Questions about Refinishing 1979 laser

gmac

New Member
Thread starter #1
Hi,

I recently acquired a 1979 laser which has extensive blistering, so I have decided to refinish it as the gelcoat is not salvageable.

1. I have started grinding down the gelcoat, and have found the glass is very soft. I expected a loss of stiffness due to the glecoat removal, but not as much as I see. I'm not concerned as the hull should be stiffer once I apply fairing compound and a new finish. Or should I be concerned? If the glass has softened more than normal (how would I tell?) what can I do? Lay another layer of glass with a thin amount of resin to add strength before applying the fairing compound and finish?

2. Applying a new gelcoat seems like more trouble than it is worth. It's been recommended to me that an epoxy finish would be a better choice for refinishing this boat, as it is stronger, more flexible (less likely to have stress cracks) and easier to apply with much better results. I have scoured the web with no luck looking for resources abuot this. Does anyone have any thoughts or advice?

3. What is the ILCA listed weight for the laser? I'd want to remain as true to that as possible.

Thanks! I appreciate any wisdom you all might have on this.

-- graham
 
#2
Hi Graham,

1. I happen to restore older Lasers as well and have done quite a few of them. With a boat that old, pressing down on any flat area of the hull should "give" some what. This is not unnormal at all. Even my brand new Laser has some "give" especially on the flat sides near the bow.

2. There has been loads of talk about refinishing hulls on this forum so run a search. Epoxy finishes seem popular but my vote as Always is with Awlgrip. It can be applied by the rolling/tipping method or sprayed on and although it is expensive, you don't have to be a pro to do it. Check out www.awlgrip.com.

3. Around 130 lbs is the listed weight.
 

gmac

New Member
Thread starter #3
Thanks, that's very helpful -- I have an additional question, do I need to remove all old gelcoat or do I just remove the area affected by blistering, give the rest a good sanding, and then start with the fairing compound?

-- Graham

macwas16 said:
Hi Graham,

1. I happen to restore older Lasers as well and have done quite a few of them. With a boat that old, pressing down on any flat area of the hull should "give" some what. This is not unnormal at all. Even my brand new Laser has some "give" especially on the flat sides near the bow.

2. There has been loads of talk about refinishing hulls on this forum so run a search. Epoxy finishes seem popular but my vote as Always is with Awlgrip. It can be applied by the rolling/tipping method or sprayed on and although it is expensive, you don't have to be a pro to do it. Check out www.awlgrip.com.

3. Around 130 lbs is the listed weight.
 
#4
You got it. There's no need to sand it all the way down to the fiberglass. Just until it's smooth. You should only need to compound the areas that blistering took place. Before you refinish,a good wetsanding would help.
 

gmac

New Member
Thread starter #5
There was a lot of blistering so almost everything below the waterline has been ground down. You should have seen all the dust. I'll hand sand the rest - does fairing compound like a rough surface? Or do I need to get it very smooth?

Sorry for all the questions... I swear I'll post pictures of the whole process for anyone else to follow... :)

-- Graham

macwas16 said:
You got it. There's no need to sand it all the way down to the fiberglass. Just until it's smooth. You should only need to compound the areas that blistering took place. Before you refinish,a good wetsanding would help.
 

gmac

New Member
Thread starter #6
Update - Refinishing 1979 laser

Since I last posted I've been working consistently on my boat. I ground off most of the gelcoat with a belt sander. I used a hand sander to smooth it a bit, applied a fairing compound and sanded again. Then I prepped the hull with an acetone wash. Last night I put on an epoxy base coat, thinned a bit extra to get into the tiny holes and cracks of the glass. The boat looks good. There are gouges from the belt sander that I need to fair, which should happen today at lunch. After work, I'll sand it down checking the shape with my eyes, give an acetone wash and then apply a thicker base coat, which should also act as a fairing compount unto itself. Then I'll sand in the morning, check the shape again and if all goes well, take it to a friend's industrial art studio to spray the finish on.

I've decided to use a poly epoxy paint to give a nice hard surface. There will probably be 2-3 coats.

In the midst of all this I've opened the laser and have been blowing air through it. It's lost some weight - a few pounds - from drying out.

I'll post an account with photos at some point in case it will help someone else who tries to refinish an old laser.
 
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