized gelcoat can be brought back, it’s just a matter of how much labor will be involved, particularly on lighter colors. Most boats will have sufficient thickness of gelcoat so it’s a matter of working with the right abrasives to cut thru the “bad” layers and start to polish out the scratches that are left.

Most times, a heavy compound like the 3M mentioned above with a good wool pad will be a good starting point. In some cases, I’ve had to resort to wet sanding to save some time, as the cut wasn’t enough with even a heavy compound.

For a 30-ish hull, that’s leaving chalk on your fingers, I would plan on at least several man-days of work
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Old 04-06-2021, 07:56 PM   #6
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That really sounds worth it to me. Turn on the music, bring a few beers and plan on hanging out on the boat for a few hours at a time until my hands and arms are aching. I had a quote for a full detail including brightwork and interior on my 2400 and it ranged from $800 to $2000+ depending on how intense I want. I could see attempting as much as possible myself in year one then maybe if it's not perfect having a pro come in and show me the ropes on what further improvement I could do.
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Old 04-06-2021, 09:30 PM   #7
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My 1990 2755 SCR was in great shape since it had always been stored indoors over the winters.

My old 1973 Grampian 26 Sailboat needed the gelcoat restored when I bought her originally. I had used PoliGlow on my C&C Shark 24 that I owned for 5 years prior, and was very very pleased with the results on both sailboats.
Here's a link to the product - https://www.poliglowproducts.com/sto...uxe-Kit.html#/
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