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Old 05-05-2009, 09:33 AM
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Restoring shine to gelcoat body?

I have a 1937 Chevy fiberglass bodied street rod that has been in storage for a few years. The black gel coat has faded to dull and there are a few parts were someone attempted to clean it and it left some streaking I can not wipe off.
I was wondering if anyone had any experience with buffing or polishing bare gelcoat like this. I am not to the point where I am looking to paint it, but I would like it to look decent so I can start drving it more often.

What products, if any, would you recommend?

Any help is greatly appreciated!!

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Old 05-05-2009, 10:18 AM
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hit up the boat/ marine store for this stuff will work wonders, just note, that it all MUST be removed b4 paint
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:43 AM
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Gelcoat is harder than chinese algebra, but it can be worked back to a shine, as long as you don't go through, and it is not oxidized too deep. Porosity from improper spraying at the factory, could be a problem you might find when you cut into it, but if there is any, you just need to live with it.
To get the streaks off, use wax and grease remover, and dry the surface before the stuff evaporates. (just like the directions on the can say)If the W&G doesn't do it, use a slow laquer thinner , saturate the rag, let it sit on the area for a while if it is stubborn, then wipe it dry with a clean towel before it evaporates..Don't do it in the sun.

When we refinished old molds and parts at Poli-Form, we would wetsand sand with 600 grit, wrapped around a wet sanding pad, using running water, any grit you pick up will scratch the surface, so keep washing the paper off. Paper doesn't last long on gelcoat, so when it stops cutting, pitch it. You can sand up to 1000 or higher if you want, it's alot of sanding time for not much gain though.

I made a stand with a tube hooked to a hose that I could move around and direct the water right where I was sanding, so the surface was constantly being washed off of any grit.

We used 3M super duty machine polish and a wool pad, don't be afraid to lay into the surface, it won't burn. We would do 2 polishes with the super duty stuff, then 2 buffs with the 3M regular machine polish..Clean the surface between each polish.

It's ben a few years since I did any polishing, so I'm sure there are better polishes out there now, check out a marine supply for some of the newer polishes and buffs. There are specific products designed for just what you are going to do.

Polishes intended for automotive paints are typically not very effective on gelcoat.

There are others here with a current good working knowledge of gelcoat refinishing, Scrimshaw and Boatbob2 are professionals and still in the business, I'm sure they'll chime in. Lots of other folks here can help as well.

Later, mikey
my signature lines...not really directed at anyone in particular..

BE different....ACT normal.

No one is completely useless..They can always be used as a bad example
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