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Oxidation Removal - Exterior Gel-Coat and Hull Detailing One of the major areas of boat detailing is the restoration, maintenance and preservation of your goat's gel-coat hull.

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What would YOU use?
Old 06-03-2013, 03:07 PM   #1
smykowski
 
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Default What would YOU use?

I apologize for the crappy picture, but the stuff I'm trying to remove is kind of faint, so the camera has a hard time picking it up. It looks like oxidation or fade, not sure how to classify it. I tried removing it with Finesse-It which didn't do anything but leave me a smooth surface.

So my question...how would YOU tackle this? Would you use Marine 31 Gloss & Color Restorer or would you use something a bit more aggressive like Heavy-Cut Oxidation Cleaner or something completely different?

This is taken from a '97 Cobalt and I question the previous owner's discipline when it comes to maintenance, if there was any at all.

Please let me know if you need any clarification

I'm curious to hear some answers!

TM
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Old 06-03-2013, 04:57 PM   #2
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smykowski View Post

I tried removing it with Finesse-It which didn't do anything but leave me a smooth surface.


TM

Finesse-It II Machine Polish or Finesse-It II Marine Glaze?


Can you get a side shot of the entire boat?


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Old 06-03-2013, 05:50 PM   #3
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Hey Mike,

I was using Finesse-It II Marine Glaze.

It's really tough to see via the picture but you'd have to be bordering on blind (no offense) not to see it in person.
Here's one shot down the side....relatively nice, but you can see towards the bottom white stripe...almost looks cloudy.


Here's a close-up, you can barely make out my reflection in one of these trouble spots. There's a little bit of dirt, on it since I hauled it this weekend, but the underlying "cloudiness" will not go away.
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Old 06-04-2013, 07:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Hi Tim,

Normally I would say to use a more aggressive product to cut through the oxidation and fading. Instead, I did some research and according to this pdf brochure for Cobalt boats, Cobalt uses a coating of some sort on the exterior called,

Xycon Barrier Coat


The way the description reads in the brochure it's a coating between the structural fiberglas and the gel-coat and if that's the case then this coating is not on the exterior and not an issue.

But the description also states, (last sentence)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cobalt

Xycon's resilience will preserve that original appearance through years of boating enjoyment
To me that reads like a coating on the exterior to preserve the boat's exterior appearance.


Here's a screenshot from the brochure...






I've looked up their contact information and for my own knowledge and to ensure you get the correct information for working on the exterior of your boat's hull I'll contact Cobalt today, reference this thread and try to get some accurate information as well as the manufacturers recommendations for doing restoration work to their boats.





I do like that the graphics are all a part of the gel-coat and not tape or stickers applied to the surface. This is the best way to go and makes maintenance a heck of a lot easier over the years.





Which model do you have by the way?







Hang tight as we get the skinny and then an accurate and professional approach to see you through to success...


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Old 06-04-2013, 10:30 AM   #5
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Thanks Mike, I really appreciate it! As I read it, it's between the structural fiberglass and the gel coat, but I've been wrong before....oh and I have the 220 model.
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Old 06-04-2013, 11:42 AM   #6
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

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Thanks Mike, I really appreciate it! As I read it, it's between the structural fiberglass and the gel coat, but I've been wrong before....oh and I have the 220 model.

Yeah that's how I read it but just to make sure. I called Customer Service and left a message on their voice mail and asked for a return call. I hope to hear back shortly...


If it's just normal gel-coat, that is pigmented polyester resin, then all you need to do us use a more aggressive product to cut through the oxidation and stained gel-coat.

In the Marine 31 line that would be the Gel Coat Heavy-Cut Oxidation Cleaner. This is an aggressive compound just for cutting through and removing oxidation. This is done best using a wool cutting pad on a rotary buffer.


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Old 06-04-2013, 11:51 AM   #7
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Just got off the phone with Scott in Customer Service at Cobalt Boat Manufacturing and he confirmed what we both assumed and that is the Xycon Barrier Coating is in fact under the gel-coat, that is sandwiched between the structural fiberglas and the pigmented gel-coat.

Since I had him on the phone I asked if Cobalt had an official recommendation for a compound and he said "no" but he did say that if the gel-coat has oxidized to the point of turning chalky white that you do want to use a compound and not a polish as it's going to take a product with some "bite" to cut into the oxidation and remove it.

