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1965 Sunfish Restoration

Clark_Lake

New Member
Hi, I'm new to the forum and thought I'd share some pics of my "quar-project"...restoring my grandma's old Sunfish. My parents took it out a few years ago so I know it floats, and other than that it's been in a garage or basement the past 25+ years. I think most of the parts are original, but maybe the sail isn't, not sure (don't have a current pic of the sail but it seems like it's in good shape and you can see the color in the vintage pics below). The bailer was lost on the last voyage and I'm getting one from ebay this weekend so I'm hoping to drop it in the water next week.

So far I've refinished the rudder, tiller and daggerboard and cleaned and polished the brass components. It was missing the tiller handle and I bought one on ebay and stained it.

I've been reading the threads about how to restore the deck and I've been getting confused...I'm sure it's a stupid question, but is the deck "gelcoat" - or is that the hull, or maybe they're both gelcoat? Eventually I'd like to try to restore the deck to a shine, if possible, and without painting. Was the deck originally a gloss finish? When I was using it in the 80's it appeared matte....so I'm not sure if it was always matte, or it just looks matte because of oxidation, or is it layers of old wax/polish?

I've washed the deck with soap and water and tried Meguiar's m4916 marine/rv heavy duty oxidation remover but it still looks bad, lot's of splotchy patches. I took the the eye straps off (hopefully that wasn't a mistake) because I bought a new bridle and I can see bits of what looks like the original finish. I know it's just an aesthetic thing and doesn't get in the way of sailing but I have the time and would like try and restore the deck if I can. I just wanted to check here before I start wet sanding and potentially make it worse. Is it a lost-cause or can I restore it to glory?

Thanks,
John

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Rudder-1-A.jpgRudder-1-B.jpgRudder-1-C.jpg
Rudder-2-A.jpgRudder-2-B.jpgRudder-2-C.jpg
Daggerboard-A.jpgDaggerboard-B.jpgDaggerboard-C.jpg
Daggerboard-2-A.jpgDaggerboard-2-B.jpg
Tiller-1-A.jpgTiller-1-B.jpg
Tiller-2-A.jpgTiller-2-B.jpg
IMG_7109.JPG
sunfish-vintage-2.jpgsunfish-vintage-1.jpg
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
What type of stain, varnish, lacquer did you use on the daggerboard and rudder? They look amazing! Great job.
Thanks!
I used Man o 'War Marine spar varnish, 5 coats, after sanding with 100 and 220 grit on the orbital sander, and wiped it down with acetone and a cloth (I think mineral spirits work too), then a tack cloth before applying the varnish. Also thinned the first two coats with paint thinner.
I only stained the tiller handle because it was the ash wood and much lighter than the mahogany—and for that I used minwax with the conditioner first.
 

Attachments

beldar boathead

Well-Known Member
Your work looks great! The hull and deck are both gelcoat. And yes it did shine when it was built in 1965. http://www.sunfishklasse.nl/documenten/Sunfish Timeline.pdf

There is another very recent thread that said what type of compound to use to get some gloss back - those old blue and red boats really oxidized and did it quickly.
Your sail is from the ‘80s and should be on the other side of the mast.
Hope you get lots of enjoyment!!
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Nice boat. I'd try some wet sanding with 2000 grit, maybe 1600.

Yes, the deck and the hull are gelcoat over fiberglass. If you start to see the blue go away you've sanded too far. Those boats had pretty thick gelcoat, but it did heavily oxidize. We have had success with 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax after the wet sanding.

Skipper's first Sunfish is a 1965.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Your work looks great! The hull and deck are both gelcoat. And yes it did shine when it was built in 1965. http://www.sunfishklasse.nl/documenten/Sunfish Timeline.pdf

There is another very recent thread that said what type of compound to use to get some gloss back - those old blue and red boats really oxidized and did it quickly.
Your sail is from the ‘80s and should be on the other side of the mast.
Hope you get lots of enjoyment!!
Thanks Beldar!
And I appreciate the heads up on the sail ;) I need to do some sailing 101 before I drop her in.
I'm going to look for that thread now now.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Nice boat. I'd try some wet sanding with 2000 grit, maybe 1600.

Yes, the deck and the hull are gelcoat over fiberglass. If you start to see the blue go away you've sanded too far. Those boats had pretty thick gelcoat, but it did heavily oxidize. We have had success with 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax after the wet sanding.

