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  1. #1
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    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!



    Hello all! Dan here from NZ


    This is my first post on the forum after reading numerous articles… Wow what a great resource you have here! I am about to (attempt to) start my first detailing project which will be the gelcoat of my recently acquired 2005 26ft Grady White boat. I will try to provide as much information as I can right up front.

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!-gel-correction-7-jpg


    Objective:

    My main goal is to measure my thoughts against your collective experience. I need to balance my expectations and budget. I have done a lot of research but I am yet to pull the trigger on a polishing tool, pads and compounds. I do not have access to all the great stuff you have in America, so I will list some products that I can access here to help narrow this down.

    Expectations:

    I am never one to sell myself short, however I am not excepting the mirror like results you guys manage to get. If I achieve such results I will be blown away, but my primary goal is to obtain a good level of shine and protect my investment going forward.

    Budget:

    Without going too far down the rabbit hole, I would like to tackle this project for about half the price I would have to pay to have it done. I am time rich during this COVID 19 lockdown, but I have tightened up on my spending as a furloughed Airline Pilot (at least for the time being). I figure the job is about $1500 NZD (and that might be a gross error), so my budget is $750 NZD… About $450 USD

    The boat:

    She a 26ft Grady White that has been slipped in South Florida since 2005, before being imported to NZ 2 months ago. While the hull still shows some wax shine, the topsides visibly bare the aftermath of 15 years in the Florida sun. Unfortunately, down here in NZ we have very high UV levels so things will only get worse if not addressed! The boat will be dry stacked without a cover 4 levels up where I can’t get to her and exposed to the elements.
    The photos I have added were tricky to take and may not properly convey the condition of the gel. The gel is oxidised to the point where it will leave a chalky residue on your fingers when rubbed. I have done some testing and it comes up pretty well after a couple of passes with 2000 grit wet (by hand), then compounded (by hand) and waxed. 2000 Grit is the finest grade paper I can readily get my hands on here in NZ. I am not sure how far I can wet sand/compound before I start cutting though the gel and so I feel that getting the gel to a stage where I can maintain it might be better than getting it back to new. How long is a piece of string, right?!

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!-gel-correction-3-jpg

    Wet sanded and compounded. Tape to assist focus

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!-gel-correction-jpg

    Oxidized gel

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!-gel-correction-2-jpg

    The shiny test area has been wet sanded, compounded and waxed all by hand

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!-gel-correction-4-jpg

    Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!-gel-correction-5-jpg

    Tools:

    I have used a Makita rotary buffer in the past and found it a little intimidating. I did not feel that I had great control, or much accuracy. I have a random orbit sander (Bosch Gex 125-150 AVE) however that bogs down and stops spinning with polishing pads. It is a sander with a limited 4mm throw, however I feel this demonstrates the limitations of the random orbital concept. I though a forced rotation DA might be the best compromise and can purchase a Makita PO5000C for NZ$390 (US$230). I have read Mike Phillips review and I feel this may be the best bang for my buck. I understand that the free spinning mode is weak, but the forced rotation mode is effective. I cannot justify over NZ$1000 for tools like the Rupes Mille for example. If anyone has experience, do you think the Makita would cut the oxide with the correct pad and compound? If wet sanding is the best starting point, could this tool buff out the 2000 grit scratches that seem to come out with 3M compound by hand?

    Pads:

    Lake Country, Rupes and Chemical Guys are the “best” pads I can readily find in NZ that you will have experience with. I am leaning towards Lake Country as there are numerous good reviews. These pads are double what you pay in the US (one orange 5.5 LC pad is about $14 USD here in NZ) so I want to buy the right pads, and the right number of pads (as best as I can). Do the LC pads play well with the Makita PO5000c? Can you recommend what colour pads for the gel (maybe in three steps… Oxide removal/polish/wax), and what pad/s I should use for the milky Isinglass?

