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Refinishing Gel Coat

If you find your gel coat on your composite canoe getting faded and worn, and you would like to make it all shiny and almost new looking again, here are a few simple steps.

Please note, this process will not fix deep gauges and missing pieces of gelcoat.

Working outside, on saw horses, with the canoe at waist level – wash your canoe, scrub off any of the green slime especially around the gunnel edges. Once it’s dry, you can start the restoration.

Get yourself some cut polish (the same stuff they use on cars). Cut polish comes in different grits. If the canoe is badly oxidized (the paint is really faded) use a courser grit.

Buy, rent or borrow a power buffer – you want the ‘two handed kind’ not the little ones you put on the end of a drill. Get a good quality ‘lamb skin’ buffing pad.

Go to town on buffing. It should take you 2-3 hours. This will bring back the colour and should get rid of the smaller scratches.

Careful not to over buff, as this is like ‘sanding’. You don’t want to go too ‘deep’ and lose the colour all together. To get the best shine, lighten the pressure on the pad at the end of the polishing cycle. Don’t be afraid to use a fair amount of pressure though at the beginning of the job.

Once you’re done, put a coat of wax on it. That will help protect it from future sun damage. Make sure it’s a wax with a UV inhibitor – most any good car wax will be fine.