Skipper's first Sunfish is a 1965.
Awesome - Much appreciated!
I'm going to take her for a spin next week then move on to Phase 2 and try to get that deck to shine again. I was checking out the "Wizard up in Vermont" you mentioned in another thread, some beautiful restore jobs.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Signal Charlie just posted the info I was thinking of!
Thanks I just saw it! I've got some logistical work to do before I move on to the wet sanding, but I'm hoping it works out and I can post some more photos. I soaked the eye straps overnight and just used some brass polish to bring them back to life a bit.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Hi all, I just wanted to share an update and ask a couple questions.

I got the boat in the water a few times and it was pretty smooth sailing save for losing my hat on the first capsize after 5 mins....but after a few runs I got the hang of it again. And on the last tandem trip I slid off the back deck and snapped the tiller in half. I have a spare one that I'll just have to refinish.

IMG_7164.JPG
IMG_7907.JPG

The main thing I noticed is that it's very heavy. I haven't been able to weigh it yet so don't really have a clue but it was heavy for two adults to carry.

I've been reading up on the inspection ports and I'm going to put a 6" port behind the splashguard. But I'm reading differing opinions on placement for the second port. My main goal is to dry it out with a fan hook up and the black tarp set up. I don't have any plan to upgrade the rudder and don't want to put the second port above the bracket plate for aesthetic reasons...I'd prefer to put it in the cockpit (5" port) like I've seen other people do...so I'm just trying to measure twice before I cut and hoping someone can confirm the second port in the cockpit is adequate for a two port vent/dry set up. From what I've been reading people install the cockpit for the hiking strap and/or a cat bag etc. Does this look like a good spot:

IMG_7217.JPG?

thanks,
John
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Also, here's a shot of the boat out in the sun...

IMG_7218.JPG

I did some wet sanding after the last post, with one pass at 1500 (couldn't find 1600), second at 2000 and then used the 3m Marine Restorer and Wax. It looks much better and less matte (photo in the sun doesn't do it justice), and I started to get a shine in some parts, or at least a glimmer of what was hiding, more so on the aft deck... but it's still pretty oxidized.
I'll probably wait for the winter but should I try another pass with that same combo of wet sanding? Does it take a few rounds? I did it all by hand—should I use an orbital? Or use a lower grit on the first pass?

Many thanks,

John
 

ProATC

Member
Let's be VERY clear, I am not an expert on gelcoat restoration, however, what I have done with moderate success is sanding (wet or dry is an on-going debate, and I have done both to the same Laser bottom with the exact same results) starting with 180 grit, then 220 to get much of the oxidation removed. If the gelcoat is thick like people have stated previously, then 150 grit and 180 grit shouldn't hurt it with numerous passes by hand. After you get the oxidation out, then go with a 1500 (hard cut), 2500 (medium cut), and then 3500 (fine cut) polish using an orbital. On mine, I skipped the 1500 and went straight to the 2500, 3500 then wax. THEN, a wax (Turtle Wax) to finish. I think because you started with 1500, it didn't get the oxidized gelcoat off. And, now since you have already put on a wax, you would have to go down to a lower grit to remove that layer before getting to the oxidized part of the gelcoat. Not sure what the weather is like right now in NY, but it seems like a good Fall/Winter project so you can have more fun snapping tillers this summer...:Dwhich is hilarious btw. All that work finishing your tiller, and snap! The pleasures of owning and sailing a boat! CHEERS!
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
You might get away with just the one port behind the splashguard. When you’re ready to add the fan just remove the threaded drain plug from the top of the deck and it will act as a mini-port. Adding the black plastic will definitely speed up the process. Have you done a leak test yet?
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Let's be VERY clear, I am not an expert on gelcoat restoration, however, what I have done with moderate success is sanding (wet or dry is an on-going debate, and I have done both to the same Laser bottom with the exact same results) starting with 180 grit, then 220 to get much of the oxidation removed. If the gelcoat is thick like people have stated previously, then 150 grit and 180 grit shouldn't hurt it with numerous passes by hand. After you get the oxidation out, then go with a 1500 (hard cut), 2500 (medium cut), and then 3500 (fine cut) polish using an orbital. On mine, I skipped the 1500 and went straight to the 2500, 3500 then wax. THEN, a wax (Turtle Wax) to finish. I think because you started with 1500, it didn't get the oxidized gelcoat off. And, now since you have already put on a wax, you would have to go down to a lower grit to remove that layer before getting to the oxidized part of the gelcoat. Not sure what the weather is like right now in NY, but it seems like a good Fall/Winter project so you can have more fun snapping tillers this summer...:Dwhich is hilarious btw. All that work finishing your tiller, and snap! The pleasures of owning and sailing a boat! CHEERS!
Hahaha, yeah my first week of quarantine project is turning into an odyssey ;) In fairness to the tiller it had a pretty deep groove worn in the middle where it snapped. Thanks for all this great info. You mention the bottom of your Laser, just want to check that the same guidelines apply for the deck gelcoat? (That's what I did my first pass on) - I haven't touched the hull yet but I plan to this fall/winter.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
You might get away with just the one port behind the splashguard. When you’re ready to add the fan just remove the threaded drain plug from the top of the deck and it will act as a mini-port. Adding the black plastic will definitely speed up the process. Have you done a leak test yet?
Cool thanks, but does my '65 have a drain plug? I'll have to look again in the light tomorrow, I don't remember seeing that...but I would like to make the minimal number of ports.
I started to read about the leak test when I was researching the ports last night and got overwhelmed ;) So yeah I haven't done one yet. Should I do that before I cut any ports? I just figured since I'm probably going out every couple weeks or so maybe I can get started on the dry out in between rides while it's sitting outside on the trailer.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Yes your 65 has a plug, it is in the photo just next to the end of the coaming on the port side.

