Air Tahoe

Can someone recommend a polishing technique?

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Can someone recommend a polishing technique? 

I have been reading old post and watching youtube videos. I am getting lost. I am not sure if I need to wet sand 2,000 grit for my particular situation or use a polish compound? Our VLX is getting a really bad haze on the water line from the sun reflection beating on it as it sits in the lake all summer. Its looks a lot worse then these photos show. 

1. I have an orbital buffer for cars, but it doesn't seem strong enough. Can someone recommend a good rotary Polisher or DA rotary Polisher to buy? 

2. Wash with dish soapwet Sand, compound, polish, wax. Is that what I should be doing?

Thanks for any help getting this boat shining again 

 

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Start with wet-sanding by hand (use a sanding block.)  It's not difficult (gel coat is thick and forgiving) but it is a workout.  Start with ~800-100 grit and work your way up to 2000 grit.  Then switch to a foam pad with some 3M marine rubbing compound.  I don't think your current rotary is going to be sufficient for that.  Harbor Freight has a cheap option that works well.... http://www.harborfreight.com/power-tools/polishers/7-inch-electronic-polisher-66615.html

Follow up the compounding with a polish (I like 3M Finesse-It, applied with a wool polishing pad) and then a good wax.   Your boat will shine like a mirror and your arms and shoulder will hurt if you follow that progression.  Took me about 45 hours to do a 23ft boat (but it was in much worse shape than yours is.)

 

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Great. Thanks Frank. The results on your boat look amazing. 

I will get a polisher. I see Harbor freight has a random action version of that for $69 and that prevents less swirls I think and more forgiving for newbies. 

We were thinking about removing the stickers and labels on the boat since they get in the way of waxing every year. We figured this was the time to do it if we were going to be wet sanding the gelcoat. But still worried about the color differences between where the labels have been for 12 years. Would this be a bad idea to do? 

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This is the perfect time to delete the stickers and badges.  I'm planning on tackling the same thing next spring.  The wet sanding + compounding + polishing will remove any trace/shadow of them.

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800 grit wet sanding is really aggressive.  I doubt you need to cut that much but you may.  Do a test. 

I usually do a test area to see how deep you have to go.  If polish doesn't work try a compound and a wool pad.  If that doesn't work try 2000 wet then 1000 wet ect.  Once you see how much you have to cut then you can do the whole boat.  It will take a very long time.  

washing with dish soap to start with is fine

Let's say you do need 1000 wet sand to get thru the oxidation.  

Then do 2000 wet

Then do a marine compound with a wool pad.  

I use the 3m stuff.  You'll need this tool to clean the pad. (before I had the tool I used a fork from the kitchen, don't tell my wife)

https://www.amazon.com/TCP-Global-Polishing-Cleaning-Revitalizing/dp/B002EBIRGM/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1475530429&sr=8-1&keywords=spur+tool

Then use a marine polish with a foam pad

Then use a good wax by hand.  The liquid waxes don't last as long but the paste waxes are harder to apply.  

Collinite is awesome but it's kind of a pain to work with.  You want to work in a small section at a time and don't let it get too dry or it's hard to remove.  When I have time I use it, when I'm in a hurry I use a liquid. 

http://www.collinite.com/marine-wax/fleetwax-paste-wax/

I use a porter cable buffer

http://www.chemicalguys.com/Porter_Cable_7424XP_p/buf_100.1xp.htm?gclid=CPS93uXKv88CFQEuaQodD3oMOg

 

I've only wet sanded by hand.  I'm not sure I'd trust myself using a machine to wet sand.  I'm not a pro but have been a do it yourself er for a long time and read a lot.  Most of my methods are what other forum members recommended. 

 

Is your boat oxidized or has it been discolored from water stains.  You may want to try a hull cleaner before any of this.  For water stains it really does work as well as advertised.  

https://www.amazon.com/Star-brite-Instant-Cleaner-Ounce/dp/B00EXIVUFO?th=1&psc=1

 

If you're willing to put in the work, you should definitely remove the decals.  Here's my 2004, I removed the decals this spring. 

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I would try using just the 3m marine compound first, iirc it is equivalent to 1000 or 1200 grit. Follow that with 3m Finese-it, then with a wax.

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These are all awesome tips and advice. I am printing this out to take with me to the store. 

That pdf is helpful jwl019 and they have some good videos and products to buy. 

Gavin17 your results are fantastic and exactly what I am looking to do with a very similar boat. How tough was it to get those tribals shape malibu decals from the center of the hull off? They seem really attached and not much to grab onto. I assume you used a heat gun to release the adhesive? The Malibu badges look easy with dental floss and heat, but the think decals look tough. 

I definitely plan to start small in a test area from least aggressive to most and figure out exactly what level of refinish is appropriate. That was a really good suggestion. No sense in doing more then the hull needs. I will even try to the hull cleaner before all of this, but I think the oxidation is deep around the water line from the sun. It sits in the sun/lake for 4 months a year. 

1. If you tape off a 2 foot section to work on, how do you move on to the next area, do you overlap slightly and refinish part of the area that is already shined up? 

