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Wet sanding

General questions and answers about Grady Whites

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Wet sanding

Postby mboyatt » Feb Sat 09, 2013 9:35 pm

So I have a 1994 tournament that I removed the stripes on. Going to leave them off. I compounded to get rid of the serious ghost stripes with no luck. Got some 600 grit and wet sanded and it is working great. Halfway through I figured, let me hit this with the 3m compound and the orbital just to see if it removes the scratches from the 600 grit. Guess what? The darn hull looks like new. The compound took out all the fine scratches from the 600 grit. I was fully prepared to go 800 grit, then 1000 grit, then compound. Why did this happen? Are the Grady gods looking favorably upon mw, or what. No dullness at all. Looks like a new hull. I am stumped, but I will take it. Any thoughts from those who have done this before.... Thanks.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby 81Malibu » Feb Sun 10, 2013 12:24 pm

The shine may have come up but it won't hold it as long. I would definitely do it all the way.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby stevblutu15 » Feb Sun 10, 2013 4:02 pm

I've never had a problem with 600 grit paper on gelcoat. Just finish the compounding process properly using a finishing compound like finesse it II. Certain compounds are designed to take 600 grit scratches out such as 3m's imperial compound. I had to sand scratches out of my hull a few years ago, started with 320 to 400 to 600 to compounds. Looks perfect. I think going any higher with sandpaper is a waste of time but that's just my opinion.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby mboyatt » Feb Sun 10, 2013 4:25 pm

Thanks, stevblutu. That's what I figured. The 3m compound I am using does not have silicone or wax in it, so I know it can't be covering up the scratches. Compounded twice straight from 600 grit sanding and she looks new. I will definitely forego the extra work of 800 then 1000 grit. Seems pointless given the work the compound did, but I just wanted to make sure others got similar results. Thanks!
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby MixinItUp » Feb Mon 11, 2013 12:58 am

Reading this post makes me wonder....

I have a 2006 228 that had the bottom painted when I bought it a couple years ago. I keep the boat on a trailer so the bottom paint is of no use to me, but has now become a problem. Since I don't need the function of the bottom paint, I haven't repainted, and it is now wearing thin( and doesn't look good to my perfectionist eye). I have wondered whether to repaint for the pure aesthetics or spend the same money and have the old paint completely removed via the process described in this thread. What do you guys think?

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Re: Wet sanding

Postby onoahimahi » Feb Mon 11, 2013 4:45 am

MixinItUp wrote:Reading this post makes me wonder....

I have a 2006 228 that had the bottom painted when I bought it a couple years ago. I keep the boat on a trailer so the bottom paint is of no use to me, but has now become a problem. Since I don't need the function of the bottom paint, I haven't repainted, and it is now wearing thin( and doesn't look good to my perfectionist eye). I have wondered whether to repaint for the pure aesthetics or spend the same money and have the old paint completely removed via the process described in this thread. What do you guys think?


Padgett - sanding off all the bottom paint seems like a lot of work. How about soda blasting?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQfDqBNqEiM

I've got the opposite problem - I need to apply the first-ever coat of bottom paint to a 1994 Sailfish I am moving up from NC. My puzzle will be trying to figure out where the water line is before I put it in the water. The boat was stored on a lift and there is no scum line to use as a guide.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby mboyatt » Feb Mon 11, 2013 11:52 am

Padgett,
I have the same issue also. Got old bottom paint that I want removed. Mine is also wearing thin and looks bad. I am strictly a trailer guy, so I would love to restore the hull. I agree with onoah. Soda blasting appears to be the way to go from what I have read. There is a wildcard though. I think it's a toss up in terms of what you will find after blasting. Some hulls can be restored, others have to be repainted because of the harsh sanding prior to soda blasting. I am going to go for it in a year or so. Too many other projects right now! If you do take on the project, please let us know how it goes.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby Jeff_R » Feb Mon 11, 2013 4:49 pm

Wet sanding is the only sure way of bringing a lasting shine back to dulled gel-coat. Over in the Whaler world we have been doing this practice for years and I have done it with all of mine. While it is more labor I usually start at 800 then go to 1200 if I do not want to do a heavy wheeling of compound.

In the spring I am planning on doing this process to my new to me 190 Tournament when I remove the old stripping.

As for removing bottom paint, many in the Whaler world have been using the process of soda blasting off old bottom paint down to gelcoat. Some like myself have chemically stripped the old paint off too. That is a pain though. From the raw stripped finish they start with a quick 200, then 600, then 800 and finishing with 1000+ grit. By the final sanding any remnants of the old paint are long gone and after a good buff / wax you have a nice clean bottom.

