Most would remember me from Three Brothers Marine and some would remember me from before that but all should remember that I take my work serious and still follow the motto of Three Brothers Marine,
"We put the Fun back into Boating!"
This PROLINE ran into the dock just a bit too
hard causing cracks in the gel and fiberglass
along the rub rail in the top and the hull.
The rail is out of the way and areas ground out to be repaired
Feathered down to the back of the cracks and broken area.
All finished and the rub rail has been reinstalled.
Looked so good that now the whole boat had to be detailed but that's another subject.
Gel coat repair is done and ready to compound and polish
In most every fiberglass boat out there, somewhere on it is a crack or chip in the gel coat. Though impact resistant and somewhat flexible, gel coat and fiberglass are not bullet proof. Excess stress on the fiberglass underlay or a sharp blow will leave some damage most every time. Location of the damage is often in a place with no access to the back side and most always includes some fracture or crack in the fiberglass under it. A mere bandage fix to the surface of the gel coat most always results in a return of the crack later.
The proper fix requires the complete removal of the damaged gel coat down to the fiberglass and the repair of the glass underneath also. The underlying damage is ground out all the way to the back of the damage feathering the grind outward away from the crack to provide adequate bonding area for the fiberglass repair and also taking care not to make the repair job larger than it needs to be. The patch is then layered in and built up to the proper thickness. Once cured the fiberglass patch is ground and shaped back to its original configuration ready now for the gel coat.
Fiberglass is easy, gel coat repair is an art. Newer boats can find a color match but matching color on an older boat can be a challenge. The proper base can be tinted very close. Once color is achieved the proper additives are added and the gel coat is thickened, catalyzed, and applied over the finished fiberglass repair much like icing a cake. When fully cured it is then sanded and shaped. Larger areas sometimes require
a second spray coat. A last finish sand with a 600/800 grit and it's ready
to buff out. Compound with a 1000 grit the finish with a 2000 grit
polish and she will be ready to wax and send home.
Sounds easy doesn't it?
Always is until you get in the middle of it.
If you need one fixed or
if you just need a hand and maybe
learn to do this for yourself, give me a call.
904-254-7266 It's what I do.
Don't forget to check out the
WORK GALLERY button above for pictures of the work I do and have done!
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Fiberglass is a wonderful and creative material. With it you can build where nothing was before or replace that which has been broken. Used properly it mends to itself such that major repairs and modifications can be created limited only to your understanding of the product and your imagination.
Angler 220- After a major collision,
was ran over by a trawler.
Angler 220- After being restored
back to new!
...even though earlier I might have said it was easy. It is more than just buying a fiberglass kit from the local hardware store, counting drops of hardener from a tube, soaking a piece of cloth, and waiting till tomorrow for it to set. Thats what the owner of the Angler in the above picture did before he threw up his hands and dropped it off with me.
Custom Fiberglass and repair is all about knowing which resin to use for which purpose. There are many different types of fiberglass mat and each of those has a purpose. There is knowing how to prep the surface your applying it to for maximum bond. Then there is the mixing of all the elements properly to have ample working time and still cure properly. Of course that's still simplifying the whole thing a bit. After doing this for over thirty years I still learn something new every week.
I recently went to one of the 2016 boat shows here in Jacksonville. After pricing a few boats and looking them over real good I left feeling a bit violated. I thought about an old
80's flats hull we rebuilt. It was on it's last fishing trip, the tank was leaking, and the hull had a leak or two also.
We stripped it down and
turned it into a modern flats boat
with a few new items that did not come with it when it was new. The end cost was WAY less than buying a new boat.
Check out the WORK GALLERY for more on this.
Fiberglass is some cool stuff done by a man with a plan!
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So often people lose interest or neglect a boat thinking that being made of fiberglass and gel coat it will last forever. Sadly that is not the case. Fiberglass left exposed will over a period of time will oxidize and delaminate. The gel coat that protects the fiberglass oxidizes even faster when left unprotected and exposed to the elements. This oxidation is much softer than the resin underneath and is washed away layer by layer until the is no more left. A good example of this is if you have ever removed an old sticker from the hull you would have noticed that the gel coat under the sticker is a different color and is raised higher that the surrounding area. That is because the sticker protected the gel coat from the sun and other elements.
Unprotected gel coat is very porous also. Contaminants such as dirt, oils, blood, and rust will soak into the oxidized layer and even deeper sometimes making it very difficult to clean. Some of the cleaning agents used to remove these stains can also contribute to the further oxidation. All of this combined can make for a dull and cruddy looking boat
Many times in the past I've calls from people who want to get an old boat painted trying to make it look new again. A great number of them just needed a major detailing. As long as it has sufficient gel coat left it can be compounded and polished out sometimes to brand new again. Once a boat is cleaned up again then a good wax sealer is applied to insure it stays that way. Proper maintenance from that point on will keep it looking good for many more years.
Seven years old and still looks like new.
Total detail once a year, waxed twice a year.
Compounding and polishing a boat is NOT the same as doing a car. They are two very different things. A gel coat requires a compound made for that material. A good boat detailer knows that. Compounds used for paint have a petroleum lubricant in them to keep from burning the paint surface. This petroleum lube soaks into the gel coat and in a week or two leaches back to the surface destroying the shine. Gel compounds are all water based leaving a clean shine that last.
Good boat detailing is tough work and knowing how to prep, clean, and finish out a boat is worth every dollar because you only spend it once to get the result you need. From there it's just a little TLC from you the owner and your vessel is your pride and joy again.
BRING YOUR OLD OR FADED BOAT BACK TO LIFE!
Call me for a FREE demonstration and estimate.
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Don't forget to check out
the WORK GALLERY page!
G. W. COWAN Creative & Marine Services
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