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Trying to bring back deck color and shine.

po-man sailor

Active Member
Ok folks. Im done with all structural work and starting to finish cosmetics.
My hull and deck are dull and faded but not quite powdery oxidized. The gell coat is supposed to be white but is an off white with age. I know this because I used fine sandpaper to remove a couple stubborn deep stains. When I finished, it was obviously white. Also when I did my bottom work it was apparent.
What is the best product and method to go over the top deck and hull to get the white back and if possible put a coat of wax at the same time. Possibly a rubbing compound wax combo product.

po-man sailor

Active Member
If Alan recomended it, I can imagine he's already tried others and landed on that one and its probably good. I guess my question to Alan would be to confirm if he thinks it will bring it back to white or do I need to take an intermediate step first before the 3m. I may be expecting too much to ...take it back to white, polish it out, and leave wax to protect it. Trying to save a little labor time.
How bout it Alan?

po-man sailor

Active Member
LOL I can imagine Beldar.
I really just need the white restored and a shine. Wax up top is not as important as the hull. I proly don't need wax around the cockpit area.

signal charlie

Well-Known Member
Staff member
...Wouldn't it be "undesired bottom effects?" Yuk yuk yuk...

If you start going down the sanding road to remove the top sunburnt layer of gelcoat then you will find yourself doing the entire hull. Ask me how I know...

1) There is a gent up in Vermont? who gets astounding results wetsanding the hulls, by hand. I'm not sure what grit he starts with and where he ends. His arms must be huge.

Sailfish LLC

Sailfish LLC.png

2) 3M Fiberglass Restorer and Wax will work and I would try that first. There are very specific application instructions. I'd like to try it with the correct tools, but stopped when it came to selecting a good buffer.

3M Marine Restorer and Wax.png

We got good results with a Walmart 6 inch buffer and the 3M product, it needs to be the version sold for light oxidation. When we restored the 2000 Vanguard Sunfish CRYSTAL we applied the wax to the entire deck in one pass (wrong) and then buffed it off with our tiny buffer (wrong again). But she looks good from a Galloping Horse and we got good feedback from the dolphin on her appearance. On the bottom we did several fiberglass repairs, faired and sanded, then sprayed with 8 cans of rattle can Rust-Oleum semi gloss white. The acetone and shop towels are there to clean up an area that bubbled on the stern for who knows why? The Moaning Chair is there to sit and contemplate what "Challenge and Opportunity" would present itself next.

Crystal moaning chair.jpg

Crystal diamond file keel.jpeg

We sanded the bottom with 120 grit...knowing that it didn't matter if we went through gelcoat in some areas...there is a small patch of sunburnt gelcoat to go...the hull had a lot of damage from her storm campaigns against rip rap and dock bolts.

Crystal hull sanding.jpg

rustoleum hull.jpg

Sunfish will do tricks if they are offered treats...

SBR dolly 9 Crystal sideways show off.jpg

po-man sailor

Active Member
Alan Glos recommended 3M Fibreglass Restorer lite when he came for a visit. Haven't had the chance to try it yet but it's on my list of things to do. I can report back once I give it a go.
THANKS Alan and SC, I picked upsome 3m. It worked perfectly. Even took some rust stains off.
I used it on my very faded "splash gaurd" as well...in about 15 minutes with my old black and decker and 8 in wool pad the thing shined like new! I took Charlie's advice and did 2x2 sections and kept pad moist. Then wiped down with a terri rag.
Side note: I went to my local "West Marine stealer" to pick it up because I was in a hurry to get it done that day and wasn't concerned so much with the cost. It was priced at $35 for 16oz. I did a quick Google and found ACE hardware of all places sold the same product. I went to the counter and showed them on my phone and asked if they would price match and they said sure. It cost $19.95.
Save 15 bucks!!! AND got to go home and do the job right then. Score!!!
Great product.


Active Member
I asked the guy who gets the Fish shiny.

He does 220, 320, 400, 600, 1500 wet sanding.
Muguires Diamond Cut compound, woolpad low speed

Harken Mclube speed polish

Thats a lot of work!
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po-man sailor

Active Member
I just did mine with a little shorter cut this morning. I had lots of little heavy scrapes, scratches character marks and rust stains in my gel coat here and there. I bought 2 rustolium sanding sponges at local walmart store in the car paint wax section. The sponges were 2 sided and could be used wet or dry. 1 sponge was 400, and 600 on other side.. they are labeled.. the other was 1000, 1500 on the other side. I used them dry.. they worked excellent and didnt load up.. My process on a deep scratch was to just quickly rub the 400 sponge on the scrape. It cut really good. Dont get too crazy and go through the gel coat. I then quickly flipped it over rubbed a little not much, grabbed the 1000 rubbed a little, and then flipped to the 1500. After that I blew off the dust and grabbed my old black and decker 8 inch wool pad with the 3m restorer and wax that Alan and SC recomended and polished for about 3 minutes. Damn thing looks like new. Total time to work a 6 inch long fairly deep gouge was 10 minutes max. I just did my 76 boat this morning and you can imagine how many it had in 40 years.
From now on this is my go to process for renewing fiberglass surface and removing scratches. It worked on the painted stripes as well as long as the scrape was not through the color all the way.


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