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Old 06-10-2021, 05:53 PM
richies richies is offline
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Boat: S&S 84 351 Windsor PCM
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1984 Stars and Stripes - Gelcoat restoration

Hi

I have my boat with my local fibreglass shop to repair some keel damage and floor delamination. Sorting that is going ok.

The topside gelcoat is very oxidised and somewhat scratched - its a well used boat...

We want to bring it back to decent (but not showroom) appearance. I have always been planning to do this myself based on guidance from this forum - get wet sanding. My fibre glass guy reckons the grey will come back ok, but that the red is too thin and it might come up a bit, but either it wont last, or if sanded too much will go blotchy with the underneath grey coming through. He wants to paint the red.

All the serious restorations Ive read about here say the whole gelcoat will come back...

Please give me some advice - sand it all, or just sand the grey. Is the actually red quite thin...?

Cheers

Richard
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  #2  
Old 06-10-2021, 06:06 PM
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waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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From the work I have done, I say that your 19Skier will come back to a nice shine as long as you cut to clean gel. If you don't get to a clean surface, the oxidation will come back sooner than later (typically within a season).

Sand it out and go for it. No need to paint. Save that for another time.

Where one gets into issues is with flake. Your 84 (solid gel) has a much greater likelihood of success without issues. It is a time consuming effort but well worth it in the end.

By far I'd first sand it out before resorting to paint. The red is not so thin due to the solid layer (no flake). I have cut pretty deep into the accent color (no flake) without seeing black (blotchy). Same with the grey.

So for part 2 of my opinion, sand out the red and see how it looks without doing the grey. However, my deep down bottom of my heart answer is to sand it all and make it look new again. I'd at least do it in stages (red then grey). If you feel otherwise, so be it. However, I strongly feel you'll not cut through the red before you get to a clean surface. I have seen far worse than that come out looking like a new penny.

Remember, they sprayed the gel first in the mold and with no flake, I'd say the red and grey are much the same thickness. "How thick?" you ask. I have never seen an accurate specification on the thickness and I suspect that is because in that era, there was no QC specification to adhere to (that I am aware). Likely the skill and experience of the sprayer. In this case, red and grey are about the same. Twenty mils, 25 mils, 30 mils, 250 mils ??? I don't know but as I said earlier, I have seen far worse come out looking new.

US $0.02

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Last edited by waterlogged882; 06-10-2021 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 06-10-2021, 08:54 PM
WhiskeyTango WhiskeyTango is online now
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Boat: 2015 X30, 1980 S&S Project
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An additional thought regarding your question of whether going through the red will show the gray in blotches behind it.

On my 1980 the stripe (which is flake, so possibly a different process / sequence) was sprayed after the gray, so there was no gray beneath it. In fact, the flake layer (comparable to red in your case) was sprayed well beyond the border of the stripe “behind” the gray.

If the carpet is out, put a bright light on the inside, sand the red slowly and carefully, and watch for any change in the color or intensity of the light. Thin gel could show as yellow / brown (fiberglass) or gray (gel backup color).

Best of luck.
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Old 06-10-2021, 09:27 PM
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waterlogged882 waterlogged882 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhiskeyTango View Post
An additional thought regarding your question of whether going through the red will show the gray in blotches behind it.

On my 1980 the stripe (which is flake, so possibly a different process / sequence) was sprayed after the gray, so there was no gray beneath it. In fact, the flake layer (comparable to red in your case) was sprayed well beyond the border of the stripe “behind” the gray.

If the carpet is out, put a bright light on the inside, sand the red slowly and carefully, and watch for any change in the color or intensity of the light. Thin gel could show as yellow / brown (fiberglass) or gray (gel backup color).

Best of luck.
Good information as one boat sometimes changes from another. You did a heck of a job on your hull so thank you for sharing your experience and this information. You went far above and beyond the typical restoration effort.

One never knows for sure (or at least I have not figured it out) from boat to boat / year to year.

As another scenario here is a 79 flake, that was far gone. Myself and the owner knew that going into it. Black background is what I hit with very little sanding. The flake was near the surface of the gel and I could feel the flake when I swept my hand across it before I started working.
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Here is an 81 I worked on couple of years back.

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Old 06-13-2021, 05:34 PM
richies richies is offline
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Thanks so much for these replies - I have convinced my guy to not paint and we will get into the sanding.

Cheers

Richard
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