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Uncle T
#1 Posted : Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:18:53 PM(UTC)
Uncle T

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I have a pretty good scratch/ding on my boat just above one of the windows on the side - hit the dock while coming in the other day. The boat is fiberglass and the ding goes through the paint into the fiberglass.

Can I repair this myself? Should I? Can I "patch" it until the winter?
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Marine G
#2 Posted : Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:20:57 PM(UTC)
Marine G

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On this ding, is it through the fiberglass, an actual hole or puncture? Or is it just on the surface? Also, are you sure it's paint, as 95% of fiberglass boats are gel coat finished, and not paint.
Uncle T
#3 Posted : Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:24:23 PM(UTC)
Uncle T

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it is through to the fiberglass but not all the way through - like no water could get into the boat. And you're right it's gel coat not paint.
Marine G
#4 Posted : Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:26:23 PM(UTC)
Marine G

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Have you ever worked with Gelcoat before? It's tricky stuff to work with. Also, what is the color of the boat. Is it just white, or another color?
Uncle T
#5 Posted : Saturday, June 22, 2013 2:28:17 PM(UTC)
Uncle T

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The boat has a black stripe along the side and the rest is white. The chip/injury is in the black area and is right next to the aluminum ring that goes around the port hole. Have not worked with Gelcoat, but have "buffed out" a few smaller scratches in the past.
Marine G
#6 Posted : Monday, June 24, 2013 5:52:14 PM(UTC)
Marine G

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You can just leave it. It won't hurt anything. But if you want to fix it then your going to have no choice but to do a gel coat patch. Do you need a primer on how to work with gel coat? Have you ever worked with fiberglass or epoxy resins before?
Uncle T
#7 Posted : Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:50:52 AM(UTC)
Uncle T

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Thanks for the reply - I'm not sure I'd be up for that, especially if it's not really going to hurt anything, but for the future, what's involved in doing the gel coat patch, etc?
Marine G
#8 Posted : Thursday, June 27, 2013 6:52:44 AM(UTC)
Marine G

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Working with gel coat is a lot like working with fiberglass resin. In fact that's pretty much what it is, is just tinted resin. If you have never worked with fiberglass resin before, think about it as a thick paint that you have to add an activator/hardener to in order to get it to cure.

Now with gel coat, if you are trying to fill a crack, what you need to do is either thicken up the gel coat with a product called cabosil if you are working with raw gel coat. Or, just get a patch kit, something like this in this link below;

http://www.westmarine.co...er=1934454&langId=-1

Which is pretty much pre-thickened gel coat.

When filling cracks, what you do is grind out the crack a bit with a small dremel tool. Clean it with acetone. And you build up the gel coat in layers, and once it has cured, sand it flush, buff it, and wax it. There are also 2 types of gel coat, gel coat with wax, and wax free. The reason why is standard gel coat will not fully dry in air, it has to be covered. It will get firm, but it will not fully cure, and will always be sticky. To get around that they make gel coat with wax in it, and the wax rises to the surfaces as it cures, to block out the air.

If you are going to do this yourself it is important to know if your working with wax free gel coat, or gel coat with wax in it. In most cases to fill a crack it takes 2 or 3 layers of gel coat. If you are working with waxed gel coat you would have to sand in between coats in order to knock off the wax. If you are using wax free gel coat, you can layer 1 coat on top of the next. But after the last coat, you must cover it either with saran wrap. Or, what they call PVA, which is a poly vinyl coating that drys like saran wrap.

It's pretty involved when working with the raw materials. The patch kits that are sold at west marine take a lot of the techie stuff out of it. There is definitely a learning curve to working with the material.
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