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Looking to restore the SHINE!

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    Posted: May-14-2019 at 4:34pm
Been reading about ceramic sealants that claim to bring shine and brilliance back to an old finish. After years of serious oxidation on my 89’ SN, I’ve had to remove decals, wet- sand (some areas all the way to 400 grit), then work my way back up to 1200 grit, then compound, polish, and wax (using high speed polisher). Oxidation is gone and gel coat is significantly better but still not getting the showroom shine that I’m looking for. Ceramic sealants seem to be very expensive, at least the ones I’ve seen. Any more economical suggestions out there on what I should use? Thanks in advance!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 4:50pm
William,Are you using a polisher or a rotary buffer?


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 5:01pm
High speed polisher (non-orbital).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote oldlegbone Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 5:32pm
You could try some McKees 37 Hydro Pearl if you want a silicon coating spray. Try that over some collinite.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FLCaptain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 6:53pm
You haven’t wet sanded your way up high enough. You got to go to 2000. Then polish
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 7:44pm
Originally posted by FLCaptain FLCaptain wrote:

You haven’t wet sanded your way up high enough. You got to go to 2000. Then polish

That is incorrect as a blanket statement- it assumes certain material facilities that we aren’t privy to. But the underlying notion is likely the issue here.

Remember how the process works... the most aggressive material you use is what removes the oxidation and restores the color. Every step beyond that is simply restoring the smooth surface. Each subsequent round (whether it be sanding, compound or polish) is intended to remove the scratches left behind by the previous round. By stepping from coarsest to finest grit, you are left with a smooth finish at the end... unless you failed at some step. If any round fails to remove the scratches from the previous round, the final result will be less than optimal. Things that can cause this are lack of thoroughness (not spending enough time), too large of a step between sequential coarsenesses, improper material selection (compound/polish), improper pad material/height selection, or incorrect operating rpm on the buffer. When done properly, the end result should be a mirror shine.

Can you enlighten us on your processes and materials? It may help us identify what went wrong.

Ceramic sealants shouldn’t be necessary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 8:07pm
Thanks for the replies... here’s what I’ve done:

- Started wet sanding at 1000 grit and it wouldn’t eliminate the oxidation or the former decal silhouettes. Moved down to 800, 600, then finally 400 did it.

- Worked my way back up wet-sanding... 600, 800, 1000, 1200

- Used rotary polisher and a wool pad to compound (600-800 rpm) using Meguiars One Step Compound for marine

- Proceeded to polish using Meguiars polish and a higher speed on the rotary

- Finished with Meguiars Pure Wax

After the suggestion of sanding up to 2000 before polish, I went back and re-sanded to 1500 then 2000 then re-polished and re-waxed. It was better but still not the mirror surface.

Spent the large part of today doing just the transom. Thanks again for all the suggestions. I’ll keep at it!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 9:08pm
What’s the story on the 1-step compound? What grit of scratches will it remove and what is the recommended rpm?

Same question on the polish.

How are you determining that you are sanding enough with each grit? Using a tracer?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote FLCaptain Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 9:16pm
The late 80s had some heavy gel. If you can’t see your and in it go back to 1500 then 2000 both wet. Chalk it up good with running color then polish. You should see no decal imprints in the color by now. If you do. Then 1500 wont get you where you want to be
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote 8122pbrainard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 9:28pm
I sure glad this thread didn't go down the poliglow path again!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hollywood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-14-2019 at 10:07pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-15-2019 at 11:40am
The 1-step compound is suppose to be compound and polish although I used a separate polish. Being a novice at this, I’m not sure how to tell when surface is ready for finer grit steps and not sure what a tracer is.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hollywood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-15-2019 at 11:57am
It’s as much as an aggressive polish as it is a diluted compound. Stick with single purpose solutions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-15-2019 at 12:16pm
Originally posted by TRBenj TRBenj wrote:

What’s the story on the 1-step compound? What grit of scratches will it remove and what is the recommended rpm?

Same question on the polish.

How are you determining that you are sanding enough with each grit? Using a tracer?

I didn’t see the answer to any of these questions... if the product you used doesn’t tell you then I’m not sure how you would know whether it would be effective.