2. Why is it a good idea to wax by hand at the end instead of using an orbital polisher to do the work? 

We got the boat shrink wrapped for the first time last winter. Is it possible that some of that haze is the from the shrink wrap heat gun? Or is that just a correlation with the water line? I was't there to see them shrink wrap and I have never done it before. 

Edited by Air Tahoe

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Rupes 21, blue pad, meguiars 105. Then, yellow pad and 205. Then finish with 3 coats of Klasse applied with 12 hours between each coat.

Edited by leje0306
Missed details

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9 hours ago, leje0306 said:

Rupes 21, blue pad, meguiars 105. Then, yellow pad and 205. Then finish with 3 coats of Klasse applied with 12 hours between each coat.

Rupes 21 are about the more expensive polisher I came across at $333. You really think that is necessary? https://www.amazon.com/Rupes-LHR21ES-Random-Orbital-Polisher/dp/B00F5MCF3S

 

Can't wait 12hrs between coats. The boat is at a remote location and only have the one long day to get the project completed. 

Edited by Air Tahoe

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On 10/4/2016 at 11:55 AM, Air Tahoe said:

These are all awesome tips and advice. I am printing this out to take with me to the store. 

That pdf is helpful jwl019 and they have some good videos and products to buy. 

Gavin17 your results are fantastic and exactly what I am looking to do with a very similar boat. How tough was it to get those tribals shape malibu decals from the center of the hull off? They seem really attached and not much to grab onto. I assume you used a heat gun to release the adhesive? The Malibu badges look easy with dental floss and heat, but the think decals look tough. 

I definitely plan to start small in a test area from least aggressive to most and figure out exactly what level of refinish is appropriate. That was a really good suggestion. No sense in doing more then the hull needs. I will even try to the hull cleaner before all of this, but I think the oxidation is deep around the water line from the sun. It sits in the sun/lake for 4 months a year. 

1. If you tape off a 2 foot section to work on, how do you move on to the next area, do you overlap slightly and refinish part of the area that is already shined up? 

2. Why is it a good idea to wax by hand at the end instead of using an orbital polisher to do the work? 

We got the boat shrink wrapped for the first time last winter. Is it possible that some of that haze is the from the shrink wrap heat gun? Or is that just a correlation with the water line? I was't there to see them shrink wrap and I have never done it before. 

Hair dryer (or heat gun ON LOW and go easy) and a plastic scraper used for washing dishes to get it started...pull SLOWLY with gentle heat once it starts.  Use Goof Off to quickly remove any remaining adhesive and then cut/polish as necessary to hide any shadowing.

My 2 cents: don't bother with the hull cleaner unless you're talking the underside.  PM me and I'll call you and explain what I did.  Looked like new after I was done.  I'm sure there

 

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This is a good thread. Will be a good reference in the future for sure.

Steve B.

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I'm not sure why pros say to wax by hand.  I'd like an answer to this also.  I just do what i'm told....usually. 

 

I used a heat gun on low to remove the decals.  Mine came off easy but I'd imagine that every older boat is going to be different in this regard.  With a little heat those decals get very soft.  I bought a plastic scraper but found it wasn't much help.  Mostly I used my fingers.  I didn't have much residue left behind but goo gone took care of it quickly.  Removing the decals was not time consuming.  Wet sanding/ polishing/ waxing was.

 

I only put one coat of wax on at a time.  I'd guess that each additional coat will have a marginal benifit but I could be wrong.  leje0306, How long does your wax last?  Waxing is actually fast compared to all the polishing so I don't mind doing it again mid season. 

I put on one coat and when I start to feel that it's wearing off (this year it took 70 engine hours), then I wax it again.  My boat isn't actually perfect.  I could spend a few more days on it sure but you gotta draw the line somewhere.  I think it looks great for a daily driver, we put 100 hours on it this summer and we're going out again today.  

 

 

 

 

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I'm guessing this is a no-no. But, instead of just wiping down the boat down after each use, I spray liquid wax on and wipe with super soft dry towels over the whole boat.

Then I take it home and do the same again. So, I'm guessing I've done this about 30 times this summer. It's very shiny and slick to say the least.

Steve B.

 

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Thanks to a few who suggested it on this site, I started using this after each use.  Quick, easy and inexpensive.

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I decided on using mostly 3M products. 

Step 0: Hull Cleaner by Starbrite $17

Step 1. 3M 05954 Super Duty Marine Compound  $25- 1 Quart

Step 2. 3M 06064 Perfect-It Machine Polish $35      ????????????????

Step 3. 3M MARINE FINESSE-IT II GLAZE $35 16 OZ

Step 4. Collimate insulator Wax 845 $20

I will have wet sand 1500 and 2000 ready but hoping I will not need to use it. People are saying that the super duty compound is the equivalent of 1500 sand paper.?

I bought a Dual Action variable speed polisher $69. and Chemical Guy's hex foam pads to go with it $50. I read that wool buffing pads are not recommend for the Dual action polishers. I picked dual action because it is more newbie friendly and less prone to causing damage by mistake and less swirls if I use it for a car. 

