These graphics that spell out Shearwater are a soft form of plastic that feels like rubber. Not only is the entire hull filled with holograms from the misuse of a rotary buffer, (the normal practice by most boat detailers), the gel-coat is also oxidized and covered with water spot stains. Because the sides of this boat are filled with holograms, more than likely from someone finishing while using a wool pad on a rotary buffer, chances are VERY good that the top side is also filled with holograms it's just with the oxidation and because the gel-coat is white we can't see the holograms. Started with the least aggressive method approach and then finally decided to just test out some wetsanding and get it over with. The entire boat looks like what you see on the right hand side of this picture AND this is WASHED and DRIED.
This section has been machine sanded, technically called damp sanding because you only use a LITTLE water not a lot of water so it's not WET sanding it's DAMP sanding. Here's Antti machine damp sanding the hull of this Shearwater to quickly remove 6 years of oxidation, staining and water spots. As some of our team moved around the hull wet sanding some of the rest of followed by removing the sanding marks by using a wool pad on Flex PE14 rotary buffers with Marine 31 products. Craig has been coming to AG for over a year now and I don't think he's missed a single boat project. Here's my buddy Jay, you'll be seeing his 1971 Chevelle coming up soon for another wet sanding project.
John was sanding but after the sanding he dove right back in helping to remove the sanding marks. Frank brought Ozzy with him to learn the some of the tools and techniques for restoring oxidized boat as Ozzy has an oxidized boat too.
While a portion of our team was doing the sanding and compounding, some of the other guys were using the Rupes TA50 with microfiber cutting discs to remove the oxidation, stains and water spots around the lettering for the word Shearwater. If you run a FULL SIZE wool cutting pad on a rotary buffer over them you will harm them and even disfigure them. Next by tilting the tool and working on edge I could get inside all the small areas of oxidized gel-coat inside and around the letters. In the shots above the tool is actually running at full speed or wide-open but it looks like the pad is not spinning due the the camera settings and camera flash.

After compounding the side of the hull to remove the scratches next up we switch to foam pads and Flex 3401 Forced Rotation & Forced Oscillation polishers to machine polish the gel-coat. This was Gerald's first time using a Flex 3401 but he picked up on it like a duck to water.
We started out using the White Hybrid pads but after some testing found the more aggressive Blue Light Cutting Hybrid pads were both cleaning up the swirls left by the wool pads AND leaving behind a better, more clear finish than the softer foam pads.
If you look past Robert and down the side of the boat, look at how nice the finish is coming out and we haven't even waxed her yet! Check out this shot, first there's John polishing up front, then Jay in the middle, followed by Chris! Here's Craig pouring some wax directly onto the face of a soft, blue foam waxing pad attached to a 5" DA Backing Plate on a Porter Cable 7424XP. For machine applying a non-cleaning finishing wax, you don't need nor want the fast speed setting but instead just enough speed to maintain light pad rotating and that's just to make it easier to move the pad over the surface. Hey when you fly all the way from India and show up at Autogeek's Show Car Garage I'm going to put you to work.
While some of us were sanding, compounding, polishing and waxing the hull the rest of were working top side.
For the top side or cap of the boat we used the Marine 31 All-In-One Gel Coat Polish & Wax with Thick Purple Foamed Wool Pads on the powerful Flex 3401 Forced Rotation, Forced Oscillation dual action polishers. This was Serge's first time to one of our Thursday night projects and his first time using a Flex 3401. Den by the way is not only a regular with us for our Thursday night projects but built and polished this old 2-door Pontiac. In the background John contemplates his life and thinks about buying and restoring his dream car a 1987 Yugo. Here's Den applying a second coat of wax for extra protection and gloss using a Griot's Garage 3" Mini Polisher with Marine 31 Gel-Coat Carnauba Wax + Sealant. The Eisenglass, (flexible plastic windows), was very cloudy and scuffed when this boat arrived so I put the owner Eric and his buddy to work machine polishing the plastic to restore clarity. The stainless steel prop has the beginning signs of rust, these props are very expensive so my advice to boat owners is anytime you have your boat out of the water, take a few minutes to quickly polish the prop to clean it and protect it.

Eric is using Marine 31 Stainless Steel and Aluminum Brightening Soap which is probably the easiest metal polish and metal polishing method to clean, polish and protect all metal surfaces. We cut up 2" Meguiar's Xtra Cut MF Discs to to remove the oxidation around the lettering on the back of the boat and it worked awesome! And best of all, (besides the boat coming out looking like brand new), was John from India was able to join us! I think this is the the first boat machine sanded using the Rupes Duetto and Rupes sanding discs in the United States?
Coming up in a few weeks we're shooting a brand new segment for Ship Shape TV on how to wetsand, cut and buff a brand new gel-coat. After shooting the segment I'll have a class that's open to the public on how to wetsand, cut and buff gel-coat finishes and we'll be using the Rupes sanding system for this project. The lines you see running back and forth across where the flash from my camera is lighting up the side of the hull are holograms from a rotary buffer. If you run a buffing pad on a rotary buffer over them you will harm them and even disfigure them. Den shows his professionalism by removing his shoes so as not to leave any shoe marks on the non-skid from his street shoes. Most of the guys had never machine sanded and none of the guys had used the Rupes TA50 before. Whether you're researching a new boat, or are a seasoned Captain, you'll find The Hull Truth Boating & Fishing Message Forum contains a wealth of information from Boaters and Sportfishermen around the world. Gel-coat in this condition is very porous and will tend to deteriorate even faster than gel-coat that is smooth, glossy and sealed with wax. Thats so we would not creme over this textured surface with compounds, polishes and waxes as it could embedded or impact into the non-skid surface and then we'd have to clean it out.

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