Awlgrip or Sterling ?

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by grady, Oct 27, 2006.

  1. grady
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    grady Novice

    Hey Guys, Looking for some advice on paint systems, Ease of application, durability, gloss retention etc.

    I am refinishing a 24' grady wht walk around, Gelcoat is great shape. Have a ton of questions. So please if you have any experience or knowledge to lend please reply.

    thank you
     
  2. jonsailor
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    jonsailor Boat designer/builder

    Price will tell you

    I have used both and find them both very good and similar to use and quality so it boils down to price for me so Sterling it is???
     
  3. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    Same here. Hate working with the toxics but they are so good, I use them anyway. I use Awlgrip because it is available locally and don't like buying so many "systems".

    Price and availablity.
     
  4. grady
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    grady Novice

    thanks for the replies, Is one product easier to touch-up than the other. I have heard that the awlgrip primer 545 is a great product. But the reducers and thiners etc that awlgrip offers can be less than a simple choice. This is my first attempt at painting a boat, But realize that it is all in the prep.
    My friend will be spraying the boat, ALTHOUGH he is an auto refinisher, he has quite a bit of 2 part urathane experience. and has sprayed a couple of boats. Also awlgrip recommends that you don't use clear on light colors. But they don't say why?
     
  5. Bob S.
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    Bob S. Junior Member

    Have you considered Interlux Perfection? Dead simple system.
     
  6. grady
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    grady Novice

    No never heard of it, But will check it out.

    thanks
     
  7. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    Awl-Grip and Sterling are both polyester urethanes. They start out with pigmented polyester resin which gets converted to poly(ester)urethane by the catalyst. Their handling in application and service durabiltiy are very similar, both being very good in both respects.

    Though you will never hear a company man from either tell you this, we have found that the catalysts from the two are completely interchanable. In fact we regularly bought only Sterling catalyst for quite a few years since it was always about 15-20% cheaper than Awl-Grip's catalyst and works exactly the same. We don't do that anymore since the price gap is now *zero* and having all the paint cans with the same brand name on them leaves us with nothing to explain :)

    One interchange we continue to make is the reducer. Sterling's #1014 medium reducer is just flat out better than Awl-Grip's T0003 Standard reducer. It provides better handling during application and reduces the possibility of solvent popping from piling on coats too quickly or adding too much accelerator and other abuses painters seem to be prone to :rolleyes:

    Another system to consider is Jet-Glo which is now owned by Sherwin Williams. It is also a polyester urethane with all the gloss and durability of the other two. It handles better than either of the other two and is available in more colors. Some Sherwin Williams Industrial dealers have begun to carry this line. Merritt Marine down in Ft Lauderdale carries this line.

    Jimbo
     
  8. fhrussell
    Joined: Dec 2004
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    fhrussell Boatbuilder

    i know Jet-Glo is used in the aviation industry, so how is the price? I'd imagine it would be high....?
     
  9. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    Sterling and Awl-Grip are used on airplanes, too. Jet Glo pricing is within pennies of the other two. Their Mil Spec primer is a better deal than the Awl-Grip version since it has more solids. The Sterling Mil-Spec is the best deal with the highest solids for the money. Before S-W bought out Pratt & Lambert, Merritt actually had Jet Glo custom packaged for them with a nice picture of a yacht on the label. The attached pic shows the different labels that the Jet Glo/Acry Glo line has had over the years, as purchased from Merritt. (Why get rid of old paint, I might need it again someday :D ) From my conversations with Merritt at the time, it was clear they felt it is a superior system ITO application friendliness than the other two brands. I tend to agree. It has fewer bad habits than Awl-Grip, but this is mostly due to the T0003 Awl-Grip reducer being a troublesome, inferior product compared to either Jet Glo or Sterling reducer. Most people don't realize just how important a reducer is for proper paint handling during application. Gloss, leveling, atomization, resistance to runs and etc. are all greatly influenced by the reducer.

    Jimbo
     

    Attached Files:

  10. DavidP
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    DavidP New Member

    Sterling in high humidity

    I had a 40' aluminum boat painted with Sterling. It looked great, set up good.
    It was painted indoors and stayed inside 10 days after completion. When it left the shop the paint was rock hard. After we launched it, it took about 5 days to start sluffing. It wrinkled and bubbled and the paint got soft.

