View Full Version : Gelcoat Swirl Marks

11-02-2011, 12:51 PM
Hey folks I am curious about the RIGHT way to remove swirl marks from the deck of my TR. I am interested to hear what the enthusiasts on our forum here have to say as the internet provides hundreds of different methods and Im not sure which is correct or not.

I have bad swirling on the deck of my TR and I have no idea how they get there as they were there when I purchased the boat.

I purchased some 3M Finesse it Glaze swirl remover and applied with my DA Polisher. I am using a standard terrycloth-towel material pad to apply and wiping off with a clean terry cloth towel.

After six applications of the stuff in a small area (apply, wipe off. apply, re-apply, wipe off. apply, re-apply, re-apply, wipe off is method used) I was able to look at it and honestly say that most of the swirl marks were gone. I taped off an area and pulled off so you can see a distinct line before and after.

Noticed that area treated with the finesse it was actually lighter in color then the rest of the deck. Almost a shade lighter.

Hit it twice with a turtle wax and that seemed to darken it back up a bit. -SEE PIC-


-Is there a faster method than this?? It appears application pads make a big difference according to the internet. does anyone have a pad recommendation for applying then buffing off?

-Should i continue with the turtle wax afterwards in order to darken the color back up? And why is it lighter in color I thought it would be deeper if anything after removing swirl marks.

-Any other recommendations for using a different substance to remove them? I was told 3M finesse was the best.

Thanks in advance everyone!:banghead:

11-02-2011, 02:06 PM
The glaze is great but only needs to be used once. Then I use Finesse It 2 with a wool pad(10") and then 2 coats of wax and she is pretty smooth. If you are looking at it under flourescent lights, you will drive yourself nuts trying to remove them. Turtle wax pretty much sucks. Try Woody wax or at least a good 3m or Mother's.

11-02-2011, 02:18 PM
A foam pad will make a big difference.

11-02-2011, 02:33 PM
Thanks guys.

So Biggiefl, the stuff I am using now is Finesse it 2 glaze. Which Finesse it 2 are you saying I should use with the wool pad? You are saying use your ointment once with a wool pad, buff off with towel, then hit with 2 shots of a good marine wax. Just buff in your Finnesse it 2 until it dries? If i do that with this glaze it simply isnt enough to do it once.

And the foam pad I should use to buff off? Or is the motion of jsut buffing off with towel good enough? I do see some people online applying with the foam pad as well.

Apprecite it!

11-02-2011, 02:43 PM
They absorb a LOT of material which sucks if just doing a deck or smaller spot than a whole boat...think of a sponge.

If I were you from what I see in the picks I would do(with a buffer) the glaze. Then I would use 3M Finesse it II finishing Material part #051131-05928(expensive). Then either 2 coats of woody wax or Colonites. Yes a micro fibre towel is fine to just wipe off the dust after using the wheel. If that does not work than your swirls are deeper and you may have to do a mild wetsand and the whole process over but I doubt that. Your flourescents are the best judge but also make you crazy. It is fiberglass not an $8k paint job.

11-02-2011, 03:06 PM
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This is great information buddy thank you. I will:

apply finesse glaze, wipe
aplly finesse finishing material, wipe
hit it twice with wax

I will let you know how it worked. Would you say a foam pad is as abrasive as the wool or is the wool more aggressive?

11-02-2011, 05:04 PM
Hey guy , seeing that you already are using 3 -M products ( purchased ) which in my opinion works best ..........when used on painted surfaces ( only ) considering there are far better products out there designed for use on just gell, and just curious did you try Imperial Compound made by 3M -O6O44 which works great on top sides that are really faded ,and just a quick mention that .................most of the time when doing this type of work it takes more then a few steps to get it back to the orginal color .

11-02-2011, 05:21 PM
I'll add a couple cents as well.

Wool pads generally cut the fastest. If you have a lot of material to remove, they are the most aggressive. You don't want to hand one over to a novice though, or he'll burn through edges pretty easily.

Foam pads are pretty safe - hard to mess up with one. But as mentioned, they suck up product like a sponge.

You'll also find different densities of backer pads. The stiffer ones tend to help cut faster while the looser ones work better for light polish/waxing.

I like 3M products, but they are sort of geared toward the professional user like OG. They make a huge assortment of polishes/glazes/etc and there's pretty much a product for every need, but you often have to get them from commercial supply places (look for body shop supplies in the yellow pages). It's also pretty confusing for the home user to figure out what the best product for the job is.

For general use, I tend to use (and recommend to my clients) Mequires products. Commonly available, and the 'system' is pretty easy to understand if not as complete as the 3M offerings. Geared toward the home user.

