Monday, April 27, 2015

A Perfect Match

A couple of posts back I talked about getting some color-matched gelcoat from Fiberlay.  And I promised I would tell you about the results.  Well here they are:

Filling some screw holes and chips on the edge of a cockpit seat
Looks pretty good, doesn't it?  I must say that managing the gelcoat as you are applying it is difficult.  Just like working with polysulphide, it seems to get on everything, including my hands, my pants, and my feet.  You will want to keep a can of acetone and a rag handy. 

Before I applied it to the problem areas, I used my Dremel tool to clean them up.  Some were just small screw holes or chips as in the picture above, but one area needed severe remedial work.  I mixed the gelcoat in a plastic cup with a tongue depressor and then used the tongue depressor to apply it.  On the next batch I think I will try a paint brush for the larger areas - the stuff is pretty runny.

After it goes off, it needs to be sanded, a process I am way too familiar with from doing automotive body work.  I used 220 grit wet/dry paper, wet, and I applied blue tape around the area to be sanded so that I wouldn't accidentally sand thru the gelcoat on adjacent areas.  Once I had the patch down to about the thickness of the tape I switched to 400 grit, removed the tape, and sanded it flat.  Then a touch of polishing with some compound, and...

Poof!  Gone!
Yes, there is a little bit of white showing on the edge chip where I failed to remove enough of the Previous Owner's MarineTex patch.  I will grind it out and apply more gelcoat.  Again, a process I am way too familiar with...

But the color match is absolutely perfect!  Huge kudos to Fiberlay for a match well made!



Patrick said...

So if the gelcoat is so soupy, how do you manage to get it to set up and stick in vertical holes like that?
I guess it's too late now that you're done, but video or photos of that part would really clear up that step of the process for me.

Robert Salnick said...

I'm sorry, Patrick, that I have no photos or video - but I didn't want to get gel coat on my phone. The uncured gelcoat is thixotropic - that is, it's viscosity decreases pretty dramatically when it is sheared (say by stirring or being spread by a paint brush). Then when the shearing force is removed, the viscosity increases again. That's what the "flow modifiers" I mentioned do. A common thixotropic substance is ketchup (tho not as dramatically).

The gelcoat is about as viscous as a thick clam chowder as it is being stirred; left alone it is more like whipped cream (staying with the food analogy).


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...