Kevin is right- that combo stuff is likely ineffective in the way you’re using it. If we get a bit more info we can help identify other potential areas that aren’t effective. This process is slow and laborious... id make sure you have a good plan in place before restarting.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gun-driver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-16-2019 at 10:11pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 11:07am
Well, finally getting there. After removing the decals, I had to sand down to 150 grit to remove the decal shadows, then work my way back up - 220, 400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200, 1500, and 2000 before compounding, polishing, and waxing. It’s not perfect but significantly improved! I can certainly vouch that this is a laborious and arduous process indeed but it is a labor of love I guess :-).

Here are photos - before (when I bought the boat last Nov) to today. Needed a lot of TLC! Will be adding the remainder of the new decals soon then move on to refurbishing the interior.

Thanks again for all the tips and tricks. It’s great to be able to leverage the vast expertise on this forum!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 11:08am
Originally posted by TRBenj TRBenj wrote:

If we get a bit more info we can help identify other potential areas that aren’t effective.

If it’s not perfect, then your selection of products and/or processes still need some tweaking. Wetsanding to 2000 isn’t needed... depending on product selection. Oh well.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 11:34am
Agree. Most likely both need modifying. Working on the other side now. Will continue to follow the tips provided to see if I can get a better end result.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Hollywood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 12:17pm
And there is no guarantee all gel will come back perfectly. Your boat was pretty bad! It’s looking great from here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 12:27pm
Shine can always come back perfectly... that’s just making sure the final surface is very smooth. Whether or not you can get out every scratch, ghosting, color fade etc is another matter... but agreed- it certainly looks a lot better than it did.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 12:55pm
Thanks for the comments. Guess I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and looking for a new glossy finish on a 30 year old boat!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote TRBenj Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: May-22-2019 at 2:27pm
Totally doable.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote solson324 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-04-2019 at 2:44pm
I think that looks great bfootr, a similar gelcoat restoration is on my to do list down the road. Question, you mention removing decals, but did you remove the pin striping? If not, any tips on how to restore the finish right up to the striping without messing it up?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: June-04-2019 at 3:17pm
I didn’t remove the pin striping but just put some blue painters tape over it to protect it while I wet-sanded and compounded.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cam05210 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-29-2019 at 5:24pm
Interesting read...While my '89's gel coat is 95% perfect, I do have some minor nicks in the pinstripes, a small portion of the rear transom decal has turned brown, and I have 1-2 "shadows" from the warning decals on the transom that I plan on doing a full compound/polish/wax this fall. I'm going to pull the stripes and decal off and I have already received the OEM replacements from N3 that my local vehicle wrap dealer is going to re-install once I do the buffing.

I have a few minor scratches on the underside of the hull that want to hopefully wet sand out but I'm so nervous doing this as I can't get my head around taking sand paper to the finish.. I'm very comfortable with a high speed polisher but not sanding... Any tips on this process or things to be mindful of before I take on this project???
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bfootr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-29-2019 at 6:03pm
I was surprised how easy it was to remove minor scratches from the gel coat. My advice - Start with the less abrasive grits first, maybe 1000
or 1200 and hand-sand to see if that removes them. If not, then go coarser and work your way down to the grit that does remove them. Then work your way back up. I worked my way back up to 1500 and even 2000 hand-sanding before I started to lightly compound and polish using a high speed polisher with a wool pad. Lastly, wax and you should be good to go! Good luck!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MourningWood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-29-2019 at 10:23pm
Great topic, often covered but as each boat is a different case, so is the procedure.
I just made the mistake mentioned above....skipping over 1 level abrasive.
I went from 3M super-duty compound straight to 3M Finesse II. Oops. The II can't possibly remove heavy-cut swirl marks. Starting over.
(p.s. min'e an '82 with a few more clicks on the odometer).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Blamey Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-30-2019 at 10:27am
Originally posted by MourningWood MourningWood wrote:


I went from 3M super-duty compound straight to 3M Finesse II. Oops.


So you still have swirl marks?

2 steps worked for me (Super Duty to Finesse It II Glaze) and I didn't notice much difference between 2 and 3 steps. Others here disagreed that 2 steps were enough. Maybe I am just not particular enough.

Let us know how different it is when you go back with a middle step.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote MourningWood Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-30-2019 at 12:29pm
I think my poor results may have to with my polishing pads.
I used foam pads (1 for heavy cut, 1 for polish) for both applications. Thinking I need wool pad for the cut. Also a faster buffer speed for polish.

Bfootr, think you did a amazing job with your '89.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote zwoobah Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: August-30-2019 at 1:17pm
Wool pad is the correct choice for cutting
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