Against my better judgement I rescued another Prindle 16. This one's got a fair amount of oxidation, and using wetsanding and cutting compound, I've got the outside of one hull nice and shiny.
The rub (pun intended) is the amount of work it took. I am using a pad attached to my cordless drill. I don't have a polisher, and don't want to spend hundreds of dollars on something I'm only going to use once, but would it be worthwhile to rent one - is it going to be a marked difference in time compared to the drill?
I was faced with your exact issue, my boat is an ‘84 Hobie 18 Magnum. The blue hulls were nearly white.
I picked up a Porter Cable variable speed polisher & a few sheepskin wool pads, for about $80 on sale. It made for fairly quick work, though one had to be careful around hardware such as shroud anchors, bridal tangs, as they easily tear the sheepskin pads.
Here is an album of that boat, the photos of polishing/finishing are near the end
Hobie 18 Magnum
Mystere 6.0XL Sold Was a handful solo
Bombardier Invitation (Now officially DEAD)
Various other Dock cluttering WaterCrap
I think a drill will be too fast. You can get a decent buffer/polisher at Lowes, or Harbor Freight. $60-$100 will be decent for a small cat.
You'll need to wet sand first. Depending on how bad the oxidation is, you can start with 400 or 600. You will be amazed of how good it looks after the first pass, but don't short cut it. Hit it with 800, then 1000, then 1200, then finish with 1500. THEN, hit it with a good (I recommend the 3M) cutting compound. I have tried others and the 3M is magic. Follow their system. You'll hit the compound with at least 3 rounds. Yes, it's labor intense but I have done this many times on boats and had a friend do his H16 and was amazed.
Prindle Fleet 2
Prindle 18-2 Mod "FrankenKitty"
Tornado Classic "Fast Furniture"
Prindle 19 "Mr. Wiggly"
Nacra 5.8 "De ja vu"
Tornadoes (Reg White)
I got a cheap buffer at Harbor Freight. On the insides of the hulls I went straight to 1000 grit, on the more oxidized outsides, 600 to 800 to 1000. While I did get good results from 3m Perfect-it, I was actually happier with the way Meguiars 49 performed.
In any event, a neglected boat from 1979 has a new lease on life.
I prefer the right McGuire's as well; way above the 3M, which is good, but the McGuire's seems to be easier to work with. I've always done 800, then buffing compound, then polishing compound (I forget the numbers, but will check at home), both for clear coat/hard epoxy and gel coat. Variable speed buffer set on a slow speed with waffle pad is the best (800 grit by hand only and lightly). Don't let the compound dry too quickly so the pad stays relatively cool. I end up destroying a waffle pad per boat/session by the end... A car, I get 2 or 3 sessions out of them but I also push the buffing just barely through the dry=phase with oblique lighting to make it go faster.
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