Diamond Jim

Another Awlgrip touch-up question

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My topsides are dark blue Awlgrip, clear-coated.  The clear coat has gotten chafed in a few spots.  Not down to the color, I think.  Can I sand/buff the clear coat or are there magical balms to restore it? 

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haven't got much to lose if it's really flat looking, Try presta-ultra cutting creme and a foam pad, lots of water and gentle.    If that doesn't turn out well, try a thin, THIN coat of Nyalic.  It won't last forever, but it's a single part clear and easy to work with.  Also if you screw it up it wipes off with acetone even after curing, so a good thing to learn with.  I've used it on faded engine covers on outboards(Yamahas seemed to get foggy and flaky in certain years).  A light scuff sand with 1000 grit around the flaky edges and spray, one came back last spring, so that was 3 years?  Still looked decent. 

EDIT: To be clear, neither will look perfect, but both may look better then dull patches. I'd try to stay off polishing onto  the edges ofthe good clearcoat until you leave it for a season to see how it lasts.  Better a slightly funny looking spot for a year than a really ugly bigger spot the next.

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Are you sure that's Awlgrip? Unusual application, clear over color, more typical of acrylic urethanes whihc are easier to buff n patch, a number of those have been sold as marine use, also maybe Awlcraft?

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I really don't know what the finish is.  The boat is a 2003 Alerion Express 28 and the finish is deep and glossy.  Prior owner made no claim of refinishing the boat.

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If it's acrylic then you should be able to buff a patch, try that first, then you might be able to patch an acrylic clear locally, buffing the edges in.

The Nialic sounds interesting for a rattle can.

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I have been told that buffing and polishing Awlgrip might look great for a while but would eventually chalk out.

I have also been told that after it cures, Color Awlgrip ends up separating out to a very thin clear layer over pigment. If that's the case, maybe the clear part of that is what's worn? Maybe a quick splash of Awlgrip clear and a bit of buffing around the edges would be just the ticket.

I'm the one that started the other Awlgrip touch-up thread and I'm still very interested if anyone know any of this stuff as I have a list of issues with my 15-year-old-presumably-Awlgrip finish that I'm not sure how to deal with.

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22 hours ago, Bruno said:

If it's acrylic then you should be able to buff a patch, try that first, then you might be able to patch an acrylic clear locally, buffing the edges in.

The Nialic sounds interesting for a rattle can.

It's pretty amazing stuff, I buy the liquid by the liter and keep a preval sprayer full at all times.  Take anything fabbed up out of aluminium on the cheap, run it over the router to radius the corners, acid wash it, sand it with 400 grit on a random orbital sander, solvent wash and spray it with Nyalic.  Looks like a million bucks.    The wipe off with acetone even when cured is great for testing and learning, because you can re-spray as often as you need without having to re sand much.

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JGB: nice.

Fuit: you have been told a lot of things apparently. suggestion as per JGB was to buff it and see what happens. Acrylics are softer than LPUs and don't have the same layer of "shine", therefore they are often overcoated with clear. Therefore they are buffable, which is a semi-mysterious, laborious process. Awlgrip can be buffed but it invalidates the warranty because it gets too thin and you cut off the "shine" layer so more porous and stainable. if you can get an acrylic to stick to it and it can be buffed/polished to match the surrounding then this is better than having a distinct patch of awlgrip. You might want to consult a pro if this is a valuable boat to you.

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Are you sure it is panted? Production boats are not usually painted, just gelcoat. Dark blue on a boat is problem because the dark color absorbs more heat and the resin continues to cure causing the weave of the reinforcements to show through. On custom boats the hull is often post cured when it is known that it will be a dark color, production boats, not so much.

 
Talk to previous owner and the builder to determine what you have.

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For what it's worth, this Alerion is most likely from TPI/Pearson Composites, and when we ordered our 2000 J/105 from them, they were very strongly recommending only paint for colored hulls rather than colored gel coat.

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On 5/6/2018 at 12:27 AM, jgbrown said:

 Try presta-ultra cutting creme and a foam pad, lots of water and gentle.   

Can you elaborate on the water part? When exactly do you use "lots of water"? (asked by someone who just tried to buff out some chalky Imron and had the chalk return within 24 hours.... But I used exactly zero water). Thanks.

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40 minutes ago, Anomaly2 said:

Can you elaborate on the water part? When exactly do you use "lots of water"? (asked by someone who just tried to buff out some chalky Imron and had the chalk return within 24 hours.... But I used exactly zero water). Thanks.

If it was chalky and came back in 24 hours either one of two things.

1.  You didn't actually get it polished, it was some oil/lubricant from the polish making it temporarily look shiny.   Quick wipe with rubbing alcohol after wiping off the polish will show you what you actually got as a result.