    Compounds:

    Again, section is a little bit limited but the common ones you know like Chemical Guys, 3M, Menzerna, Meguiars etc are available. I have not seen any “Marine 31” products here in NZ. The available compounds are all about 2x the price as well. I currently have 16oz of 3M “Marine Compound and Finishing Material”. This stuff seems to dry out pretty quick but works ok when buffed by hand. Do I need to mist water when using it, or try a different product?

    This is a long post so if you made it to the end, well done! Thanks in advance!!

  2. #2
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Welcome to AutogeekOnline!


    We're about to shut down the shop as it's 5:00pm here. Been buffing on an all 2-door Dodge all day plus just finished a LIVE video on Facebook.


    Autogeek - How to save time while you are polishing your car. | Facebook


    Don't want to get divorced so I'm pushing away from the keyboard.


    I'll do my best to help out tomorrow when I'm fresh.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  3. Likes Aaryn NZ liked this post
  4. #3
    Senior Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Welcome to Autogeek Online my fellow Kiwi.

    Looks like you have quite the project on your hands there. You’re in the right place to find out everything about polishing Gel Coat - Mike Phillips is “The Man” in that regard.

    Don’t sell our little country out too short though - most high quality brands can be found here no doubt. Personally - I’m a fan of Lake Country pads, so I’m sure Sam at UCC will have what you need. I just got a bunch of Marine 31 stuff in but no liquids I’m afraid. I would recommend giving Cam a shout at 3D.

    Good to have you on board buddy.


    Aaryn NZ.
    a DETAILS Blenheim New Zealand - IDA Member - C.Quartz Finest Authorized Installer

  5. #4
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Wow Mike, I did not expect such a quick reply from the top man! I am not sure how you make time for the number of responses and the detail you generate.... Really amazing! No hurry, I am locked in my house for another three weeks. Your opinion on the suitability of the Makita PO5000c for this project, pads and componds will be greatly appreciated! Basically, how should I spend my money haha?? I am sorry that I won't be able to make my initial purchase through you, however once I start flying to the USA again I wont forget your help!

    Aaryn NZ, thanks for the welcome! It's funny how us 'kiwis' end up finding each other in forums all over the globe. Hope you are making the most of the lockdown :/
    Thanks for the tips! I have had the UCC website open for a couple of days now, it looks like it will be the right place to go to kick-start my detailing toolkit. A big part of this is that I don't know what I don't know! I am not sure who sells what here in NZ, if there are better products or tools (proportional to my budget) that I have never heard of, or the right questions to ask to generate the advice I need!

    Thanks guys, I look forward to learning a lot here and sharing my progress in time!

    Dan

  6. #5
    Senior Member Aaryn NZ's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Dan NZ, you’re in the right place as far as information sharing is concerned. These folks here are considered family to me & I guarantee you won’t find any negative behaviour that is rife in other forms of Social Media - we are all here to help each other & yeah, even the Man himself & blessed to say - my good friend Mike Phillips will be more than happy to share his wealth of knowledge.

    Where about in the Land of the Long White Cloud are you buddy?


    Aaryn NZ.
    a DETAILS Blenheim New Zealand - IDA Member - C.Quartz Finest Authorized Installer

  7. #6
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post


    The gel is oxidised to the point where it will leave a chalky residue on your fingers when rubbed. I have done some testing and it comes up pretty well after a couple of passes with 2000 grit wet (by hand), then compounded (by hand) and waxed.