Don't read about air leak tests, watch. We have several variations on our youtube channel.

 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
I am an "expert"....as my customers might think ....lol!...with gelcoat repairs and restoration. Skip any sanding with a grit lighter than #1000 grit, as your buffing will take out all those scratches. In fact a good compound will take out 400 grit scratches in gelcoat, with a couple passes. Yes...darker colors go lighter, but you're wasting effort with such a fine grade. But yes...jet black will show marks from bluejeans sliding across!!. ..and those fine grades are best on paint jobs and clear costs where you want zero buffer swirls and a mirror gloss. I wouldn't shoot for that level until you might have a healthy amount of experience anyway.
For buffing you definitely (for your job) need to power buff with a rotary buffer at a slow speed with preferably a 3M wool pad. The "2 hand" foam backed, random orbit buffers you see at Wal-Mart and AutoZone will end up in the trash, before you finish the job. The 3M restorer/wax (for heavy oxidized) is good stuff. Google "Aqua-Buff 2000" for a superior compound for buffing gelcoat. There are techniques and methods beyond this, used in quality body shops etc...but this will get you incredible results. Now ask me about matching the color white with gelcoat!!....which btw is the best color for hiding swirl marks and scratches.
 

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
Mixmkr, Great info on gelcoat restoration, Do you have recommendations on specific makes and models of rotary buffers and the 3M wool pad? And I'll ask..how about matching the color white gelcoat?

Clark_lake Your gelcoat is in great shape for a green boat, keep experimenting with wet sanding, and don't be too aggressive on the grit at first if you decide to switch over to power sanding. A disc that starts out as a 220 grit will quickly dull to a higher grit, and that disc might be just the grit you want.

BTW your Grandma rocks! Tell us a bit more about her and the boat. You are doing a great job with the restoration, asking good questions and sharing great tips on specific methods and materials.

-Those hulls from the 60s are some of the best built. She should weigh 139 pounds but 145 or so is not unusual. You can weigh her by placing her on her side on a bathroom scale, we place a small towel down to prevent hull scratches.

-Skipper wants to know if water got inside while you were sailing? If the boat was stored for a while out of the elements she should have been dry, and she may have taken on water during the test sail, Skipper guesses through the daggerboard trunk. If you hear water sloshing she needs to be drained. You can open that deck drain and see if water comes out before you weigh her. And do the air leak test ASAP so you can repair any leak areas. Common leak spots are the daggerboard trunk and bailer cockpit/hull seam, and sometimes tiny crush areas along a chine.

-There is an alternative to cutting holes for ports if she has wet foam inside, the factory repair was to remove trim, split the deck/hull seam for a few feet, go inside and scoop out the wet expanding foam. Refoam to secure the flotation blocks and close her back up. DO NOT SPLIT THE ENTIRE SEAM. Leave the seams alongside the cockpit alone.

You might find this inside. We call it the cheeseburger.

