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Center Console Detailing
Old 07-07-2015, 03:53 PM   #1
jpatchley
 
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Default Center Console Detailing

Hello everyone, this is my first post excluding the introduction post. I am working on detailing my 21 ft center console frontier boat during the next two weeks. First step, the center console!

Lets get to it. Here are some pictures of what I'll be working with.

Side View




Back View







Windshield View



Front View


I would say this boat's in pretty good shape besides the six years of sun exposure on the black plastics and general wear and tear. First step is to remove all of the faded stickers with a razor blade and some goo gone which I was able to do today during my lunch break. I've also removed the cupholders to replace them with new ones.





My next step is going to be to clean it with an APC and scrub brush but I have a few questions after that. Prior to polishing, will I need to clay the surface or does it not matter so much when detailing a boat? Will auto compounds/polishes work on the white smooth surface of the console? I have a flex 3401 and an assortment of compounds/polishes including WG uber compound, swirl remover, M105, M205, etc., along with an assortment of cutting/finishing pads.

Any advice on getting the rust spots and grime off of the chrome surfaces? For instance the steering wheel, grab bar, seat hinges?










Seats - I'm assuming they're vinyl and haven't been cleaned/protected thoroughly since the boat was purchased. Any guidance on making these pristine white and protected? I have automotive interior cleaners such as DP interior cleaner, but is there maybe something better?

Windshield - Looking through the windshield you can see numerous spots/swirls can this be polished out, and if so, which product would I use?



Center Console Storage Compartment - After a good cleaning, what should I use to protect this surface? Would something like WG Exterior Trim Sealant work or even CarPro Dlux coating?



Sorry for the long post, but I really do appreciate any help the forum can provide. I'll document all of my work here and post my afters of course. This is step one of detailing my boat. Topside first. I'll do my best to document each afternoon's worth of work.


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Old 07-07-2015, 04:40 PM   #2
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing

Now that's a boat detailing project!


I just finished writing a boat detailing book and I'm happy to say that it covers all the topics you bring up with pictures showing before, during and after.


Not printed yet but getting there...


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Old 07-08-2015, 11:44 AM   #3
jpatchley
 
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Default Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Worked on the console a little yesterday afternoon. Gave it a good scrubbing with apc and rinse. I then removed "Gadgets and Screws" in order to have more room to operate while polishing. I did not clay the surface, just went straight to a test spot. I used the flex 3401 with a orange hybrid 4" bad and WG Uber Compound. I did the same spot twice as I felt it needed it. The results are below.













Some Observations:

1. It is extremely important to keep your pad clean. I wish I had taken the picture, but the orange pad was almost completely white after my second pass through. I'm assuming oxidation? I didn't clean my pad often enough and you can tell where a clean pad was used versus where it wasn't.

2. I felt like the surface of the pad and the console itself were getting extremely hot to the touch during buffing. Maybe a result of having the oxidation build up on the pad. Not sure. But once again, clean pad it IMPORTANT.

3. Working on this surface seems to be alot harder than paint to get it defect free. The oxidation comes off pretty easily, but to get a high gloss will take numerous passes. I'm wondering if using a wool pad/dedicated gel coat compound/polish would work faster and better?


I didn't have time to complete the entire console before it got dark, I'll hopefully get to it tonight. The plan is to polish all the areas I can by machine, and do the rest by hand (tight spots between the panel, etc.).


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Old 07-08-2015, 12:14 PM   #4
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Follow up to question 3, if a wool pad would work better, can anyone recommend one that would work with the flex 3401. I would like to avoid purchasing a rotary buffer if possible. I don't have any experience with them. I'm also going to need the wool pads to work on the outside of the boat so I might as well pick them up now.
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Old 07-08-2015, 01:23 PM   #5
Dapper Don
 
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

It's your product that is making you fight so hard. WG is too gentle for gelcoat. You are going to need something more aggressive than what you are using but it looks good.
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Old 07-08-2015, 02:06 PM   #6
jpatchley
 
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dapper Don View Post
It's your product that is making you fight so hard. WG is too gentle for gelcoat. You are going to need something more aggressive than what you are using but it looks good.
Thanks for the input Don. Any suggestions? I'm looking at this http://www.marine31.com/best-boat-cleaner-wax.html
but I'm not opposed to multi-step products. Should I pick up a couple of wool pads as well?
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Old 07-08-2015, 09:58 PM   #7
Dapper Don
 
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

I spent quite a bit of time with Nick on the phone and he really educated me on what the difference is in the Marine 31 products. I have the Marine 31 Captain’s One-Step Compound & Polish followed by the Marine 31 Gel Coat Carnauba Wax + Sealant. I am working on my Sea Ray and the test spots are AMAZING! I apologize for not having photos, I am saving them for my whole restoration thread. Also, your FLEX is powerful enough to make short work of your project. I did not find that wool pads were needed, I have a GG6" & 3" and Nick paired me up with Buff & Shine flat pads. 4 Orange for the compound and 2 White for the sealant, make sure you have a pad washer handy because you will need it if you want to make any speedy progress. I think the biggest thing that helped me was the learning to tape off the No Skid. I get in there with Star Brite and then switch my GG6" from pads, to the Shurhold soft brushes for waxing the No Skid on the bow. I hope this helps.
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Old 07-13-2015, 09:58 AM   #8
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post


Some Observations:
1. It is extremely important to keep your pad clean. I wish I had taken the picture, but the orange pad was almost completely white after my second pass through. I'm assuming oxidation? I didn't clean my pad often enough and you can tell where a clean pad was used versus where it wasn't.
Correct, the white residue is dead, oxidized gel-coat you abraded off.

