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PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2014 12:12 pm 
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...of capacity to care what this boat looks like.

A "simple" bottom job on my '81 H16 has, at this point, swallowed ~half my summer. The repairs to the fiberglass were easy, and done in a weekend. The existing gelcoat was in pretty bad shape and while *some* lustre came back with heavy-cut polishing, something had clearly happened to the color over the years, because it looked kinda grayish-greenish-blue even after the polishing, so I decided to "just" re-coat the entire hull-bottoms. Getting that done has turned into a complete nightmare.

The short version is: I have not been able to get thick enough, even cover over the entire hull to sand to a good finish, and in the few areas where I have knocked the orange peel all the way down, I've ended up breaking through the gelcoat entirely, leading to yet another round of application, waiting, and sanding. This Sisyphean cycle of gel coating has been going on for over a month now, and this bottom job has cost me more than half of what I paid for the boat (I got 6 good seasons before the bottoms could no longer be ignored.)

At this point, as indicated, I simply don't care what it looks like any more. A good portion of the hulls is "not-completely-knocked-down" orange peel. My remaining concern is the hull surface w/r/t sailing in the water. I'm wondering if anyone knows of some compound or wax or something that I can put on (with a polisher or by hand) to get a passably slick surface on top of all this "not-completely-knocked-down" orange peel? I'm sure it won't be as good as "doing the gelcoat right" but at this rate, I'll never actually get to sail this summer if I continue chasing that albatross.

Thanks,
Ian


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 12:41 pm 
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Location: Bellingham, Washington
Hi Ian,
I don't have an easy solution for you, perhaps someone will give you an idea soon.
I have used a roller with Gel coat and had pretty good luck, put a couple of thick coats without release then one with.
If it is mixed correctly, it should dry really quickly.
I then used a palm sander with 400 to smooth everything out. Hand rubbed with600/800/1000/1500, it goes really quick once you have everything smooth with the 400. I was surprised how quick in fact.

I would think that if you run over what you have with 400, it should knock the bumps down in minutes. DO replace your 400 often, you will go crazy if you use dull paper. Do the rest wet sanding by hand, if you can reach everything, you should have it done in a day with time to wax.
That said, if you have gel covering the bottom, you are protecting the hull and can put it in the water...

If you are nearby, I'm happy to help.

-Todd


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PostPosted: Mon Jun 23, 2014 1:51 pm 
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Out of curiosity: How much gelcoat (i.e. quarts, gallons, etc) did you use in this process of rolling it on?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 24, 2014 9:12 am 
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"in minutes"?! Hah! I've been using 220 to start knocking stuff down and switching up as I get closer to the surface. Even at 220, to knock down both H16 hulls is taking me "several hours" each iteration with a palm sander. Maybe I'm not changing the paper out often enough...


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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2014 11:14 am 
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Location: Bellingham, Washington
I don't remember for sure, I think I used about a half gallon per hull including waste. I sanded a lot of it off :-)
Rolling seemed good for getting the thickness, but doesn't let you blend the edges. I was surprised that the new white was quite different than the boat white.
I wonder if it is the kind of sandpaper. does your palm sander have the vacuum holes?
I bought a box of discs and as soon as the paper got "streaks" of gel, I changed it out. I tried using a rubber stick to clean the disc, but quickly decided it was better to just toss them.
I'm not sure why it is so tough on your boat, but I didn't have to deal with thick orange peel either.
My surface was not super smooth when it dried, and I was a bit worried, but it really did go smooth fast.
Rubbing it down with higher grit wet went really well, and was very rewarding as it got more and more shine.
I was hoping someone else would help with more ideas.

Sorry you are having such a frustrating go of it.

You might think about just waxing it up and going sailing. As long as you have gel covering it, it won't hurt the boat. Work on it in the winter...

-Todd


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