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  1. #1

    Default Re Gel Coated the Boat 1 of 2

    Decided it was time to give the boat a face lift. It was a bit surface worn when I bought it late summer ’17. Worst places were where it rubbed on the trailer roller and a spot on the bow.

    I read so much about gel coat repair vs epoxy that my head hurt. Decided to go the gel coat route. I also spoke with a tech support guy from the place I ordered the gel coat from, he was very helpful. Since I do not intend to make this an adv for anyone or any product I will leave that info out. Feel free to PM me if you want that info.

    I stripped the boat of seats, oar locks, etc to lighten the load. With the help of some friends we flipped it over and set onto some sturdy saw horses I built for the job. Sanded it down with 60 grit paper and my orbital sander. WEAR A DUST MASK!!! I made sure to feather out the edges of any chips in the gel coat, same for any areas where the wear went thru the layer(s) of the gel coat and into the glass mat.

    Cleaning consisted of vacuuming it down, using an air hose from my compressor and a couple of wipe downs with clean rags and acetone. BE SURE TO WEAR A PROPER RESPIRATOR when working with the acetone and gel coat. NOT a dust mask, but a respirator with the proper organic vapor cartridges.

    As for order of which color / areas to recite first, I decided the black striping first, the green next and then the white bottom. This meant taping off the edges and areas where I did not want overspray. I used good quality 3M painters tape and an exacto knife to trim at borders and curves. NOTE, the wide tape I bought was the exterior use variety while the narrow tape was their edge lock. The narrower tape did offer better edge control, I had a few very small areas where the edge of the exterior type tape puckered when I was applying the gel coat. While it was not a big issue, I would avoid it if I ever did this again.

    A few places along the bottom edges, one spot at the bow and where the trailer roller wore into the original surface needed some repair. I used a gel coat putty the tech recommended. It too is mixed with the MEKP hardener. I spread it on, leveled it out and feathered it with a semi flexible plastic scraper. I let it harden overnight and then sanded it to smoothen it out and feather the edges with 60 grit paper.

    My plan was to spray on the gel coat. I have an HVLP spray gun with a 2.3mm tip. I bought a few extra plastic paint cups that hold 20 ounces. The tech from the gel coat supplier gave me some very helpful tips on what ratio of gel to hardener to use for the colored gel vs the white gel.

    At first the application of the black went well, but my compressor just did not have enough capacity to keep up and given the quick working time before it begins to set up, it was a bit problematic. I did spray on the first coat, using just gel and hardener and let it set for about 90 minutes. For the second coat I added the required wax to my mixture, this seals the surface so the gel coat hardens properly. Given the fact that my compressor did not have the capacity needed and the short working time I decided to roll on the other areas of the boat.

    I used a 3/16” nap roller as my reading recommended to not use a foam roller. The applications for both the teal blue and the white went very well. Both colors received 2 coats; first the Montana Teal and then the White. In both instances I waited about 90 minutes between coats and added the wax to the final coat mixture. I peeled tape about an hour after final coats were applied and the surface seemed tack free. I peeled carefully and used my exacto knife in a few spots to keep the tape from pulling at the gelcoat edge.


    Last edited by buffler razz; 05-20-2019 at 06:29 PM.
    There's 2 dates they carve on your tombstone.
    Everyone knows what they mean.
    What's more important is time that is known as the little dash in between.


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  3. #2

    Default Re Gel Coated the Boat 2 of 2

    There were a few very small spots where I had gaps between the black and the blue due to my taping. I mixed a small amount of blue gelcoat with hardener and wax and dabbed it into the spots. It filled in nicely.

    The finished surface from rolling is not as smooth as glass that is certain, but it is very good looking. Very much like a smooth painted wall and I am very pleased with it. I knew this would be the result once I decided to roll it on. I will say it is smoother than I had expected. I was also not about to fine sand and buff it out.

    Final step was getting help to take it off the horses, flip it over on to the trailer, apply new decals and put seats, oarlocks and seats back on.
    Before and After:


    I ended up using almost a quart of the black gel, but there was quite a bit of waste due to my issues with the compressor. I used a bit less that 1/2 gallon of the teal blue and just over 1/2 gallon of the white. I also used 1/2 pint of the white gel putty. I used a couple ounces of the MEKP hardener and a couple ounces of the wax additive. Acetone used for clean up of the boat, tools, sprayer, etc amounted to 1/2 gallon or so.

    As far as costs, all in I am at $380. Gel coat, putty and the other chemicals were $224 including shipping. $155 for sanding discs, respirator, dust masks, rollers, tape, paint cups. I do have left over gel coat, but I wanted to be sure I had enough.

    Would I do it again? Yes, we are planning on doing my son’s boat next spring.

    Tips / suggestions:
    I can not stress enough to wear dust masks when sanding and a proper respirator when using acetone or gel coat, that means the right filtration cartridges. And make sure it fits and seals properly. If you can smell or taste the fumes you do not have a good seal.When you store it, put it in a sealed zip lock type bag. By the time I was wrapping up the job, I could tell the cartridges were ready for replacement.

    I would not use the exterior type painters tape, the edge lock type seemed to hold better.

    Work in a well vented area. My garage can be heated, which was nice for working and curing temps. Gel coat gives off quite a bit of odor as is cures. My wife ended up keeping her vehicle out while this was going on and our back hallway had a definite odor.

    Now we just need to runoff to be done with. Happy Fishing All!!
    Last edited by buffler razz; 05-20-2019 at 02:41 PM.
    There's 2 dates they carve on your tombstone.
    Everyone knows what they mean.
    What's more important is time that is known as the little dash in between.


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  5. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Wasilla / Skwentna, Alaska
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Re Gel Coated the Boat 2 of 2

    Great looking results!

    I merged the threads into a single post hoping the result will be easier to follow.


    Anywhere can be the land of great expectations, broken dreams, or paradise found, it's all up to you.

    Life On The Line - Alaska Fishing with Ard
    Ard's Forum blog, Alaska Outdoors

  6. Thanks buffler razz thanked for this post
  7. #4

    Default Re: Re Gel Coated the Boat 2 of 2

    Thanks Ard and thanks for merging them.
    There's 2 dates they carve on your tombstone.
    Everyone knows what they mean.
    What's more important is time that is known as the little dash in between.


  8. #5

    Default Re: Re Gel Coated the Boat 2 of 2

    Nice job! I've seen some really horrendous outcomes when people have attempted gelcoat/fiberglass work, given that this was a first time thing for you I gotta say job well done. You certainly have the skills needed to sand and polish it but I don't see the point to doing that given the abuse/hard use a driftboat goes through.

  9. Thanks buffler razz thanked for this post
  10. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Pinedale, WY
    Blog Entries

    Default Re: Re Gel Coated the Boat 1 of 2

    Awesome job, congrats!
    Thanks for sharing the details of the work you put in.

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  12. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Eastern Iowa, Southern Driftless

    Default Re: Re Gel Coated the Boat 1 of 2

    Thanks for sharing this. Like Don stated, I have seen some real train wrecks when folks tackle glass for the first time. You did a great job! That light pebble texture appears consistent and attractive. You did a great job.

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