FINALLY finished repairing the gelcoat
the most awkward boat related job I've done to date.
The repairs themselves were fairly straightforward - just cosmetic chips to the gelcoat with no structural damage to the laminate - but there were lots of them and they were spread around the hull with the worst along the keel (I assume caused by beaching). This meant lots of climbing underneath the trailer and working in extremely claustrophobic circumstances... such fun.
The basic process I used was:
- Taped nice and tight to the damaged areas, allowing a little room for grinding
- Ground back the damaged gelcoat to create a feathered edge
- Lightly sanded the exposed laminate to get a good key for the gelcoat
- Cleaned / degreased with acetone
- Applied clear gelcoat (86%), catalyst (2%), wax in styrene (2%) and pigment (10%) - I wanted to do this in one hit, so I over-filled the repairs
- Left to cure for 24 hours
- Dry sanded back through the grades 80>180>240 to blend level with the surrounding surface
- Re-taped the repairs
- Dry sanded back through the grades 320>600>800>1000>1200
- Polishing compound by hand and DA in some places
The results are far from perfect, but I'm pretty happy with them and have learnt a lot.