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h0ldem

Hull Detailing From A to Z

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h0ldem

I'm new to the forum and I Just bought a used 2000 Sunsetter VLX. The hull is pretty oxidized and has a fair amount of small scratches and dock/trailer scuff marks. I've spent a few days reading through every post dealing with sanding/buffing/polishing/waxing the hull and I want to make sure I have this down before I waste a day that would otherwise be spent wakeboarding.

Step 1. Wet Sanding

You can start with grit as rough as 800. Work your way up gradually. Ultimately finishing with 1000, 1500, 2000 grit.

Constantly wet the sandpaper in bucket with some dish soap.

The goal is to smooth out scratches, remove scuffs and work your way down to a fresh layer of paint.

Slightly messy as the wet, black of sandpaper wears off on everything.

Takes a few hours

Step 2. Buffing (Rough)

Random orbital buffers seem to be the weapon of choice, although a fair number of people use old fashioned elbow grease or a rotary buffer.

Most people recommend 3M super duty rubbing compound

Use a wool buffer pad

The goal here is to smooth out all the sanding you just did.

Extremely messy if using a powered polisher as it tends to splatter the compound everywhere. Most people recommend covering the boat.

Takes a few hours

Step 3. Buffing (Fine)

Use the same method you used to buff (power tool or otherwise)

If using a ROB, use a foam pad

Most people recommend 3M Finesse-It

The goal here is to smooth and shine the hull.

Extremely messy if using a powered polisher as it tends to splatter the compound everywhere. Most people recommend covering the boat.

Takes a few hours

Step 4. Waxing/Polishing

Use the same method you used to buff (power tool or otherwise)

If using a ROB, use a new foam pad

There is much debate about the best wax to use (I'm going to try Star Brite Premium Marine Wax W PTEF)

The goal here is to shine and protect.

Takes an hour

Does this sound about right? Let me know if I've left anything out or have anything wrong and I'll edit so others can easily refer back to it.

I plan to do this the last week of August. I'll post before and after pics.

Edited by h0ldem

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skicrave

That's a pretty good high level overview, but if you've never done this kind of work before you're going to be surprised by the effort it takes.

Technically polishing and buffing are the same process, the only difference is how abrasive the compound you're using is, and how quickly it breaks down. This process picks up where the wet sanding left off, so you can think of it as 2000+ grit sandpaper.

The other thing to realize is that you don't want to just drive right into wet-sanding. That's a pretty extreme treatment, and is usually only necessary on gelcoat that has a lot of damage. If it's just oxidized, polishing with a more aggressive compound will usually get the job done. Typically you want to start with the least abrasive compound, and then move up one step at a time until you find what will do the job. Then you can work back down to polish and wax to remove any imperfections you created and seal the surface.

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99response

A random orbatal buffer won't do jack...you need a rotary buffer with a wool pad to compound and a foam pad to polish. Wax by hand, buffer doesn't gain anything.

2000 grit is a waste of time, 1000 is plenty on the white, maybe 1500 on the color. Personally I'd only ever do anything over 1000 on black or dark blue.

I've found on white gelcoat the 3M superduty does a great job of taking of heavy oxidation with 2 passes, no need to sand usually.

This is what I've learned from 5 years at a bu dealership and from fixing and selling some serious mistreated bu's

-Chris

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