The other option if you keep your boat in the water but do not like the look of bottom paint is tohead the route of using a custom tan bottom paint. I had some mixed up at a local marine paint manufacture here in the Detroit area to match the gelcoat color of my old Whaler. I really liked this option.

Here are some images of the process....Here is a side by side:
Before:
Image

After (yes there is bottom paint on there):
Image

PS...The tournament I bought in Jan is my first step into the Grady world. The last 20+ years and 8 boats have been filled with owning and restoring Whalers....so that is where all of my background is. But all the techniques relate and translate....
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby mboyatt » Feb Mon 11, 2013 6:49 pm

Jeff,
Congrats on the 190 tournament. I have a 1994 tournament 192 and I love the boat. Removing the ghost stripes has been pretty difficult, but worth it. The prior owner neglected the boat, so the hull was pretty dull compared to the new gelcoat under the stripes. It took me the better part of a day to do one side. But again, I didn't go any coarser than 600 grit. I was tempted to hit it with 300 grit to make things go faster, but decided against it. I do plan on having the bottom soda blasted, but I will have a pro do that, as well as the sanding since it is a huge project. The whaler looks great with the tan bottom paint. I considered a whaler outrage, but they were outside of my price range.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby Jeff_R » Feb Tue 12, 2013 4:55 am

Mboyatt, thanks...I am looking forward to putting all I have learned from my Whalers to my Tournament and...the group here. I will say, once you are done wet sanding the hull, the boat is going to look like new again. Post some photos if you would of it sans the stripes.

As for the bottom paint removal, a good friend once gave this advice when asked "What is the best tool to remove bottom paint from your boat?" His answer, "Your Wallet!" I have to agree now after doing the job once myself. You will be further ahead, in less pain and far less frustrated if you just pay someone with the right tool do it for you the first time.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby 81Malibu » Feb Wed 13, 2013 1:35 am

mboyatt wrote:So I have a 1994 tournament that I removed the stripes on. Going to leave them off. I compounded to get rid of the serious ghost stripes with no luck. Got some 600 grit and wet sanded and it is working great. Halfway through I figured, let me hit this with the 3m compound and the orbital just to see if it removes the scratches from the 600 grit. Guess what? The darn hull looks like new. The compound took out all the fine scratches from the 600 grit. I was fully prepared to go 800 grit, then 1000 grit, then compound. Why did this happen? Are the Grady gods looking favorably upon mw, or what. No dullness at all. Looks like a new hull. I am stumped, but I will take it. Any thoughts from those who have done this before.... Thanks.


I was wondering what compound you used that you were able to bring the shine up with an orbital machine. I have to do my Tarpon and was planning on sanding with a DA sander 1000,2000,3000,5000 then compounding. That is the way I did the gel coat on the Striper I had and it came out like glass.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby Jeff_R » Feb Wed 13, 2013 1:53 am

If you are going to use an orbital, the only one worth your time and money is the Porter Cable 7424 unit.
Here is the kit I bought for general upkeep and polishing..

If you have a really dull surface I highly recommend using a variable speed direct drive unit (non-orbital) with a nice large wool wheel.
Something like this Milwaukee 5540 unit. Nothing works as fast as that.

For compounds stick with high quality products. I use 3M super duty on heavily oxidized gel-coat and 3M Finesse-it after the Super duty or just to maintain a good shine.

If you are brave enough to use a Direct Drive unit with a wool wheel and 3m Super Duty, you can skip wet sanding all together. That said most get intimated by that machine and opt for the wet sanding and then the Porter Cable da 7424.
Last edited by Jeff_R on Feb Wed 13, 2013 2:52 am, edited 4 times in total.
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Re: Wet sanding

Postby mboyatt » Feb Wed 13, 2013 2:13 am

Malibu, Jeff was spot on. I am using the 3m super duty compound and I also purchased a variable speed orbital. I have been using the wool pads and every once and a while I will rake off any excess compound with a scrubber brush. Essentially keeping the wool pad clean. Prior to the 3m compound, I tried shurhold's "buf magic." For me it was a waste of money. The 3m on the other hand, unbelievable stuff. I did some serious wet sanding with 600 grit. From there I used the 3m compound twice and my gelcoat looks like glass. No joke. You do not even have to use pressure when using the orbital. I just let the machine do the work. I was fully prepared to go with 800 then 1000 grit. I have decided not to because she looks pristine. Once I am done with the port side of the hull, I will move to the 3m finesse, then a polish or wax, as jeff has suggested. I hope this info is useful to you. I purchased the buf magic based on what I read, and that didn't work. So who knows. Maybe my Grady just likes the 3m! :D
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