MulticolorPolyflake Repair …It`s an

Ask “Dr. Gel”
Dave Weakley is the owner of
American Boat Restoration
and has been helping boaters keep their
boats in fine trim and good repair for over 30 years
from Catskill to Lake George & Western New England.
by Dave Weakley
“Email me or call me with your questions! I’ll be happy to help you out”
email: [email protected] / / tel: 518.577.7799  /  cell: 413.665.7424
Multicolor Polyflake Repair
…It’s an
a base color gelcoat (the background
color) is sprayed. Next applied is the
structure of the boat which is fiberglass
cloth and resin.
That was the manufacture steps taken. Now think about how to do a repair
from the outside. It all has to be done in
Adding multiple pins and colors makes
it even more challenging. You will not feel
the transition from one line/pin stripe
to the next if the repair is done correctly. It will feel perfectly smooth. Straight
gelcoat colors and polyflake must also
match exactly in color, pattern, blend
perfectly and not show any change from
the new gelcoat to the existing.
Unlike a car we don’t have door jams
where you can finish at the end of a door
There are other challenges as well in
order to reproduce the original gelcoat.
Gelcoat does not spray out and lay down
as smooth as paint. The newly sprayed
surface resembles an orange peel. For
each color that is applied it must cure
over night before it can be sanded out.
Remember with the repair being done
in reverse on the outside the clear coat
is over the polyflake and this is where
sanding can be very tedious and tricky.
Sand too much and you will sand right
into the flake turning it silver. If this happens you get to do it all over again.
Spraying the correct mil thickness of
gelcoat is another important factor in a
successful repair. Gelcoat will get brittle,
turn yellow and or crack if too much material is applied.
In a straight gelcoat color repair the mil
thickness is approx. 20 mil thick. When
reproducing a polyflake repair there is
the background gelcoat color, a thin coat
of clear gelcoat, dry flake and then another thin layer of clear gelcoat and last
applied another coat of clear gelcoat. So
given all these layers applied it’s imperative to stay within the 20 mil thickness.
Add multicolor pins and stripes of gelcoat and it becomes a very complicated
repair that should be done by a Master.
Repair Process
Surface scratches
in polyflake
ass fishing boats are well
known for their efficient, high performance, sleek, sparkling appearance; The
perfect boat for so many enthusiastic
fishermen. Bass anglers get from point
“a” to point “b” in a hurry with their powerful engines and the hull design allows
them to fish in shallow waters as well.
Equipping these impressive boats with
powerful engines, jack plates, electric
trolling motors and high-tech fish find70
In some cases it is possible to wet sand
surface scratches out of the clear gel
coat that is covering the polyflake. If you
can see any discoloration of the flake DO
NOT attempt to sand out the scratch.
Discoloration indicates that the scratch
is through the clear coat and into the
If there are no discolorations begin to
wet sand the area using a good grade
(3M or Norton) 1000 grit wet paper, next
use 1500 wet and 2000 wet grit. Sand
in an area that is much larger than the
scratched area. After sanding is complete; compound with TR 311, TR 308
and TR 301 and wax.
Gashes through the clear coat, polyflake and/or into the fiberglass
Using a carbide, grind out the damage
May 2015
ers should be done properly; if not the
weight and torque of the engine(s) and
mounting procedures can cause stress
cracks and delaminating. Another side
affect of improper maintaining is gelcoat
fade and chalking.
How are polyflake boats repaired when
unfortunate damage happens?
Bass boats are often designed with
multicolor pin stripes and are the most
difficult and time consuming of all gelcoat repairs. Only a very experienced
repair person should attempt repairs or
the result could be a disaster that we see
often. The repair should not be noticed;
it should appear like it just came out of
the mold it was built in, a show piece,
resulting in a very happy boat owner.
Let’s begin with very basic steps to initially build a boat. Two molds are constructed; the top or deck and the hull
the bottom. The outside layer of the
boat is sprayed in the mold first. This
could be a combination of clear gelcoat
or straight color gelcoat depending on
the design of the boat. For the polyflake
designs clear gelcoat is applied first
then the flake is applied. Over the flake
May 2015
in the
“Great works are
performed not by
strength, but by
Fill the ground out area with an easy to
sand vinyl ester filler.