2.  You can't polish this paint, either clear coat is gone completely in the area(if this is limited to one area), or something else is wrong.    You see this on cars occasionally often, doesn't matter how many times you tell people that they can't polish up the areas the clear is gone on, they have to go and try it then find out for themselves. 

Did you see hull colour on your pad when you polished?

 

The lots of water is more of a general precautionary measure to take in any case where you don't know exactly what you are polishing or are worried about the condition.  It makes sure that you're relying on the abrasive for the polishing action and not overheating the paint.   Gelcoats are not fussy but some paints are quite sensitive to it, and may lift/smear or do other unpleasant and worse than it already looks things. 

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30 minutes ago, jgbrown said:

 

2.  You can't polish this paint, either clear coat is gone completely in the area(if this is limited to one area), or something else is wrong.    You see this on cars occasionally often, doesn't matter how many times you tell people that they can't polish up the areas the clear is gone on, they have to go and try it then find out for themselves. 

Did you see hull colour on your pad when you polished?

 

Hmmm. I saw a bit of hull color on the pad but I was being very gentle and suspect your #1 statement applies. Surprised by your "can't polish this paint" statement-- I know nothing about this, but several years ago a real pro did some touch up work on my boat and he buffed the whole hull and got his spot repairs to blend in seamlessly with the older paint. I didn't stay on top of it and am now trying to (I thought) make it look like he had it looking (he had recommended the Presta Ultra to me when I asked him for a recommendation for a polish)... If I'm chasing my tail here, I'll just stop (thanks) and think about repainting the entire thing. Next year....

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2 hours ago, Anomaly2 said:

Hmmm. I saw a bit of hull color on the pad but I was being very gentle and suspect your #1 statement applies. Surprised by your "can't polish this paint" statement-- I know nothing about this, but several years ago a real pro did some touch up work on my boat and he buffed the whole hull and got his spot repairs to blend in seamlessly with the older paint. I didn't stay on top of it and am now trying to (I thought) make it look like he had it looking (he had recommended the Presta Ultra to me when I asked him for a recommendation for a polish)... If I'm chasing my tail here, I'll just stop (thanks) and think about repainting the entire thing. Next year....

Some paints just don't polish well for various reasons, too old and too far gone, or you've messed it up by getting it too hot etc, or the clearcoat is gone.    Presta products are very good, but their naming scheme/overlapping product lines is a mess, watch out you don't get ultra cutting creme light, it sucks.  Someday soon they should simplify the naming conventions.  My favorite used to be imperial rubbing compound, it was fairly aggressive and finished so nicely but 3m changed the formula and it sucks now, like a watered down Ultra-cutting creme.  The polish and then clean with rubbing alcohol will help you decide.  If it is not shiny and glossy after it was just an oil or silicone in the polish and you didn't actually get it shiny by polishing, so polish again, or step down in grit to a more aggressive cut, but best to do that in a low visibility area in case you screw up.  The next step down from Ultra cutting creme is presta gelcoat compound, a fast cleanup, water based compound, it's kind of like a half step between Ultra cuting creme and supercut.  The next step more aggressive than that is super cut compound.  (ironically I find presta gelcoat compound of more use on cars than gelcoat, usually by the time someone wants gelcoat polished it's so oxidized and often has oily stains or other issues so we have to go to super cut.  If they start to keep it up every year, then ultra cutting creme is better because it finishes smoother, so gelcoat compound is a rare pick for hulls for me.  On rough cars it's a good starting point).  The only exception is on dark hulls, I will typically go gelcoat compound->ultra polish on them, ultra-cutting creme just doesn't quite finish fine enough to get that really black look, or for a quick and cheap once over since it cleans up faster.  On greys/tans etc I'll often go supercut-ultra cuting creme.  Most white hulls people don't care about a few halos and just go for maximum gloss in least time so it's supercut and stop(even though the second step makes it last longer). 

 

 If it's shiny and glossy after the wash with alcohol and it stays that way after the alcohol wash but fades quickly over the next couple days then it's time to ask the guy who did the job last time instead of playing with it yourself.  At that point I wouldn't mess about with more aggressive compounds until he looks it over if I was you, it would be disappointing to find out it was recoverable but you've gone on and wrecked it.   I've often done a test patch and a quick tutorial on technique for past customers who want to DIY.  The test patch gives them a reference to work to, and I would rather have a happy customer who saved a few bucks on polishing and can then afford to pay for more important repairs. 

 

 It's not my recommended solution, but a temporary(several years) fix if he says it's not going to buff up is to coat thethe whole thing with Nyalic, and then buff that.  The manufacturer advertises it for use over age faded gelcoat, I personally think they over sell it.  I find it looks OK, but if I'm going to that much work I'd rather do something longer term.  I have done it for a customer once but clearly went over with them several times the limited lifespan trade off. 

