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minnmarker

Buffing and Polishing with Decals - Help

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minnmarker

This will be my first time polishing a boat.  It has some light oxidation but is otherwise in good shape.  I've done cars and motorcycles but never gelcoat.  I've heard it is more forgiving than auto paint.  True?  So what do I do about decals - both flat and raised?  Can I carefully work over them or should I just peel them off and get now ones?  Will they stand up to the M4516 or even the M4916?  Perhaps do the decal areas first with a light touch while the pads are clean?

Any other advice in doing this compared to doing auto paint would be appreciated!  Not looking for a show quality job.  Just make it look shinier from a distance.

Here's what I've got to use:

Makita variable speed polisher with wool cutting pads and wool polishing  pads

Foam pads if I get OCD about it

Meguiar's M4916 Marine/RV Heavy Duty Oxidation Remover

Meguiar's M4516 Marine/RV Polish & Gloss Enhancer

Starbrite Marine Polish with PTEF

3M 09030 Marine Ultra Performance Paste Wax

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wedge88

I always wax right over the decals (both raised and flat) but I wipe that area of wax off by hand, instead of the orbital.  Never had an issue.

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CedarLakeSkier

Only slightly off topic.   The drip mold decals on the side of my boat have some scrapes on them.   Any idea how I can get them buffed out or smooth again?   I guess I should be happy that it's the decal that got scuffed, but I can't seem to do anything to make it look better

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formulaben

When I did my full cut & polish I went right over them and the raised "Wakesetter" and "Malibu" decals definitely improved, but YMMV.  Don't be surprised how good it will look, you may have a show quality look when you're done!  Plenty of videos on YouTube but here is a good one:

 

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minnmarker
20 minutes ago, formulaben said:

When I did my full cut & polish I went right over them and the raised "Wakesetter" and "Malibu" decals definitely improved, but YMMV.  Don't be surprised how good it will look, you may have a show quality look when you're done!  Plenty of videos on YouTube but here is a good one

formulaben, when you did the cutting did you pass the polisher over the raised decals in any particular direction or pressure, or did you just go over them like the rest of the surface?  Did you use the "bottom" of the polisher to get the right side of the raised decals?  All details appreciated.

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formulaben

I just went over them as most of the other areas, but maybe a little less pressure so as to not start them peeling.  I did use the edge of the buffer in between letters, but parallel with the groove. The transom stickers looked almost brand new when done. 

And to clarify, I did some wet sanding in areas that needed it (1500, 2000, and 2500 grit) then wool pad with cutting compound, then intermediate compound then polish and a final wax.  It turned out awesome.  Use a spray bottle of water with a tiny bit of Dawn in it and keep the pad damp and gelcoat wet at all times.  It gets messy but the outcome is worth it.

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