    2000 Grit is the finest grade paper I can readily get my hands on here in NZ. I am not sure how far I can wet sand/compound before I start cutting though the gel and so I feel that getting the gel to a stage where I can maintain it might be better than getting it back to new.
    The Gradey White brand is a top shelf brand of hulls. I would expect the gel-coat to be in the 25 mils to 30 mils range. Take 10 3M Post-it Notes and staple them together and then FEEL the thickness as well as look at it and this would be a general idea of 30 mils, as a 3M Post-it Note is around 3 mils. (I use this example in my boat detailing classes where we machine sand gel-coat)



    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post

    Tools:

    I have used a Makita rotary buffer in the past and found it a little intimidating. I did not feel that I had great control, or much accuracy. I have a random orbit sander (Bosch Gex 125-150 AVE) however that bogs down and stops spinning with polishing pads. It is a sander with a limited 4mm throw, however I feel this demonstrates the limitations of the random orbital concept.
    So just for the record, if I had a nickel for every time I was asked about using most wood sanders to polish paint, I'd be rich.


    And as you have discovered, these types of sanders are USELESS to do any type of defect removal. They wont' even remove high quality holograms from a rotary without spending or wasting a lot of time, so might as well step up to the plate and get an orbital that CAN maintain pad rotation under pressure. Even the lowly Porter Cable 7424XP would be a great choice and serve you well for decades.

    I'm guessing you Bosch looks like this?







    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post


    I though a forced rotation DA might be the best compromise and can purchase a Makita PO5000C for NZ$390 (US$230).
    I know a lot of guys like the Makita PO500C and for the price, you'll never experience pad stall so it will work. But for what it's worth, I have 6 or 7 of these out in the garage and I never use them. While the difference between 5mm and 8mm may seem like a small matter, 8mm trumps 5mm all day long when it comes to busting out a job. It's true, 5mm is more precise and that's due to the shorter stroke but once you learn the way of the BEAST you can make it do anything.


    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post

    I have read Mike Phillips review and I feel this may be the best bang for my buck. I understand that the free spinning mode is weak, but the forced rotation mode is effective. I cannot justify over NZ$1000 for tools like the Rupes Mille for example. If anyone has experience, do you think the Makita would cut the oxide with the correct pad and compound? If wet sanding is the best starting point, could this tool buff out the 2000 grit scratches that seem to come out with 3M compound by hand?
    The Mille is like the Makita, they are both 5mm and thus both are precise and I know a lot of guys like both, if the Makita is available for your Electrical Power supply their in New Zealand, then it would be just as good an option as the Mille, in my hands-on experience.

    Because you can use the Makita PO5000C in the gear-driven mode, you'll never have to "think" or "watch" for pad rotation, same for Mille, so "yes" they will both power through any kind of detail in my opinion, faster than any free-spinning tool.

    If the BEAST is available in your Electrical Current, then I would get the BEAST. There's a reason you never see used units for sale and when you do, it's rare. Snap it up.




    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post

    Pads:

    Lake Country, Rupes and Chemical Guys are the “best” pads I can readily find in NZ that you will have experience with. I am leaning towards Lake Country as there are numerous good reviews. These pads are double what you pay in the US (one orange 5.5 LC pad is about $14 USD here in NZ) so I want to buy the right pads, and the right number of pads (as best as I can). Do the LC pads play well with the Makita PO5000c? Can you recommend what colour pads for the gel (maybe in three steps… Oxide removal/polish/wax),

    You're going to use the rotary to cut out your sanding marks with a traditional wool pad. That's the BEST way to do it. So if you need to, start doing some push-ups in the morning and learn the way of the rotary buffer


    After you cut out your sanding marks with the rotary, you're going to be left with HOLOGRAMS in the gel-coat. This is normal and to be expected. Despite what all the experts might say, rotary buffers inflict holograms. Sometimes you cannot see them but they are there. You want to remove them as these SCRATCHES multiple the surface area probably by 3 x and this leaves your gel-coat MORE OPEN to future oxidation.


    Here's what I use and teach - RUPES COARSE BLUE FOAM CUTTING PADS on the BEAST with a quality compound (or polish), to remove the holograms. I've done this over and over and over again and it always works perfect on gel-coat. I also can't count how many people I shared this with over the years and they report the same thing. I.e. works perfect.

