Gel coat repair

Discussion in 'General Paddling Discussions' started by pawsplus, Oct 9, 2018.

  1. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Inexplicably, since I am beyond anal with my Pilgrim Exp, I seem to have some gel coat damage on the hull. Can I fix this myself? Is this kind of kit good?

    https://www.bottompaintstore.com/fi...594.html/gel-coat-repair-kit-4oz-p-10307.html

    A CAVEAT: Please do not make suggestions that involve my having to buy umpty-million expensive things. I need to do this CHEAPLY and I don't have a lot of stuff, nor do I WANT a lot of stuff. You guys are sometimes over the top a bit, so asking you to gear this to someone with ZERO experience repairing boats and not much money. Thanks!
     
  2. Man in qajaq

    Man in qajaq Paddler

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    Unless you have extremely large scratches showing the glass underneath, I really wouldn't worry about them.
     
  3. Peter-CKM

    Peter-CKM Paddler

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    Photos of damage?
     
  4. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    I will get some. It's way more than a scratch. I am unable to account for it, as I really am precious about the boat. <sigh>
     
  5. red kite

    red kite Paddler

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    It's not clear to me what Evercoat kit you are intending to order - the description in the link doesn't make it clear enough if it's the multi colour kit or the white only kit. Assuming that your boat has a white hull I personally would not bother with all the other colour pigments. *

    Gel coat resin does NOT have an indefinite shelf life - once you open that jar the first time it will harden over time even without any catalyst added (depending on the environment a couple of months to potentially a year). Also 4oz is a lot of gel coat for a scratch, you might want to go for the one ounce kit. Mix thoroughly in small batches.

    Proper prep work and appropriate controlled environment (aka, at this time of year, heatable space with proper ventilation), as outlined in the kit, is absolutely key to ensure a long lasting repair.
    Think of your health and use appropriate gear to protect your eyes, lungs and skin. Going cheap or skipping altogether on personal protection equipment might be tempting but is totally not worth it.

    An alternative to the Evercote kit that has worked well for this kind of job in a non-professional setting / on the go**: http://magicezy.com/9secondchipfix/



    * Ah, I see what has happened: I can't find the Evercoat white only kit - I might have mixed it up with this: http://www.gelcote.com/product/scratched-surface-repair-kits/, this is the one I have worked with before.

    ** As a professional in the repair shop, I touch up gel coat nicks and scratches with gel coat, bottom line. And if you'd bring a boat to me that has materials on it that might not be gel coat and are potentially not gel coat compatible, I'll ask you what you used (so keeping notes might be a good idea) and might need to adjust my prep work accordingly.
     
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2018
  6. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Wow. A relatively simple process made complicated. The steps are simple but take a lot of words to describe.

    1. I am not a pro. Just a practical tinkerer.
    2. This kit is about half the cost and unless the scratch is huge, probably adequate.
    http://www.discountmarinesupplies.c...kajaboBLGFXiaWdKRq_Slo2OsPzdfHfhoCuyAQAvD_BwE
    3. Matching the color is the trickiest and most tedious part. What I do: on a piece of clean plastic cutting board, use a thin piece of plastic such as a playing card to mix up the colors you think are right, in an amount that looks like it will fill the scratch. Do not add any catalyst until the color match is just right. Back and forth motion is better than circular stirring. Kind of a scraping and folding motion.
    4. Wipe a little on the boat, near the scratch, not on it.
    5. If it is not a good match, wipe it off, add apropos pigment, and remix.
    6. When repeating steps 4 and 5 produces a perfect match, then add the correct amount of catalyst and mix thoroughly. Same motion.
    7. Use a thin, flexible blade, such as a painter's palette knife, or a thin piece of plastic, to smear the catalyzed mixture into the scratch, leaving it a little proud (above the edges).
    8. Allow it to cure until it will not dent with a fingernail. Might take overnight.
    9. With 120 grit sandpaper on a sanding block, gently sand in the long direction of the scratch (not across it) until the scratched area blends smoothly with the rest of the hull. Shine a light on it from various angles.
    10. Shift to 220 grit wet or dry sandpaper, doubled over, fully wet, and sand gently to smooth the scratched area. Rewet and rinse the wet or dry sandpaper frequently.
    11. Repeat step 10 with finer grits of wet or dry paper: 400, then 600. The scratch should blend in with its surroundings, but the scratched area will not be as shiny as the rest of the hull.
    12. Hit the auto parts store for some polishing compound and follow instructions to reach a uniform gloss.
    13. Wax as you see fit.

    If you screw it up, just haul out some 80 grit on a sanding block, take off the top sixteenth of an inch or so, and redo it as above. If you end up with some small voids revealed during sanding, patch with gel coat, sand smooth, and call it good.
     
  7. Astoriadave

    Astoriadave Paddler

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    Paws, West Marine has a nice series of videos on fixing a scratch using gel coat. The one below is the second one of the series. The others will probably come up in the sidebar when you access this one. The third one covers wet sanding and buffing -- using a power buffer; hand buffing works well for small jobs, though.

    I imagine a pro like red kite knows more tricks to simplify the process, as well.

    In the video below, note the clever use of a syringe and masking tape, and how he cleans off any existing wax prior to masking. A decent auto parts store should have squeegees, stirsticks, the good masking tape, and possibly plastic syringes. (These should all be low cost items.) The type shown here is similar to the ones vets use to clean out anal glands in dogs, in case the auto parts store does not have them.

     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2018
  8. pawsplus

    pawsplus Paddler

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    Thanks, all! :)