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   Group Forum: BWCA.com Builders Group
      Mad River Gel Coat     

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Wetlander
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12/16/2019 12:09PM
I bought an old Mad River Kevlar canoe off a buddy's brother last summer that is in need of some TLC. It was a Sawbill rental back in the 90's and has spent it's life outside in the elements. The original wood gunwales are totally rotted so I am going to order some new ones from NW Canoe.

My question is regarding the gel coat. Other than the scratches and fading, the hull is in good shape. I'd like to get it cleaned up and looking new(ish) again. How would I go about doing that? It's kind of an off white/bone gel goat... maybe it was white when it was new? I assume there is some UV damage since it's lived outside for so long. Should I sand>paint>varnish? I'm not looking for a showroom quality restoration. It will still be a BW workhorse. I would just be nice if it looked for like 5 years old instead of 25 years old.

Thanks in advance for the advice.
 
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Arcola
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12/17/2019 07:21AM
Brief background. I worked for Bell in the early 90's, Northwest Canoe co. mid 90's, and repair gel/ power boats from the spring of 99 til the present. All that being said as long as you don't try to remove all the scratches, you'll be ok. It is allot of work, time mostly, and some tools you may or may not have. Wet sanding and polishing is the answer. That's the short answer. Don't varnish it!! Without seeing it it's hard to say where to start, but a good buffing might be all it needs. I use good 3M compounds to make the process quicker and the finished product better. I'd say wait til you've trimmed it out befor you start on the hull; the raw hull is too flimsy to get aggressive enough. I could go on and on, but this might be a start. I'll keep and eye on this thread if you have more questions.
Kent


 
Wetlander
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12/17/2019 09:22AM
Thanks for the reply, Kent. I certainly don't intend to try and get all of the scratches out. I just want to get it looking decent again. I spoke with someone at NW Canoe last summer about it. He also recommended wet sanding, but I don't recall what grit paper he recommended. 400 or 600 maybe? What 3M products would you recommend? I have a buffing wheel, so that should speed that process up a bit. Once it's buffed with the polish, is it done? Or is there something I should apply to protect it? Wax?

If I did want to paint it, would you just use a bottom paint that you can get for motor boats? I assume then the process would be: wet sand, wipe with a tack cloth, paint and let dry, polish?

I had some pictures, but I must have deleted them from my phone. The canoe is up in rafters in my garage, so it will be tough to take any right now.
 
Arcola
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12/17/2019 09:09PM
Wet sandinding often starts at 400-600 depending on the degree of chalkiness and then 1000grit, 1200, and 3000 if you're anal :),3000 isn't nessessary, then buffing with Perfect-it#1; it might be that starting with '3M Superduty compound" will be best and then finishing with "Perfect it #1"and DONE. I use a wool pad for this. Paint is an option, but I'm a bit spoiled in that department as we use PPG car paint//VERY EXPENSIVE, but lasts a lifetime. Bottom paints for boats are messy, thick(generally) and take a long time to dry. I wouldn't paint it unless you are a body man or know someone who is!! Buffing will be sufficient for the results you've stated and no other application will be required after you're done. I do like and use 303 protectant on my canoes for maintenance, it's good stuff.
 
Wetlander
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12/18/2019 09:43AM
This is fantastic information. Thank you very much for taking the time to send me the info.

Now, to find time to get this done before my next trip in June!
 
Arcola
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12/18/2019 10:05PM
Any time. :)
 
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