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Repairing Deck Dings Page 3

When someone drops a winch handle, spinnaker pole or outboard shaft on a fiberglass deck, it will sometimes produce a minor ding in the gelcoat and fiberglass. Fortunately, most of these dings are relatively easy to fix. Here’s how.Hole in oneTo repair a minor ding or hairline crack, first use a Dremel tool to smooth the gelcoat
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GELCOAT DECK REPAIR

To repair a gelcoated antiskid surface, roll on a fresh layer of gelcoat and wait for it to become tacky. Then go over the surface again with the same roller to pull the gelcoat up in a random pattern of peaks. To find the optimum length of time to wait before rerolling the gelcoat, experiment on another surface. A gelcoat that has wax added to it helps ensure a good cure.

Matching a molded gelcoat antiskid pattern is not easy and should be attempted only if one is very familiar with the materials. If that’s the case, patterns and detailed instructions for a variety of styles and sizes are available from Gibco Flex-Mold.

MOLDED DECK REPAIR

Repairing a molded antiskid deck calls for a different approach. First mix a small batch of epoxy and filler until it has the consistency of mayonnaise. Next, put the batch in a sandwich bag, cut a very small hole in a lower corner of the bag and “decorate” the deck with tiny dots, much as one decorates a cake.

Another way to get stippling between the dots is to dip the tip of a small disposable bristle brush in the epoxy and then touch the deck surface with it. For best results practice this maneuver on a test platform before trying it on the real surface. When the surface has cured, prime and paint.

Whether you are repairing a ding, filling a bigger hole or repairing a section of worn out antiskid, the goal is to make a repair that is not only waterproof, but also attractive and safe. If you prepare the surface well, plan in advance, and schedule enough time to do the job right, the result should be a handsome and professionally finished surface.

EPOXY TIPS

1. Use a new mixing pot and stir for every batch.

2. Add filler in small amounts and continue to add until the epoxy reaches the desired consistency.

3. If the mixture is too thick, start over.

4. Be sure the dispenser pump puts out epoxy on the bottom of the mixing pot, not on the side.

5. For accurate measurements, press the dispenser pump down fully and let it come all the way up before depressing it again.

6. To keep heat from your hand from speeding up curing, hold the mixing pot at the top rather than at the bottom or sides. Keep the pot out of the sun for the same reason.

7. Plan ahead carefully; once epoxy is mixed you must work quickly and accurately.

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