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Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

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captainhook

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Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostSun Apr 23, 2017 4:55 pm

I have some minor rash in the sides of my carolina blue hull, so I purchased 2 pints of colored gelcoat (carol. blue and white) from Pioneer at the high price of $50 per pint. I taped off the scratches, added liquid hardener, and applied to the scratches. The gelcoat never cured! What am I doing wrong here? I even bought a second tube of hardener (both MKEP) cause I thought maybe the 1st one went bad. Same results- the stuff never cured. Is ther another step or ingredient I'm leaving out? Very frustrating- Any help would be appreciated
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sbecker3

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostSun Apr 23, 2017 6:43 pm

Did you cover it? It needs to be covered to cure.
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captainhook

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostSun Apr 23, 2017 8:15 pm

I did not know that...
Can I cover it w/ tape or plastic wrap, or is there something else I should use?
Thanks for the help!
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scmedic84

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostTue Apr 25, 2017 9:11 am

use PVA and spray it over... it's water soluable so once it's cured it'll wipe right off...
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captainhook

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostTue Apr 25, 2017 11:46 am

Thanks- will give it a try on the next warm day
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stripedyam

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostFri Apr 28, 2017 6:51 pm

The Pioneer gelcoat will cure without covering it. The problem is that the outer layer will be sticky. If it is not curing, I'm almost certain the problem is your catalyst.

When you say tube of MEKP, I'm suspicious. The stuff I use is a liquid. I mix about 10 drops of MEKP per ounce of gel coat if the temperature is around 70. More catylyst for lower temps. Frankly, I've tried all sorts of ratios at various outside temps as low as 40, and the Pioneer gel coat always cures after 12 hours or so.

Are you sure you have MEKP versus MEK? The ladder would not work.

Good luck. Gel coat can be maddening but when you get the factory stuff, life becomes easy once you get the hang of it. It's no harder than spackling drywall.

Oh yeah, make sure you stir for at least a minute after adding the MEKP.

A few other tips. 1. You can use wax paper, plastic and all sorts of stuff to cover the gel but I like pva the best. There is no need to spray small areas. Just fold up a paper towel and dab the pva on. And don't start dabbing until the gel has started to cure. 2. Use a painter light or some type of heat lamp to heat up the area to get it to cure faster. 3. If you brush on the gel, you need to be very patient. 1 coat in one direction. Allow to harden, for hour, then another coat in a perpendicular direction. Repeat based on depth of damage. The point here is that one coat then sanding will not work out most of the time. Sand only after you have built up a coating that is well above flush.
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captainhook

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostSun Apr 30, 2017 8:55 pm

Thanks for the great info. After doing some research and some trial and error with ratios, I was finally able to get it to cure like a rock. I've got to say, the color match is fantastic. Started wet sanding this eve and I'm amazed at how well its turning out- pretty sure it will be an invisible repair when said & done. I'm actually now finding this to be enjoyable process. BTW, if you can't get PVA, Aquanet hairspray also works in a pinch!
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stripedyam

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostMon May 01, 2017 5:57 am

Yes, the hardest part of gel coating is getting the color to match. Using the Pioneer gel coat eliminates that issue completely. Now the repair becomes all you and your skills at sanding, buffing and polishing.

I recommend buffing out the entire area around the repair. In other words, if you repaired an area on the side, I would buff out that whole side to get a perfectly invisible repair. Then I would polish and wax the entire boat to maximize the proud factor.
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captainhook

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Re: Gelcoat wont cure...help!!

PostMon May 01, 2017 2:23 pm

More great advice. Thanks again for your insight!

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