How long does it take for clear gelcoat to dry and harden to be sandable??? How long does it take for clear gelcoat to dry and harden to be sandable???
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    How long does it take for clear gelcoat to dry and harden to be sandable???
from Brant  
8/31/2003 9:42:00 PM


 I was helping a friend try to fix some chips in his boat. He purchased some clear coat gel, haardner and polyflake.

I mixed as per directions and played with appling the gel coat and polyflake to some test pieces. everything looks good, but it is still tacky after more than 8 hours. Getting the polyflake to look good wasn't that bad, it looks real good but it just does not seem to set up and harden.

I have worked with body putty and it dries to be sandable within 15 min, I thought the gel would do the same.

What am I doing wrong ? has any one done this have any ideas?

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   The Hardener from Jeff Hahn  8/31/2003 10:21:00 PM
 Brant: Maybe you didn't mix in enough hardener? Maybe you didn't stir in the hardener and gel enough? Or, maybe the hardener was old or bad? Generally, the gel or polyflake/clear coat should set up within a few hours.

Jeff Hahn

   Gelcote from RCS  9/1/2003 7:32:00 AM
 In order for the gelcote to fully cure, you must deny it air. Easiest way is with a product named Mold Release. You can get it at boaters world, or any similar boat supply place. It is a thin green liquid that you can brush on. Once the gelcote is hard, the mold release washes off with water. Have heard of people using plastic wrap to do the same thing but the mold release worked well for me. Should only take a couple hours to harden after the mold release is applied.

   Gel Coat from Lee (  9/1/2003 11:07:00 AM
 Both the above replies are correct.... Suggest you test a small amount and time it to see when it becomes "no longer workable". Continue to mix the hardner/resin until you have the "timing" right. Tacky gel is also a sign of OLD hardner.

The new product that RCS described sounds good.... but I'll bet its more expensive than clear fingernail polish (for small chips). For longer scratches and larger areas, try wax paper.... and small wooded dowel rolled over it. It will elimate "ALOT" of the sanding/buffing. As the gel heats up the wax seals the air out, its less likely to wrinkle and peels of really clean.

Good luck! Lee

   Tacky Gel and how to prevent from BamBam (  9/1/2003 11:23:00 AM
 GelCoat will be tacky on the surface of a repair. To prevent this you can put some wax on the surface as soon as it cures. This will make it easier to sand in a few hours.

It is not like a body fill and is time consuming. The amount of catalyst is probably not above 2 1/2%, or VERY Little as most require only from 1 to 1 1/2 % of hardner. Depending on theetype of gel you have the characteristics will change slightly. Though they all work the same.

The hardner won't age on you in most cases. Keep any unused hardner or gels in a refrigerator to extend shelf life, and be sure they are at ambient room temp before applying.

Start witha coarse paper to bust the surface layer and go to fine paper soon.

Once you have your body shape, use the finest paper you cna jsutify and plenty of water, chagne the paper out regularly as it wears.

Polish with a 1000 or 2000 Aqua Buff (Hawkeye Product) and go to MGM 3 or 3m Finesse for more finish lustre.


   follow up question from BandT (  9/1/2003 3:22:00 PM
 I have done a few of these types of repairs myself, but my biggest issue is preventing "air pockets" from forming... when I remove he release paper and start to sand, I end up with little air pockets, and have to start (basically) over...

Is this an experience thing, or is it expected to take several attempts before you get the surface you want?

   Your problem is more likely from JJ  9/2/2003 12:26:00 PM
 Excessive humidity....with the rain you guys have had. It won't cure as fast with the high humidty, if you can pull the boat in a gargage and close it, and crank up some kind of small electric heater and a small fan to blow it around for a day or two. Or pull it out onto a warm/sunny spot outside and let nature cure it for you.

   Post No. 2 from Gary (  9/2/2003 5:16:00 PM
 It'll take about 30 years if you don't listento Post No. 2. You HAVE to Deny it air.



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