Restoring/compounding technique - Fiberglass RV


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Old 09-15-2010, 07:55 PM   #1
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Restoring/compounding technique

Given that there is no such thing as a stupid question, can I use an electric polisher to clean/de-oxidize the boler? Is there a risk of damaging the gelcoat, if we are overzealous? We have a Simoniz electric polisher, but why do they just sell it with a single shower-cap like cloth cover. It gets black in 5 minutes. Do I just keep using it when black, or perhaps place disposable "shop towels" over the black cover and polish blissfully away? Trying to save some elbow grease, if we are going to remove that oxidation coat. And can't find any of those fabulous products you talk about in U.S, like Bar Keepers friend, so I figured it will all have to be done pretty laboriously, by hand, or hopefully with my electric friend. Thanks!
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Old 09-15-2010, 08:53 PM   #2
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You should be able to buy more shower-cap's and when you get them all dirty wash them adding Lestoil (sp? )

If you have a marine supply places near you they should have those as we use them to wax the boat.

Bill K

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Given that there is no such thing as a stupid question, can I use an electric polisher to clean/de-oxidize the boler? Is there a risk of damaging the gelcoat, if we are overzealous? We have a Simoniz electric polisher, but why do they just sell it with a single shower-cap like cloth cover. It gets black in 5 minutes. Do I just keep using it when black, or perhaps place disposable "shop towels" over the black cover and polish blissfully away? Trying to save some elbow grease, if we are going to remove that oxidation coat. And can't find any of those fabulous products you talk about in U.S, like Bar Keepers friend, so I figured it will all have to be done pretty laboriously, by hand, or hopefully with my electric friend. Thanks!
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Old 09-15-2010, 10:07 PM   #3
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I don't know how "strong" your polisher is, but when I was doing my boat with a "homeowner" type polisher, I just couldn't get it shiny. Then a friend who is a boatbuilder came in with his big metal Milwaukee buffer, lobbed it up there with some compound on it, and .... instant shine. Of course then I had to borrow it for the whole boat and just about killed myself holding it up there for three days!

Of course you should always keep an eye out so that you don't "burn through" the gelcoat. Every trailer and boat will be different, so I can't speak to yours from here.

For compounding/polishing, I just continue to use one pad. I use a sheepskin type one, like a 3M Superbuff. It shouldn't be turning black if you have washed your trailer well before you start. When it gets kind of matted with compound, you can hold a straight edge up to it to kind of "scrape" it back to clean. Of course be careful not to get caught in the buffer.

Where I did have a problem like you describe is when I was waxing (after compounding and polishing). Then I wanted to have 200 bonnets, but of course was not going to buy that many! What I did was cut up a bunch of old towels into squares that were just bigger than the buffing pad, and then just place a clean on onto the pad where it would just stay in place. I just kept on switching for a fresh one, as I had a huge supply.

I wear safety glasses, earmuffs (for sound), gloves, and a respirator when I'm compounding.

Raya
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Old 09-16-2010, 05:56 AM   #4
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Name: Carmen D
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Bar Keepers Friend Where I am at I have to order it on line. I am in the states but not all stores carry it. Good Luck! Carmen



Quote:
Originally Posted by Peggy View Post
Given that there is no such thing as a stupid question, can I use an electric polisher to clean/de-oxidize the boler? Is there a risk of damaging the gelcoat, if we are overzealous? We have a Simoniz electric polisher, but why do they just sell it with a single shower-cap like cloth cover. It gets black in 5 minutes. Do I just keep using it when black, or perhaps place disposable "shop towels" over the black cover and polish blissfully away? Trying to save some elbow grease, if we are going to remove that oxidation coat. And can't find any of those fabulous products you talk about in U.S, like Bar Keepers friend, so I figured it will all have to be done pretty laboriously, by hand, or hopefully with my electric friend. Thanks!
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Old 09-16-2010, 08:46 AM   #5
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Ditto what Raya said - if you can pick up the polisher comfortably, it isn't big enough to do the job! It's mainly an automotive paint shop tool so hiring one should be possible, though they will probably want you to buy the fairly expensive bonnets (or, better still, foam pads) to apply the cutting compound.

But it's worth saying that you can test if using cutting compound will give you the results you want by doing a small area by hand. If I was doing an area up to the size of a door, I would accept doing it by hand but that's about the upper limit, unless you have arms like Popeye.
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Old 09-16-2010, 12:31 PM   #6
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Peggy, before I bought my own, I rented one of the bigger ones from a tool rental place (in my case, one of the metal Milwaukees). I bought my own 3M pad (think perhaps through the rental place the first time; later had my own).

Good point about testing an area by hand.

Another way I like to test (which does not involve renting equipment or buying compounds) is by wetsanding a small area. The (black) wetsanding paper is only about a buck a sheet, and with four or five sheets of varying grits, you can do quite a bit of sanding (in fact, you could do the whole trailer if you wanted to).

It's a slow, controlled (and quiet) way to check it out.

Raya
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Old 09-16-2010, 01:45 PM   #7
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I recently went to the 3M website after being directed there by a couple of pro boat refinishers and found the following recommendation from them to restore the shire on fiberglass:

Step 1) 3M Cleaner & Wax product using a 3m superbuff compound pad - its wool with a power buffer. If the fiberglass has oxidation use the 3M Restore and Wax product instead.

Step 2) Apply 3M Marine Ultra Perfomance Paste product and put on using a micro cloth.

Step 3) Apply 3m Marine Clean and Shine using a micro cloth.

Anyone ever tried this 3 step process? I have used the 3M Restore and Wax and found it to be good but I did not realize I needed to use two more products after to really get the shine up.
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:28 PM   #8
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Carol,

Those products are basically what I was recommending, only they "combine" things to make it more "easy" for the customer.

My steps:

Compound

Polish (optional - basically a finer compound)

Wax

3M also makes professional products, the only difference being that they aren't combined. I prefer this as you can pick and choose. Say, a more or less robust compound, or a different wax.

Really, the work is done with the compounding. If you don't have shine after that, you aren't going to get it with wax. Of course you still do want to wax, but that's more to protect the shine you just made, not create it.

This is not to say those products won't work, but just that it's more like getting a combined shampoo and conditioner, instead of saying "Okay, I'll take the shampoo for colored hair, and then the conditioner for fine hair" or whatever.

Raya
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Old 09-16-2010, 02:47 PM   #9
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been there

About two months ago I faced the same challenge on my severly oxidized Scamp 13. I elected to wet sand the shell starting with 400 wet paper then to 700 then 1000 then 1500. After that I used the compund and wax with a homeowner buffer. Nobody would mistake it for new but it looks good and I could have sold it 8 different times on a 6000 mile trip.
Sometimes there is no substitute for elbow grease.

Greg
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Old 09-16-2010, 03:28 PM   #10
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Greg,

I've also had good luck with wetsanding. Years ago, I was compounding a boat with an electric buffer, and there were some places I couldn't reach with it, so I wet sanded by hand, figuring "well it will probably blend in okay even though these areas probably won't be as good."

Ha, those areas came out even shinier!

Raya
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