Augh, gelcoat still tacky, any suggestions

Discussion in 'Fiberglass and Composite Boat Building' started by sbklf, Jan 7, 2008.

  1. sbklf
    Joined: Feb 2006
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    Location: Houston,TX

    sbklf Junior Member

    After warming the deck surface and heating the garage and applying gelcoat to the deck of my boat thinking I had the right combination for a good cure, I kneeled on part of the deck and my jeans stuck and left a slight imprint in the gel. To touch it or to try to scrape it off it appears that it is cured as is it is very hard but if I put pressure on it for a bit I can still feel a slight tack. At this point I am ready to let it go realizing that it will be a dirt magnet. I can not afford to reheat my garage and have other projects that need attention. I may have over rolled it, overheated it who knows but the wax did not seem to come to the top to give it the hard shell it needs for some reason. It does not have a scheen to it but I thought it was due to the sand added.

    Sand was added to the second (waxed) coat at about 4oz sand to 32oz gel. Catalyzed at 2% and added wax at 3.5 to 4%. Mixed the wax (warmed slightly)with power mixer for 3+ minutes. Temp of surface and area 72+ during process. All other materials were the same temps.

    Is there a sealant I can put over it or any other trick I can do to kill the tack? (how about if I spray a clear liquid wax on it?)

    I asked this once before but will the tack go away?

    I was also considering adding anothter coat without sanding since it is still tacky but wonder if I am taking a chance of it not adhearing since the layer underneath has wax in it.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks, Kevin
  2. ondarvr
    Joined: Dec 2005
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    Location: Monroe WA

    ondarvr Senior Member

    Not all gel coats will cure well on the backside even with wax and low styrene versions are the least likely to cure tack free. You can try a couple of very small test batches to see if you get different results using different methods, but I've found batches, or formulas that just don't cure that well on the back side. It will slowly get less tacky, but it will be more or less just drying out, not curing and will be a dirt magnet. Put the bottle (or can) of wax in the fridge and let it cool down and see if the wax solidifies and turns a cloudy white. If it doesn't, then there may be little or no wax in the styrene solution, this can happen when the company you bought it from poured it down into the smaller cantainer you got it in. The wax can separate and when it's poured off you can get more or less wax in the new container. Resin can be added to help it cure, but even that may not do it. There are also patchaid type products that will help it cure faster and harder, fiberglass supply stores carry it.
  3. the1much
    Joined: Jul 2007
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    Location: maine

    the1much hippie dreams

    try wiping with a rag and acetone,,,but dont soak it,,,just a dampish wet rag,,wipe once,fold rag wipe again, fold wipe...untill the rag is used up,,,then clean it (rag) and move over to next section.then let it sit in well ventalated room for a day. this isnt a cure all,,,but sometimes helps,,,,and the dullness is gonna have to be wet sanded and buffed to get the shine. your problem isnt nothing special,,EVERY person that deals with gel has it happen to them,,,,and most of the time the reason is VERY unclear and never found. if this dont work, get ready to rename the boat "hoover"...dont we wish we could jus paint boats with wal-mart latex ;)
  4. jimslade
    Joined: Aug 2005
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    Location: north Markham

    jimslade Senior Member

    It will eventually set up. You can try and cover the area with plastic wrap. The cover may allow it to setup hard. A heat gun used judiciously works too.
  5. jhutches
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Location: Orlando

    jhutches New Member

    I have the same problem. I mixed patch boost at 25%, and catalyst at 1.5% sprayed it on with a preval sprayer. It went on ok. Then waited 30 minutes and sprayed PVA on it. Supposed to cure in about 4 to 6 hours. I waited overnight and it still is tacky. And not completely hard. Can I cover over this with more gelcoat this time using more catalyst 2%, or is there something I am missing? All my materials were of the best quality.


  6. Itchy&Scratchy
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: Oxford & South Africa

    Itchy&Scratchy Senior Member

    Just get some liquid wax and paint over the surface thinly, leave overnight and then wash off with soap and water,it will be as dry as a bone.

    Have fun

  7. Itchy&Scratchy
    Joined: Jul 2008
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    Location: Oxford & South Africa

    Itchy&Scratchy Senior Member

    Another thing you can do which works is spray or hand paint PVA over the surface and let it dry, leave till next day and wash off.

  8. fasteddy106
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: connecticut

    fasteddy106 Junior Member

    One thing to remember when working with any two part process is to use a different container to apply gel or any mixed resin than the one you mixed it in. It is impossible to attain a 100% mix so some under-catalyzed resin will always be present in the container. As it is lighter than the catalyzed resin it will rise to the top of a surface and remain tacky for a much longer period. I had this happen on a transom I restored. I mixed some mek with acetone and used my spray gun with a mist coat, hardened right up.
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