Hoops blob.jpg

We took 39 pounds of wet foam out of HOOPS.

hoops foam.jpg

Audrey Hoops 2.jpg

A few more notes...

-Your "brass" is actually bronze, made by Wilcox and Crittenden. They sold bronze bits to Alcort by the pound.

-I don't know if the green boats ever had a deep, glossy shine, they seemed to have more of a satin finish. We like satin, less glare.

-And you should always leave one screw in place with the deck hardware, as there are wood backer blocks underneath that were held in by adhesive and a fiberglass strap. The adhesive and fiberglass inside dry out, leaving the block held in place by screws only. Loosen the screws, take one out (or 3 on the bow handle), swivel the hardware clear of the open hole(s) and reinsert a screw. You want to avoid the dreaded "thunk" of a block falling loose. The bridle eyestraps are okay sometimes because there may be extra cheeseburger holding them in place.

Someone put screws that were too long and too big in this eyestrap backer in an effort to reuse it, a good place for a water leak. Would have been better to dowel and glue an oversize hole, then redrill a small pilot hole. Screws should be #8 x 1 inch bronze wood screws.

Hoops dry backer block.jpg
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
I am an "expert"....as my customers might think ....lol!...with gelcoat repairs and restoration. Skip any sanding with a grit lighter than #1000 grit, as your buffing will take out all those scratches. In fact a good compound will take out 400 grit scratches in gelcoat, with a couple passes. Yes...darker colors go lighter, but you're wasting effort with such a fine grade. But yes...jet black will show marks from bluejeans sliding across!!. ..and those fine grades are best on paint jobs and clear costs where you want zero buffer swirls and a mirror gloss. I wouldn't shoot for that level until you might have a healthy amount of experience anyway.
For buffing you definitely (for your job) need to power buff with a rotary buffer at a slow speed with preferably a 3M wool pad. The "2 hand" foam backed, random orbit buffers you see at Wal-Mart and AutoZone will end up in the trash, before you finish the job. The 3M restorer/wax (for heavy oxidized) is good stuff. Google "Aqua-Buff 2000" for a superior compound for buffing gelcoat. There are techniques and methods beyond this, used in quality body shops etc...but this will get you incredible results. Now ask me about matching the color white with gelcoat!!....which btw is the best color for hiding swirl marks and scratches.
Thanks mixmkr! Lots of great tips and info. I was hoping I could do it by hand (and save dough)....but I think I'm gonna have to table it for the fall/winter -- I'll need a buy a rotary buffer (all I have is a bosch orbital sander) and I've already sunk a bunch of money so far and the buffer isn't really on my pandemic budget right now ;) And I guess from Signal Charlie's response the finish was more satin than gloss...I just want to remove all the white blotchy marks. Eventually I'm going to do the same sanding and wax to the hull...I ordered some new vanity decals and removed one of the stickers and the gelcoat behind the sticker was gleaming like a chainsmoker's wall after they remove a picture frame.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Yes your 65 has a plug, it is in the photo just next to the end of the coaming on the port side.

Don't read about air leak tests, watch. We have several variations on our youtube channel.

Thanks Signal Charlie! Thanks for the youtube links, I'm going to try it this weekend. I have to fix my wet vac first, or maybe try the basketball pump, that's all I have here. I took photos of both sides of the coaming:

1IMG_9653.JPG 2IMG_4591.JPG

I take it I just unscrew it? There's no backing plate for the drain plug, right? Also, what is the starboard side screw for?

I've flipped it over a few times since it's been on the trailer and don't hear any water sloshing in the hull. It feels about the same weight from before the last few trips on the water. I'm going to pick up a scale this weekend though.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Mixmkr, Great info on gelcoat restoration, Do you have recommendations on specific makes and models of rotary buffers and the 3M wool pad? And I'll ask..how about matching the color white gelcoat?

Clark_lake Your gelcoat is in great shape for a green boat, keep experimenting with wet sanding, and don't be too aggressive on the grit at first if you decide to switch over to power sanding. A disc that starts out as a 220 grit will quickly dull to a higher grit, and that disc might be just the grit you want.

BTW your Grandma rocks! Tell us a bit more about her and the boat. You are doing a great job with the restoration, asking good questions and sharing great tips on specific methods and materials.

