View Full Version : polishing/compounding help

07-24-2017, 02:18 PM
So as a precursor, I have a good bit of experience doing paintwork on cars. I used to do paint correction for side work. I sold everything I had besides a PC7424 and some pads. I was always a believer in Sonus products for clearcoats. I never did much paintwork on gelcoat.

Now, I've got a boat that's about a year and a half old, and I've had to do some basic marine tex + wet sand to fill some chips in the gelcoat in the cockpit. A few months ago, I went and bought a cheapo rotary from Harbor Freight. I've also got orange, white, red, blue, and wool Lake Country pads. All quality stuff. Anyway, I've tried some basic polishing with the gelcoat and I'm getting kind of frustrated. I have no problem pulling out thin scratches and clearing up wet sand marks, but the polishing (with both the DA and the rotary) leaves this weird haze on the finish - almost like an orange peel, but slick. I've tried 3m compounding and finishing material, Finesse It II, Sonus SFX-1, and Sonus SFX-2 - all with the same result. I run about 1500-2000 on the rotary, and higher speeds on the DA. It's really not noticeable unless you put an LED light up to the gelcoat and move between an un-polished spot and a spot where I polished, but it aggravates me to put in all that work and not leave with a mirror finish.

The haze is difficult to describe, but the best way to illustrate via text is in areas where I've polished, the haze is such that the reflection in the finish isn't crystal clear. It's like marred without swirls if that makes any sense. Whereas the areas that haven't been compounded or polished have swirls and some micro-marring, but the finish/reflection in the gelcoat is clearer. Anyway, I'm getting really annoyed with less than perfect results. Does anyone have any experience with something similar that could help me figure out what I'm doing wrong/what's going on?

Thanks in advance.

07-24-2017, 02:32 PM
Welcome to AGO. Some pictures would probably be helpful. I haven't done any gelcoat, but maybe a gelcoat specific product would do the trick??

Marine 31 Gel Coat Gloss and Color Restorer, marine compound, gel coat oxidation remover, fiberglass restorer (http://www.autogeek.net/marine-31-gloss-restorer.html)

07-24-2017, 02:38 PM
I wish I could take a photo that accurately illustrates the issue. It's so difficult to describe. It's just like there is a surface haze (not swirl) that's preventing the gelcoat from shining at a 100% gloss. I've never seen anything like it before.

The best way to describe it is to imagine looking at the side of the hull like a mirror. If you look at the hull in an area that has not been polished, there are some swirls, but the base reflection is clear. In an area that has been polished, the swirls are gone, but the reflection is hazy.

I've tried 3m Compound and Finishing followed by Finesse It II. I've tried 3m Compound and Finishing followed by Sonus SFX-1. Along with like 10 other combinations haha. I'm just getting frustrated because I can't figure out how to get rid of the haze. I've read a lot about this Marine 31 Compound and Polish on here, but I've always had great success with 3M products, so before I go spend $60 on a new product, I'd like to try to narrow down the problem as best I can.