Lots of people have a favorite wax brand, but any good name-brand product should do a decent job. (Turtle wax would NOT fall into that category IMHO) Colonite, Woodies, Mequires, 3M....all of them mentioned above make a good wax. Steer clear of any of the 'magic' stuff that's supposed to just go on and off like water, last 20 years, and restore junk yard cars to like new. They're pretty much all gimmicks. Getting a good finish is a lot of work, so people are always looking for a shortcut and companies are always finding a new way to cash in on that.

11-02-2011, 06:49 PM
Really appreciate the feedback folks. Im going out right now to purchase a sponge pad, wool pads, and some quality marine wax you folks mentioned. I am also going to try and find some 3M finishing material as mentioned. I will update as I make progress here!


11-02-2011, 07:08 PM
Is your boat Gelcoat or paint? This makes a big difference in what products you use.
If you are using a glaze,you are just hiding the swirl marks not removing them.

11-02-2011, 07:12 PM
I would start over compounding it. After compounding I use a spray bottle with a lil bit of water, Wheel at a moderate speed with no pressure on it. The water will reactivate whatever compound that is left in the wool. When using the Finess it, Make sure you hav a clean bonnet and let the wheel do the work. Dont lay into it.
From the looks of the pics it your trying to take too much off with the finess...

11-02-2011, 08:15 PM
Buddy , i agree .....but i would re-start compounding with a whole new set of products other then 3-M ........just for the pure fact that 3-M is very overpriced and really is designed for paint . Buddy , when i worked at S-2 Yachts , we were somewhat of a testing ground ...for 3-M products .........from sand paper , to compounds .

11-02-2011, 11:05 PM
Correct...don't lean into it, let the product work FOR YOU!. Keep your bonnet clean. If still using the same grit, put a wide screwdriver or gasket scraper on the bonnet to clean it between areas. Try both the foam and wool, I like both but usually like wool. Maybe for more of a "perfect" finish the foam shines above the wool...dunno. I meant Maguires, not Mothers in my above post but I think you will be happier with Woody or Colinite over the long haul...even above 3m wax which is kinda ole school carnuba stuff. Not mocking it as it works but newer stuff is much easier to use and lasts longer. I owned a detail shop for about 10 years back in the mid 80's to mid 90's. I know the work but products change so I always keep an open mind. I won't steer you wrong but somebody may give "us" a new edge, etc.

If you want, buy better products but 3m is not shaby and easily available. AGAIN, this is your boat, not a showcar or a $8k paintjob. It should look almost factory and with ANY 24 year old gel coat, that is AWESOME!!!! Gel goes to hell in a day anyway so I personally don't waste trying to see my arm hairs in it. I can but I am just saying.

11-03-2011, 10:52 AM
Forty years ago ...................when i worked at Thompson Boat Co the only compound we used was a white Rouge that was a blend of compounds that was made for polishing Aluminum & Jewelry , which at that time was pretty awsome stuff considering #400 grit was the highest grit used , with no wet sanding ever involved ......................

11-03-2011, 01:32 PM
I knew I could rely on you guys to point me in the right direction as it is relaly appreciated. Finished it in about 5 hours last night and it turned out great!

3M finesse it 2 compound
" " glaze
Maguires nxt generation wax

8" wool buffing pads
terry cloth towels

compund applied with wool pad, misted with spray bottle, re-worked, wiped off. Applied and wiped off 3 more times.

applied glaze with wool pad, wiped off with terry cloth.

applied wax with terry cloth then wiped off x 2.

I think it took alot of compounding due to the fact that the swirlmarks were really bad. In fact, there are still deep gouge swirl marks here and there.

11-03-2011, 02:38 PM
Good job. Next time maybe wetsand(1000+ grit) the scratched spots or use a more agressive like 3m Super Duty compound(which I use on boats...NOT cars) it is pretty super duty(800-1000grit). For now call it a day and enjoy until...next time. Yes my boat is red as well. I SWORE I would NEVER buy a red boat again. :bonk:

11-03-2011, 05:40 PM
http://fountainofyouthrestore.com and click on Vibra cut which is now being used at Cuigeratte, Magnum, Fountain ,and others . Hey guys i use a lot of dfferent compounds from Aqua Buff , Bio Kleen , Frenzy ,Leverage , 3-M and a host of others depending on what is needed to get the job done and like Fixx mentioned Collinite Boat Wax is excellent, and if you like......... you can read hundreds of great reviews on this wax online at www.JamestownDistributors.com (http://www.JamestownDistributors.com)

11-03-2011, 05:42 PM
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thanks. lots of work. It sounds like if I hit it with the wetsand or superduty, i could have avoided doing the regular compound 5 times. I will try that for sure next time!