Friday, July 19, 2013

Getting Buff(ed)

I wish that I was talking about myself, but the only thing getting buff(ed) around here is Nirvana.  With her recent cleaning, we couldn't ignore it any longer ... the topsides were really chalky.  Chalky is a bad thing on a boat, meaning the gel coat is just about gone.  For those that don't know, gel coat is kinda like the sheetrock on the studs of a house.  It's sprayed over the fiberglass, providing protection from the elements.  When the gel coat loses its shine and becomes chalky, it becomes porous ... not a good thing!  So, a new paint job on Nirvana's topsides is gonna be required.  

Painting Nirvana's topsides isn't going to be an easy task.  We'll either have to remove everything from the deck, or we'll have to tape everything off to protect it.  Either way, it's gonna be a pain even before we break open the paint.  Then, pretty much everything above Nirvana's rub rail will have to be painted ... including the cockpit.

We're ready to wrap up our current projects on Nirvana and get some sailing in before summer is over.  So, Ken decided to buy some time and have the topsides treated with a product he's heard some good things about ... 3M Restorer & Wax.  This stuff is supposed to restore heavily oxidized (chalky) finishes and seal/protect it as well.  It's applied on the boat's surface and then rubbed in, without removing it.

After borrowing a buffer from a friend, Ken bought four 16 oz. bottles of the 3M Wax and a couple of 3M wool compounding pads.  I spent a least an hour removing tape adhesive from the areas surrounding our teak that was left behind from our recent teak project.  Why did I wait so long?!  Anyway, I got all of the adhesive off with some denatured alcohol then Ken gave the boat a quick washing so he could test a spot on the boat.  His wrist is still healing (and hurting), so if the spot came out okay he was going to have a friend wax the boat for a real fair price.  Holding a buffer for a few hours wouldn't be a good thing for Ken's wrist.

After a small section was complete on the bow ... the skies opened up.  When the rain finally stopped that evening, I took the picture below.  You can see where the 3M was applied ... on the left side of the picture above the cord.  See where the water is beaded up?  The right side of the picture is dry as a bone.  We were glad to see the difference, and know that the 3M was adding protection.  

The following day our friend finished the job while Ken and I went back to work.  We figured it was worth the money to have this done, since it took him about 5 hours.  For less than a $100 bucks we saved a day's work, and Ken's wrist.  In fact, later that day Ken went to the orthopedist to make sure he didn't make things worse by avoiding the doctors and hospitals (and their astronomical charges) a couple of months ago ... more on that later.

I would have shown you before and after pictures, but the pictures didn't pick up any noticeable difference.  The boat has a nice sheen that wasn't there before, but it's not shiny like we'd hoped.  However, our boat is really overdue for a paint job so shiny was probably a high expectation.  Our main concern was adding protection, so we're happy with the results.   At least we bought some time and can put this dreaded project off until next Spring.  In case you're wondering, three of the four bottles of the 3M were used ... on a 30 ft. boat.  And yes ... the 3M was applied to the non-skid areas as well.  I know there's some controversy about waxing the non-skid surfaces, but we felt that our boat needed it.  Afterwards ... the non-skid isn't slippery, it's still non-skid.

Hasta luego ... until then.  Mid-Life Cruising!


Anonymous said...

Honestly, there are tons of boats out there running around doing just fine with old gelcoat. If I were in your shoes I would wax a couple of times a year and just GO! Fiberglas is a wonderful thing. Also remember you can get a quality paint job in Trinidad MUCH cheaper than the US. Ken

Sandee said...

We have our boat detailed every other year so it shines all the time. Money well spent. Too hard for us to do anymore.

Have a terrific day. :)

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