Anytime you're working on major oxidation, be it a gel-coat boat or a single stage paint job, you're going to see the color of the pigment building up on your pad and you do want to clean your pad often.

If you don't clean your pad often here's what happens,

1. You grind the removed, dead oxidized gel-coat back into the next section you buff.

2. You dilute or weaken the strength of the fresh product you use next as it mixes with the residues.

3. The resulting film you leave on the boat will become harder to wipe off and this will tire you out.

So yep... clean your pad often. In a perfect world you would clean it after each section you buff.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post

2. I felt like the surface of the pad and the console itself were getting extremely hot to the touch during buffing. Maybe a result of having the oxidation build up on the pad. Not sure. But once again, clean pad it IMPORTANT.
The Flex is a powerful tool. Foam cutting pads generate heat. It's normal. The good news is gel-coat is not as sensitive to heat as automotive clearcoats.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post

3. Working on this surface seems to be alot harder than paint to get it defect free. The oxidation comes off pretty easily, but to get a high gloss will take numerous passes. I'm wondering if using a wool pad/dedicated gel coat compound/polish would work faster and better?
Gel-coat is very different to buff than car paint. It likes wool pads on a rotary buffer to create a super high gloss shine. The downside is wool pads on a rotary will leave swirls/holograms scratches.

Gel-coat, like polishing aluminum isn't as forgiving as car paint. With car paint if you don't get the paint perfect during the compounding step you can clean it up a little more with the polishing step.

With oxidized gel-coat and aluminum you have to nail it during the first step. Less aggressive steps won't pick up the slack so to speak.



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Old 07-13-2015, 10:12 AM   #9
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpatchley;1165

Follow up to question 3, if a wool pad would work better, can anyone recommend one that would work with the flex 3401.

I would like to avoid purchasing a rotary buffer if possible.

I don't have any experience with them. I'm also going to need the wool pads to work on the outside of the boat so I might as well pick them up now.

Get this pad, the Lake Country 7.5 inch Electrified White Sheepskin Final Polishing Pad.


It fits the stock 5.5" Flex backing plate and works GREAT for removing oxidation without leaving holograms.


Being a fiber pad, if you bump it into anything sharp or point when buffing out your boat it won't tear like foam so it will last a long time. Be sure to get a steel pad cleaning spur to go with it.


Lake Country Wool Pad Spur


Get some Captain's One-Step Compound & Polish. You'll love this compound. I highly recommend it in my new book over all other compounds because it cuts fast and finished out to a high gloss.

After cutting with wool then switch over to the blue 6.5" Hybrid pad using the same compound and then you'll be ready to seal the surface.

You can go with wax but if you really want a nice looking finish that resists water and oxidation longer than a wax then apply the Captain's Boat Coating.

I'd get the BLACKFIRE Crystal Coat Paint Prep to strip the gel-coat after polishing so the coating will properly bond. The instructions for Captain's Boat Coating states to use it with the Marine 31 Port to Starboard All Purpose Cleaner and this product will work to strip the gel-coat of any polishing oils but the BLACKFIRE Crystal Coat Paint Prep, since it's formulated to work on scratch-sensitive clearcoat paints is easier to use and in my opinion does a better job as it's specifically formulated for this type of process.



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Old 07-13-2015, 10:21 AM   #10
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Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Quote:
Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post

I would like to avoid purchasing a rotary buffer if possible. I don't have any experience with them.

I'm also going to need the wool pads to work on the outside of the boat so I might as well pick them up now.

Just to add.... I hear what you're saying about the rotary buffer but it's really the fastest way to tackle oxidation on gel-coat boats. Together with a wool pad and quality compound like the Captain's compound it will be the fastest and most effective way to work.

The issue about using rotary buffers with wool pads on gel-coat boats is the same issue with using rotary buffers with wool pads on car paint and that's the scratch pattern the fibers leave behind called holograms.

If you haven't read my article on holograms here's the link, to my knowledge it's the ONLY article like it in the entire boat detailing world.


Holograms in gel-coat boats by Mike Phillips



The solution to the problem is simple... it's okay to start with a rotary just don't finish with a rotary. In my how-to book I recommend starting with the rotary and finishing with the Flex 3401.


So down the road, if you decide to add a rotary buffer to your tool arsenal take a serious look at the Flex PE14. It is the rotary of choice for any boat project I've ever been involved with or even car project for that matter.
  • Lightweight
  • Quiet
  • Compact design
  • Pro grade quality

You can use the same pads that you use with your Flex 3401 with the rotary.


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