    BUT - you MUST use a quality compound. The compound, or better said, the ABRASIVES are what touch the gel-coat first, the the pad, then the tool and you are the least important factor.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post

    and what pad/s I should use for the milky Isinglass?
    Usually a foam "polishing" pad with a fine cut polish that uses GREAT abrasive technology. If you use crap for abrasive technology you'll simply micro-mar the hell out of the Isinglass. I've polished out a lot of this material in my life and I'm very comfortable saying, I know what I'm talking about.

    If you do start with a foam "polishing" pad, re-polish with a foam "finishing" pad for maximum clarity. Also - don't press to hard when polishing as you'll s-t-r-e-c-h the plastic or warp it.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post

    Compounds:

    Menzerna
    See if you can get the FG 400. This works great for a compound and a polish for the gel-coat.

    For the Isinglass, maybe try a fine cut polish in the Menzerna line.



    Quote Originally Posted by Dan NZ View Post

    This is a long post so if you made it to the end, well done! Thanks in advance!!


    I'll add some links to more info that will help you.


    Thank you for joining the AGO forum to ask your questions. I'd also recommend asking anywhere else on the Interweb and compare the info you get to what you get here.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
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  9. #7
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Quote Originally Posted by Aaryn NZ View Post

    Dan NZ, you’re in the right place as far as information sharing is concerned. These folks here are considered family to me & I guarantee you won’t find any negative behavior that is rife in other forms of Social Media - we are all here to help each other & yeah, even the Man himself & blessed to say - my good friend Mike Phillips will be more than happy to share his wealth of knowledge.
    Thanks for endorsement and recommendation for this forum Aaryn.




    To the OP, if you ever get a chance to take a detailing class from Aaryn, it will be worth the price in time and money saved as well as effort and energy.


    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
    IDA Board Member - Certified Detailer - Skills Validated Detailer - IDA Recognized Trainer
    Mike Phillips Facebook Page
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  10. #8
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    Continued,


    Here are some recent threads where I invested a lot of time sharing info, most of which will apply to exactly what you want to do.

    I would strongly recommend taking some time to read through them, don't just scan them.

    Polishing gelcoat makes it go dull - what am I doing wrong?


    In post #18, here's a summary from the forum member after taking my advice to buff out his boat...


    Quote Originally Posted by Totts View Post

    I ordered a couple of blue Rupes cutting pads and Mike kindly sent some Captains Compound for me to try with them.

    the combination worked very well on both boats, which is cutting and polishing at the same time.

    Under sunlight, I could see that the combination had worked well on the moderately oxidized surfaces and I couldn't see any swirl marks.

    The holograms and fine scratches were removed nicely.

    So in essence, the combination works well together, a successful result.

    In addition, I didn't see any dulling/frosting with that annealed texture I mentioned before, the reason why this thread was started in the first place.



    Here's another thread,

    Gelcoat Polish Question - Removed swirls but also deep gloss? - Pics

    Great info throughout, sorry to say no update from the forum member but I did just bump the thread and asked for an update.









    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  11. #9
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    More....



    Here's is the ONLY article you can find on the Interweb that explains the problem with holograms in gel-coats.

    Holograms in gel-coat boats by Mike Phillips








    I wrote this back in 2014...



    Mind Blowing - Rupes Blue Foam Cutting Pad and Zephir Gloss Coarse Gel Compound






    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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  12. #10
    Director of Training Mike Phillips's Avatar
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    Re: Help! My first detail project, and its a 26ft boat!

    And one more thing before I disappear to the garage to buff out a car....


    If you're in driving distance of Aaryn and his shop, I'm sure Aaryn would be willing to let you try out his personal BEAST. He'd probably give you a few technique tips on using it to and let you run it over a car hood.


    If this is possible, do it before you start spending money.


    Plus Aaryn is a cool dude and will make a good resource for the future.



    Mike Phillips
    Director of Training Autogeek & Marine 31
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