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Can't get a gloss on gel - Help

Old 05-07-2019, 09:17 PM
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Default Can't get a gloss on gel - Help

So, I've tried everything. I have come to the realization I will never be detailer. I spent 2 hours on this section and I can only get blotchy gloss areas. This is about a 2'x2' area.
I've bought all of the "recommended" compounds, 3 different types of buffers, different pads, didn't mix pads, wet sanded to 2000 grit. WTF do I need to do? Other compounds not in pic, Fountain of Youth, Meguiars heavy oxidation remover, The surface is as smooth as a baby's a$$, but I can't get it to shine. Pics are all similar just a little different angles. Back story... the boat sat for 11 yrs and was neglected before I resurrected it.
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:31 AM
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Everyone has there own preference to polishing pads, I haven't done a lot, but I like foam pads to do heavy cutting and finish polishing I've never had the right wool/microfiber pad for good results. Some use wool for the heavy work
Lose the wax until you are happy with the finish, if you have waxed it already wash it off with a silicone wax and grease remover. I would wet sand once more with 3000, then use the polisher (not the buffer) with the most aggressive compound you have, keep the polisher moving in a uniform fashion side to side and up and down until its consistent and should be shiny. Be careful of high spots, edges and paint lines so you don't burn through. Then repeat the process with a softer foam pad and less aggressive compound. I use Farecla myself but the 3M would be just as good, I would think. It's a ton of work but very satisfying. Someone with more experience than me should jump in
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Old 05-08-2019, 06:58 AM
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Are all gelcoats created equal ? Over the last few years I've seen a couple of older boats that the gelcoat , under closer examination , looked like it was porous no matter how far below the surface you went. I guess it would be like trying to compare buffing limestone versus marble. One will , the other won't .
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:13 AM
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Good question, I have no idea.
Mythbusters polished a turd!
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:33 AM
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Not saying its right or wrong but what I have found in my personal experience is that the orbital or oscilating type buffers don't cut well on gelcoat. I use a good old fashion rotary like huge grinder type buffer. Sorry don't know the technical terms lol...a good heavy cut compound on 2500 or so RPMs then a lighter compound then lighter and lighter till the scratches are gone and the shine comes back then I do wax on the buffer as well at a slower RPM then hand wax...change pads between each compound to avoid contamination. And most important...like resurrected said KEEP IT MOVING!!! Do not stop while the buffer is spinning or you will burn right through the gel

That's the only advice I have lol good luck!! It's hard laboring work!!
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Old 05-08-2019, 09:42 AM
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I've never seen the Presta super cut fail with a heavy wool pad and my 70's era B&D polisher which weighs in at about 12-15 pounds. You have to build up some heat and work it until the polish is all gone.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:22 AM
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Are you using a high speed buffer? Like said you need heat. Be careful on the pad and speed. Use the pad and speed the manufacturer of the product recommends. I use presta ultra cut(the finest compound that company sells). I believe they recommend 1600rpm. I run it at 1600-1800. Just make sure you keep moving. It takes a bit to figure out what speed the product you are using and how you work the machine like.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:37 AM
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If a 7Ē wool pad on a good rotary buffer and a heavy compound doesnít show results then Iím not sure what will. Iíve been told by some in the detailing profession that the UV rays actually penetrate all the way through the gel coat, not just the surface. I had a boat that sit out in the sun for a long time and I almost wet sanded through the gel in some spots trying to get it brand new shiny. It ended up looking good and clean but definitely didnít have that new gel coat shine.
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Old 05-08-2019, 11:42 AM
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You may want to start off with some dawn ultra and clay bar it. I had the same issue on my truck until I stripped all of the wax and clay barred it as I was just pushing contaminates right back into the paint. Even wet sanding can push the crap deeper into the gel.
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Old 05-08-2019, 07:27 PM
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Originally Posted by payuppsucker View Post
I've never seen the Presta super cut fail with a heavy wool pad and my 70's era B&D polisher which weighs in at about 12-15 pounds. You have to build up some heat and work it until the polish is all gone.
I did the whole deck last year with 2 Presta products and wool wheel. My friend that owns a body shop swears by the stuff and turns out sick stuff. You can't see the actual buffer, but it's behind the products and 2500 RPM was the consensus. There is no wax on the deck except in the area I was working.


It might just be that it will never be glossy again. I plan on painting the boat in the next year or so. The boat is a 2000 37 Active Thunder so I assume quality gel was used. Also, the UV might have just kicked the gels a$$, the clear coat on the paint still looks great.

I did do an area with 3000 grit. I have a little sponge 3000 grit that came with my headlamp refinish kit. Not much noticeable difference than the 2000. My headlamps turned out great though!

Last edited by Rookie; 05-08-2019 at 08:00 PM.
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