Sand it smooth- leaving a deficit to accommodate the background gelcoat
color. This is usually black or dark blue
Tape off and apply the background gelcoat with NO WAX additive and apply the
Allow to dry overnight
Remove the PVA and sand the background gelcoat with 400 grit wet sandpaper; 400 is the minimum grit to allow for
top coat clear adhesion. Sand to remove
just the orange peel on the surface. Sand
the area 8”- 10” beyond the repair area
After it is sanded retape the sanded area
just outside on the shiny gelcoat
Using base coat reducer up to 25%, activated the same as any gelcoat spray a
mist coat just where you want new polyflake to be in the repair area.
Immediately after applying the mist
coat blow the appropriate amount of
polyflake on using a mouth atomizer
or an airbrush with a polyflake attachement. This will take practice.
Mouth atomizers can be purchased at a
Craft supply store.
10. Apply a top coat of clear gel on the
entire repair area but not out onto the
shiny gelcoat.
11. Apply PVA.
12. Allow to dry overnight.
13. Be sure to remove all the PVA.
14. Sand with 400 grit wet to remove just the orange peel on the
15. Then proceed to sand with
Norton/Abranet/3M 600 grit-1000
grit-1500 grit- 2000 grit wet paper.
16. Compound with TR 311TR 308 TR 301 and apply wax.
To repair multi color
polyflake pins.
If there are three pins for example
tape off using fine line tape on the
outside edges of each pin. After
each pin is taped, tape over the
exposed pins leaving only the first
one to be sprayed.
If there are multiple pins that are
the same color they can be sprayed
at the same time.
May 2015
Follow the Repair procedure above in
Steps 1-13.
Pull off the tape to expose the next
pin to be repaired. Apply fine line tape
over the pin that was just shot. Proceed to follow Steps 1-13 until all the
pins have been shot.
Remove all the fine line tape. Sand
the area carefully just to remove the
orange peel surface.
Retape the outside perimeter just
outside onto the shiny gelcoat.
Follow repair Steps 10-16 to finish
repairs require
a lot of skill and
If you have a boat needing polyflake
repair be sure to pick out a competent
repair facility that can do the repair
right the first time. A re-repair will cost
you more.
The photos of the Skeeter boat shows
multiple pins of both flake and gelcoat.
There are two edges of each color pin
and the six pins had to be perfectly blended and matched.
The boat, waked by a barge on the Hudson R. sustained major fiberglass fracture
and gelcoat damage on the port and starboard sides. The majority of the fractures
were on the starboard side above and below the rub rail going through all the pin
colors and there was damage to the hull
and deck seam. Cracks just in the gelcoat
are called hairline cracks or spider cracks
sometimes you can’t feel and can be difficult to see. Cracks you can feel mean there
is damage in the laminate. This means
the gelcoat needs to be ground out into
the laminate until all the cracks are gone.
Sometimes the laminate is paper thin. The
laminate then needs to be layed up with
the appropriate resins either polyesters or
vinyl esters.
Fiberglass cloth and or mat depending on
the thickness required. The area is sanded to re-establish the original body lines.
From here the correct gelcoats and flakes
can be applied.
After weeks of very precision tedious work
the boat owner came to pick up his restored boat. When he drove up to it he was
amazed at how great it looked. He was ecstatic and said “it looks better than when
it was new!”.
Learn All Aspects of Minor Gelcoat Repairs.
Tips on best tools & materials to use
All training provided at your location.
Instructor - Dave Weakley,
Boating On The Hudson & Beyond magazine’s “Ask Dr. Gel”
Certified professional with over 35 yrs experience
Have a boat that needs repair?
This is the perfect opportunity to become skilled at minor gelcoat repair.
tel 518.577.7799 • 413.665.7424
email- [email protected]
“Give me a call; you have nothing to lose and everything to gain”
May 2015