Hang tight as I go do a test section this Baja and post the results...


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Old 06-04-2013, 11:56 AM   #8
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

I'll wait to see if you hear back from them. Side question....IF it's a normal gel coat, could I use a LC foam pad as opposed to wool? Like either the yellow or orange pad for example? I guess my question is, why is wool so highly recommended? Is it simply because wool cuts faster or are there other properties to wool that make it more desirable than the other two pads I mentioned?

Thanks!
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Old 06-04-2013, 12:18 PM   #9
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Quote:
Originally Posted by smykowski View Post
I'll wait to see if you hear back from them. Side question....IF it's a normal gel coat, could I use a LC foam pad as opposed to wool? Like either the yellow or orange pad for example? I guess my question is, why is wool so highly recommended? Is it simply because wool cuts faster or are there other properties to wool that make it more desirable than the other two pads I mentioned?

Thanks!

Wool fibers are a type of abrasive. Together with the abrasives and cleaning agents in a compound or polish they increase the cutting ability.

To decrease cutting ability and leave a low swirl finish you could as an option use foam pads.

Both are good options but historically most people want the cutting speed and oxidation removal effectiveness provided by both wool and compounds.

Of course, I'm the guy that coined the term "Test Spot" in the automotive detailing world and I do the same thing in the marine detailing world, that is I test the least aggressive approach to get the job done.

The caveat being I want the least aggressive approach not so much as to leave the most gel-coat behind but to leave the nicest looking finish behind. When using less aggressive pads and products it's a given you'll leave more gel-coat on the surface, the goal is to reduce the number of steps.

The more aggressive you get the more steps you normally have to do in order to end up with a nice looking finish. Although "swirls" or "holograms" are less of an issue to most boat owners than car owners, it is a factor when you own a dark colored hull as dark colors will show swirls better than light or white colored hulls.

Since you own a boat with a dark blue gel-coat, if you're the kind of boat owner where a nice looking finish is important to you, then "yes" you want to finish out with foam pads and not wool pads.

That's not to say you won't start with wool pads do do the major chopping step but for sure you're going to want to finish with foam. The reason for this is no matter what product you use with a wool pad, each of the individual fibers that make up a wool pad can leave their own cut in the paint and millions of these cuts show up as holograms when using a rotary buffer.

For some however, using a wool pad with a compound even though it will leave swirls is the gel-coat is an acceptable outcome for speed purposes. Especially when it's understood there's going to be a second step to refine the results from the compounding step, (polishing), and this second polishing step will remove the swirls from the fibers of a wool pad.

Make sense?


Of course, in a perfect world you want to be able to use a one-step cleaner/wax with a foam pad as this will clean, polish and protect in one-step. This means you only have to go around the boat one time. Doesn't that sound nice?

Problem with that is if there is a lot of oxidation then a one-step might not offer enough cut, so now you're back to doing two steps minimum.
Step 1: Remove the oxidation.
Step 2: Polish to a high gloss with a one-step cleaner/wax and leave the surface protected.
Some hardcore boat owners/detailers will break it down even further by doing three steps using products dedicated to perform a very specific step of the process...
Step 1: Remove the oxidation.
Step 2: Polish to a high gloss with a dedicated polish.
Step 3: Seal the gel-coat using a finishing wax.
Going around a boat one time is a lot of work, going around a boat 2 and 3 times is more work. What's faster is performing regular maintenance to keep the oxidation at bay so you can get away with ONLY having to do a one-step process.

That said, if the boat has been neglected too long that's not always an option as a one-step cleaner/wax won't have enough cutting ability to remove the oxidation.


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Old 06-04-2013, 12:34 PM   #10
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Default Re: What would YOU use?

Thanks for the clarification! I had always wondered about why wool was so desirable...

Just an FYI, the hull is black, not blue, but that further proves my point about the condition of the gel coat! ;)

I'd rather do something right the first time....so I'll probably take the more thorough approach.

1. Compound w/ heavy-cut oxidation cleaner
2. Polish w/Gloss and Color Restorer (optional, we'll see if it's needed or recommended)
3. Polish w/ Final Step polish
4. Seal/Wax with something....I'll admit, I'm partial to Collonite, but I'm willing to give the Marine 31 Caranuba Wax + Sealant a try.

Should look like a new boat when I'm done with it!

TM
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