-Those hulls from the 60s are some of the best built. She should weigh 139 pounds but 145 or so is not unusual. You can weigh her by placing her on her side on a bathroom scale, we place a small towel down to prevent hull scratches.

-Skipper wants to know if water got inside while you were sailing? If the boat was stored for a while out of the elements she should have been dry, and she may have taken on water during the test sail, Skipper guesses through the daggerboard trunk. If you hear water sloshing she needs to be drained. You can open that deck drain and see if water comes out before you weigh her. And do the air leak test ASAP so you can repair any leak areas. Common leak spots are the daggerboard trunk and bailer cockpit/hull seam, and sometimes tiny crush areas along a chine.

-There is an alternative to cutting holes for ports if she has wet foam inside, the factory repair was to remove trim, split the deck/hull seam for a few feet, go inside and scoop out the wet expanding foam. Refoam to secure the flotation blocks and close her back up. DO NOT SPLIT THE ENTIRE SEAM. Leave the seams alongside the cockpit alone.

You might find this inside. We call it the cheeseburger.

View attachment 39570

We took 39 pounds of wet foam out of HOOPS.

View attachment 39571

View attachment 39572

A few more notes...

-Your "brass" is actually bronze, made by Wilcox and Crittenden. They sold bronze bits to Alcort by the pound.

-I don't know if the green boats ever had a deep, glossy shine, they seemed to have more of a satin finish. We like satin, less glare.

-And you should always leave one screw in place with the deck hardware, as there are wood backer blocks underneath that were held in by adhesive and a fiberglass strap. The adhesive and fiberglass inside dry out, leaving the block held in place by screws only. Loosen the screws, take one out (or 3 on the bow handle), swivel the hardware clear of the open hole(s) and reinsert a screw. You want to avoid the dreaded "thunk" of a block falling loose. The bridle eyestraps are okay sometimes because there may be extra cheeseburger holding them in place.

Someone put screws that were too long and too big in this eyestrap backer in an effort to reuse it, a good place for a water leak. Would have been better to dowel and glue an oversize hole, then redrill a small pilot hole. Screws should be #8 x 1 inch bronze wood screws.

View attachment 39574
Oh man I like that "cheeseburger" pile, looks like someone got a special delivery from Panera ;)

Is that Hoops in the water on the third photo? I love that sail!

I'm not sure if any water got in while sailing past couple weeks. But once I have a scale I can do some before and tests. Also aiming to try a leak test this weekend. The boat was stored in a basement (on some rickety sawhorses) the past 13 years. I built that dolly rig from photos on another thread so I could work on the deck. My Dad took her out once a few years ago and sailed fine but lost the bailer. Before that the boat was in the garage for another 12 or so years. So I'm pretty sure since '94 or '95 she's mostly been indoors.

I thought my Grandma had it originally, but turns out she bought it used in the early 80's (guessing she got the sail at the same time since someone else pointed out the sail is from the 80's). She had a cottage in Clark Lake, MI and we would drive out every summer from NY and she got it for us kids to have fun. So I have some fond memories from back then and it was really cool to get the boat back on the water the past couple weeks (it was my first time in 25 years or so). I've had some "free time" since the pandemic and I've been wanting to fix up the boat for a while so the timing was good. Now I'd just like to get the weight down so it'll be easier to transport in the future bc I have some nieces and nephews around the same age I was when I first took it out and I want the boat in good shape so they can use it for future summers.

The boat's currently in Montauk and we're a short drive to the lake and it's lot to lug around, eventually I might get one of those small dollies you can take to the shore but that's not really in the budget right now. I left it on the beach for week which saves a haul but I don't want to leave it out in the elements for too long. Also remembering that back in Michigan it would sit in the fresh water lake, tied to the dock for the summers so maybe it took on water then.

Thanks again for all the great tips! I'm hoping to get some good insight after the leak test and weigh-in. The eye straps are the only pieces of the deck hardware I've removed...I didn't hear a thunk so maybe I'm safe there, I dunno. I didn't want to remove both screws but I bought a new bridle from SD and couldn't get it under w/o removing both, rookie mistake I guess.
 

Clark_Lake

New Member
Also, if anyone's curious (bc I had a hard time finding plans when I was initially searching the forums, and I thought you could just buy some V-shaped sawhorses from the internet) here's how I made the boat cradle / dolly...

