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Fiberglass and gelcoat repairs for dummies ???

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SamR

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Hi, my name is Sam and I am a fiberglass and gelcoat dummy
"Hi Sam" :)

I need help. These stress crack and patching threads have inspired me to deal with some issues on my boat. Problem is, I messed around with the gelcoat for the first time last year and could never get it to set properly. For patching small holes on the console, I was given some parker gelcoat, a tube of hardener and some West Systems "fluffy stuff" to thicken it. Apparently this should have made a paste that I could work in by hand and then sand flush. Could never get the ratio right.

What is the proper way to fill small holes (1/8"-1/2") on a console? I've heard wax being mentioned. I have no clue what that's all about. Eventually, if I figure out what I am doing, I would like to build an electronics box to sit on top of the console. At that point I'll need to ask about working with fiberglass and spraying gelcoat too.

Many thanks :)
 

DaleH

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Sam:

I think your problem was that you failed to cover the gelcoat from the atmosphere to allow it to cure properly. You can do this in (3) ways, by mix special curing wax in with the gelcoat, spraying the gelcoat with mold release wax (method I use for spot repairs), or by covering the repair area with clear plastic saran wrap.

Also reads through gelcoat "how to" articles at sites like Mini Craft and Spectrum Color, see:
https://www.minicraft.com/howtoins.htm or
http://www.spectrumcolor.com/technicalinfo.htm

Off topic, but interesting gelcoat info. "Go Fish" who posts on here (he owns a Stratos ... but don't worry, he's a good guy!) went to buy gelcoat from both of those places. They wanted $60 for a color match and up to $150 for a gallon of gelcoat. He shopped around and found a RV dealer who would color match his gelcoat piece and make a gallon (shipped in 4 quart containers) for < $60. This dealer only uses PPG gelcoat products, which is good stuff. No word on the quality yet, but once we get the word, we might have a great source of gelcoat for the "older" Parkers, where the gelcoat is washed out some from sun exposure. Stay tuned.

Let's see if the photos of a gelcoat article I have work, once posted. Note: DO NOT stop sanding at 400 grit, go to 600, 800, or higher. Also, ALWAYS use a sanding block on spot repairs or you will "dish" the area.

RIGHT-CLICK these to save them to your PC, then you can print them out in color and use them as a reference.
 

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Anonymous

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Dale,
Great step by step instructions. I haven't tackled gelcoat repair other than using some marinetex, but I think even I could follow those instructions with success. Thanks. Almost looking forward to the next ding on the gel so I can try my hand at it. :D
 

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