The colour on the pad tells you one of two things.  You don't have a clear coat to worry about(good), or you've rubbed through it/it's gone(bad).  I'm pretty sure Imron paints don't have a clear layer but are the same all the way through so you should be able to buff.  The fact that someone else got it shiny means it's likely doable as long as it isn't too far gone, if it was a self-clearing paint, then it could be that it still had some left when he hit it, but it's now gone.  I had a metallic boat like this, it was good enough to go over once, but I warned the owner then that it wasn't something I'd do a second time, that's a less likely scenario than the paint is able to be buffed and it's just a tecnique/time issue.  

 

 

 

Typically if it's a clear coat paint, it will be inconsistent when it fails, so you get a patchy kind of look.  Is it consistently dull(doesn't have to be the same side to side, different levels of UV exposure mean it is unlikely to be consistent over a boat, but it should be consistent over an area if it's not a failed clear coat).

 

EDIT: Here's a photo of the metallic boat.  The painter sprayed it, freaked out over dust and the shit texture he left since he did it in a shitty garage, tried to sand a little around the entire top edge of the boat.  Freaked out at the sanding marks and then bailed to go drink the rest of the 10 grand the owner paid him.  He came looking for a job with me while the boat was in the shop and the owner was here too(oopsie...).  Boat is a dark metallic(blue and black) cheapest crap from a discount auto store.   His sanding on the left, after we blocked it very gently@ 1000 and ultra cutting creme on the right(on a waffle pad with lots of water).  We didn't take out all the texture, too risky but just evened it a little before the polish.  There was one rub through the clear, but it was there before we started(and it was probably partly why he stopped).

 

20151104_155000.jpg

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JGBrown,

Thanks (!) for such a detailed response. Really appreciated. Good advice to go see the pro. I'll stop by his shop next time I'm in that area. I don't think mine ever had a clearcoat. And the chalkiness I refer too is pretty even all over (except for the spots he fixed which have newer paint on them and so are not as faded as the bulk of the hull). So I got that going for me...  I suspect this is a technique issue. As in, I don't know what I'm doing. Thanks again.

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5 minutes ago, Anomaly2 said:

JGBrown,

Thanks (!) for such a detailed response. Really appreciated. Good advice to go see the pro. I'll stop by his shop next time I'm in that area. I don't think mine ever had a clearcoat. And the chalkiness I refer too is pretty even all over (except for the spots he fixed which have newer paint on them and so are not as faded as the bulk of the hull). So I got that going for me...  I suspect this is a technique issue. As in, I don't know what I'm doing. Thanks again.

Practice makes perfect :-).  That is good.  I have to admit I'm not familiar with Imron so I can't give you a definitive answer which is why I tried to give you a little more of the decision process I go through when polishing since you'll have to assess it yourself.  I suspect you are correct on it not having clear because it's evenly chalky and you got colour on your pad from the get go. I bet if you offer to pay for an hour of his time and bring him the boat and a 12 pack of beer he might be open to a quick tutorial.  :p  

My guess in your case is going to be you'll find you have to step down to one of the other two I listed, then finish with ultra cutting creme and wax but really worth paying for an hour of in person time on the boat.  Once you get the technique down it'll pay for itself quickly compared to a repaint or a screw up. 

 

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Jim

I also have a flag blue hull.

as Fucket says, when sprayed, the clear comes to the surface for a shine.

At the Annapolis boat show years ago, I cornered the Awlgrip reps and asked how to fix dull spots.

Came down to repainting as you cannot overcoat with clear (this is the original Awlgrip and not Awlgrip 2000).

 

So I came up with my own solution that has worked pissah for me for 15 years.

I got some 3M clear polyester used for chip protection on autos.

You can get it 6"-24" widths.

I apply this with soapy water and a professional squeegee.

Has the same shine as sprayed Awlgrip.

You cannot see it and the shine is like new.

I also use it at the gates where launches do their controlled crash into the boat to pick us up off our mooring.

After a year or 2, you peel the film off and put on a new sheet on.  All the abuse comes off with it.

Have buddies who use the 3M film on their bows of unpainted boats to protect gelcoat from their anchor.

Note: if you intend to peel it off, make sure it is at least 70 degrees, else the glue will lift the paint and in some cases primer off.

DO NOT TRY TO REMOVE DURING THE WINTER!

And warm temps make putting it on easier, as it is more flexible

I get my film from sticker city

https://stickercity.com

It is getting harder to come by as 3M is trying to distribute to only professional installers instead of DYIers.

You local detailer may be able to get it for you.

I usually buy 20 feet of 18 inch which holds me for years.  About $10-20 a foot but that is chump change compared to a respray.

Just keep the extra rolled up in a cardboard tube.

 

Polishing the rest of the hull with Awlcare every spring restores the shine, but do not use it on 3M sheets.

Just wash with soap and water.

After 22 years, my paint is starting to let go of its primer, so a repaint is on the horizon.

Surely got my money's worth.

 

forever

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