And full caveat I'm not a carpenter by any stretch (I made forts and ramps as a kid and everything but the only thing I ever actually measured and built was a small box in 7th grade shop class ;) )

I used the specs from this post as reference:


And scaled up the measurements, roughly based on the specs of the sunfish compared to the dimensions of the 800# Yamaha XLT used for the dolly in the link.

Then I made a schematic in photoshop...

Boat-Cradle-rev.jpg


Added some wheels, sacrificed some noodles and ended up with this...

1-IMG_6274.jpg
2-IMG_6278.JPG


I tried trimming the edges of the three center pieces so they sandwiched neatly with the cross boards but couldn't get the angle right with my hand saw and just threw some scrap pieces in there since it isn't visible when the boats loaded anyway.

3-IMG_4507.JPG

Also note that I used extra nails bc it was week 1 of the quarantine and a great stress release :)

The angle on the edges of the cross-boards wasn't even close to my schematic and didn't line up with the bottom boards (think I cut them at 45° and definitely didn't measure twice)...but it's held up so far.

5-IMG_7234.JPG


After a while I trimmed the tips of the two center upright boards bc they were poking the hull...

4-IMG_7224.jpg

Anyway, I'm sure there are better plans out there... just thought I'd share fwiw and in case it helps someone.
:cool:
 

wjejr

Active Member
Here's another photo before the initial clean...

Hi Clark,

Great boat, I love the color green!

Looking at this picture, it seems you are missing the rudder tube which prevents the rudder from moving side to side. Just look for the recent thread “new to all things sunfish”, and it will tell you all you need to know.

Good luck!

View attachment 39584
 

Sailflow

Active Member
That boat looks great as is. I would leak test to make sure it is dry and leave it alone and just sail it. The time and effort to try to bring it back to perfect isn't worth it. When it is inside I would open the two drains just for air movement.
 

Breeze Bender

Breeze Bender
I agree with Sailflow that adding a port may be unnecessary, and keeping an old boat original would be my preference. It has been stored safely indoors for years. I wouldn’t even buy a scale. If you can turn the boat over by yourself and you got it on your rack with one other person without a struggle you’re within range.
Yes, your boat has a deck drain on each side of the splashguard. No worries about a backing plate, just use a flathead screwdriver to remove the drain covers. Don’t lose them. They are a hard to find part. I think yours may be the only year with drains on both port and starboard. As Sailflow says, just open these drains when storing the boat. If you hear water in the hull after sailing just drain it out. It doesn’t get absorbed into the foam that quickly. Find the leak with a simple leak test (easier with a helper.). It does not take much pressure. I use a pump for an air mattress and don’t hold it down directly over the drain, but rather blow it into the hole from a couple inches above it. The other drain should remain closed for the test, as well as a piece of tape over the tiny cockpit vent hole.
I know cost factor is important. A leak test cost nothing but a spray bottle and some dish soap. You could blow into the drain yourself! A fireplace bellows would work, a bicycle pump, a vacuum on blow. Don’t spend time and money on a port unless you have to. Sail it, it looks great! I would invest in that rudder carriage bolt tube, though. It was $6.50 or so for a foot (an extra tube) but the shipping was about $8!
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Mixmkr, Great info on gelcoat restoration, Do you have recommendations on specific makes and models of rotary buffers and the 3M wool pad? And I'll ask..how about matching the white gelcoat.......
It's a DeWalt rotary....for 7 or 9" grinder or buffer pads that screw on. Don't know the model number offhand and there is probably a newer model now too. It's variable speed, has a 90 degree handle and ran about $150.....oh its yellow too!
Google 3M 9" wool buffing pads. There are some for compound and some for buffing....about $35 each. I use the compound pads for buffing on gel coat and they work fine. The buffing pads I think are more geared for color auto paint jobs and aren't as aggressive.

Matching white gelcoat is another thead!
 

mixmkr

Well-Known Member
Oh...i thought I'd comment again. I read above of using 220 grit sandpaper. I'd advise be careful as you can go thru gelcoat with that grit, especially on edges and corners, without trying. Use it 'by hand only sanding gel....and with a block on a flat surface. I wouldn't drop below 400 or 600 when removing oxidation. Wet sanding is an option that helps prevent clogging the paper, but I never wet sand. 1500 grit is generally a waste of time for the 'do it your selfer'. It'll dull a glossy shine but not much more than that, for all practical purposes. I 'll use it on super high gloss black and the like, where you want a mirror like reflection
 
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