 

=Total cost $270

 

QUESTION 1: Do I need to use step 2? Amazon description says the next step from compound is the Marine Finesse it Glaze. But I thought you need a Polish in between and that is what the BoatCandy PDF talks about ? Amazon says: ""It is also the recommended step after using 3M Marine super duty rubbing compound"" 

QUESTION 2: Is the (MARINE FINESSE-IT II GLAZE) a protectant wax in the end? Or do I need a step 4 to protect all the hard work? Something like the Collinite or equivalent? 

 

I really don't want to go more  hard work then I need to and the products aren't cheap. I don't have easy access to the boat. I have to travel an hour to do the project on 1 or 2 days. I have decided the hull oxidation is at medium according to the BoatCandy PDF. Thanks for everyone's advice. 

Edited by Air Tahoe

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Wow... I'm not sure where I can start with this one. lol

Wetsanding is an aggressive measure. Gel is thick and forgiving, but I reserve wetsanding to only the strongest of applications. Your fading probably warrants it, imo, but I always do a test patch of cutting polish/compound first to see if that can salvage it before resorting to sandpaper. Having said that, with cars you only go juuuuust as aggressive as you need. With gel, start with aggressive and work your way backwards, cause you're gonna do a looooot of work if you don't.

You want a true rotary polisher, or a DA with forced rotation. Lots of people have good luck with this one:

https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWP849X-7-Inch-Variable-Polisher/dp/B004W1WGIC/

The issue with the one from Harbor Freight is it doesn't have the power to allow you to give it solid pressure for long periods of time without heating the motor up to the point it fries. 

Skip the foam pad and go straight with wool. Then if there are any hazing or holographic issues, step down to a strong foam cutting pad. I don't think you'll need that, though. 
I've had good luck with this one: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Country-Buffing-Polishing-7-5-inch/dp/B005JPJH2S/ 

 

JC - I think it's time for us to do some detailing videos for TMC. My boat needs it again. Whatcha think? You down for some work up at Scott's shop in November? 

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3 minutes ago, ibelonginprison said:

Wow... I'm not sure where I can start with this one. lol

Wetsanding is an aggressive measure. Gel is thick and forgiving, but I reserve wetsanding to only the strongest of applications. Your fading probably warrants it, imo, but I always do a test patch of cutting polish/compound first to see if that can salvage it before resorting to sandpaper. Having said that, with cars you only go juuuuust as aggressive as you need. With gel, start with aggressive and work your way backwards, cause you're gonna do a looooot of work if you don't.

You want a true rotary polisher, or a DA with forced rotation. Lots of people have good luck with this one:

https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWP849X-7-Inch-Variable-Polisher/dp/B004W1WGIC/

The issue with the one from Harbor Freight is it doesn't have the power to allow you to give it solid pressure for long periods of time without heating the motor up to the point it fries. 

Skip the foam pad and go straight with wool. Then if there are any hazing or holographic issues, step down to a strong foam cutting pad. I don't think you'll need that, though. 
I've had good luck with this one: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Country-Buffing-Polishing-7-5-inch/dp/B005JPJH2S/ 

 

JC - I think it's time for us to do some detailing videos for TMC. My boat needs it again. Whatcha think? You down for some work up at Scott's shop in November? 

How long does each wool pad last? 1 application? Multiple applications? Multiple pads per application?

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1 hour ago, ibelonginprison said:

Wow... I'm not sure where I can start with this one. lol

Wetsanding is an aggressive measure. Gel is thick and forgiving, but I reserve wetsanding to only the strongest of applications. Your fading probably warrants it, imo, but I always do a test patch of cutting polish/compound first to see if that can salvage it before resorting to sandpaper. Having said that, with cars you only go juuuuust as aggressive as you need. With gel, start with aggressive and work your way backwards, cause you're gonna do a looooot of work if you don't.

You want a true rotary polisher, or a DA with forced rotation. Lots of people have good luck with this one:

https://www.amazon.com/DEWALT-DWP849X-7-Inch-Variable-Polisher/dp/B004W1WGIC/

The issue with the one from Harbor Freight is it doesn't have the power to allow you to give it solid pressure for long periods of time without heating the motor up to the point it fries. 

Skip the foam pad and go straight with wool. Then if there are any hazing or holographic issues, step down to a strong foam cutting pad. I don't think you'll need that, though. 
I've had good luck with this one: https://www.amazon.com/Lake-Country-Buffing-Polishing-7-5-inch/dp/B005JPJH2S/ 

 

JC - I think it's time for us to do some detailing videos for TMC. My boat needs it again. Whatcha think? You down for some work up at Scott's shop in November? 

Yup

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2 hours ago, theGrant said:

How long does each wool pad last? 1 application? Multiple applications? Multiple pads per application?

keep it clean, keep it conditioned, and I've had good luck with multiple applications.
 

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Your wool pad should last quite a while.  Just make sure you get one of these...clean the pad every so often and use the spur often.  Makes a huge difference when "cutting".

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Your pad will look like the one on the right before you use the spur.

 

Edited by formulaben

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