    We dry docked the boat and the paint hardened again but the paint job is still wrinkled and bubbled.

    The company that painted it hasn't gotten much assistance from Sterling on this. I am trying to compile information before I act further on this. I found one web site that warned against shrink wrapping Sterling or it would sluff, apparently from moisture.

    I am in Alaska, in a temperate climate. Could this be the problem?

    I have also heard of other applications on aluminum that failed.

    I'm into this for $18,000. and have to completely redo the paint job.

    I don't have the specifics on the primers and reducers that were used but they were all Sterling brand and recommended by the Sterling representative.

    David
     
  11. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    The Sterling paint was probably not on the aluminum, technically, but on the primer which was in direct contact with the aluminum. I know this seems like a trivial detail to someone not in the paint business, but believe me, it's critical. If the paint was put directly on the aluminum, that was certainly wrong. Topcoats are not designed to be applied directly to any type of bare metal. More than likely, the aluminum was not properly etched and converted so the adhesion of the primer failed. To be certain that that's the case, answer the following: What does the back of one of the chips of sloughed paint look like? Is is the color of the paint, or the color of primer? If it is the color of paint, was there a primer left stuck to the boat? If yes, then the paint did not adhere to the primer, which is certainlty a fault with the process, not the paint. If the back of the chips shows no primer, and there is no primer left stuck to the boat, then somebody forgot the primer, which is again a fault with the process, not the paint. If you've got primer on the back of the chips, then the primer did not stick to the aluminum which indicates poor/nonexistant etch and Alodine of the bare aluminum which is a process fault again.

    I have painted quite lot of aluminum with Sterling products without any problems. It is a good paint system, very much on a par with the more popular Awl-Grip.

    Jimbo
     
  12. DavidP
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    DavidP New Member

    Thanks Jimbo,

    Without knowing the correct terminology, here is what I know -

    The boat was acid etched and then an ugly green/yellow metal "primer" was applied. Ethcing Primer?

    Next was a white primer, epoxy based I think and then the white paint.

    When the paint got soft, you could wipe off both the white primer and the white paint leaving the ugly green yellow layer.

    A very similar process was used on the bottom same ugly green/yellow primer, then we painted on an epoxy bottom and then bottom paint and it is working fine.

    The guys who did this have years of experience with Awlgrip and never had a failure.

    David
     
  13. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    The ugly green/yellow primer sounds like a 'wash' primer. These are extremely thin self-etching primers which represent a sort of 'short-cut' method of painting aluminum. They actually do stick to aluminum pretty well, though they do not offer the lon-term corrosion protection of Alodine.

    But a more serious fault of this type of primer is the very strict recoat window. For most wash primers it's something like 12 hours maximum, and highly temperature dependent. In hot summer weather applying the product outdoors may shorten the recoat window to only a few hours. Beyond this time, the topcoat will not adhere to the prime coat. If the topcoat application gets delayed, the only solution is to abrade the cured wash primer. Since it is typically anly about .1-.2 mils thick, this abrading will result in numerous break throughs back to bare metal. For this reason, this sanding must be followed by re-application of the wash primer. This is one reason why I tend to favor the etch/Alodine method with Mil spec polyamide primer over that. The Mil-P-23377 primers give you 3 days to recoat without need for sanding.

    But all this is just a guess without knowing exactly which products were used. Some people describe Mil spec primer as green/yellow. If it was Mil spec primer, there are two possible modes of failure, both related to the recoat time. If the primer was not allowed to cure for sufficient time, the solvents in the topcoat can attack the prime coat excessively. The fast curing topcoat will then form a vapor barrier trapping the solvents below it causing disastrous bubbling/blistering of the topcoat off of the primer. I have seen this problem on occasion, but it is usually a 'spot' problem; I have never personally seen it plague an entire job with whole sheets of paint sloughing off. Instead it usually presents as blistering in selected areas surrounded by well-adhered areas. The solution is to allow more cure time between application of the primer and topcoat. But being an epoxy primer with a rather slow curing agent, this might prove cumbersome in cold weather conditions. Mil spec primer basically goes to sleep in cold weather and may take many days to cure if it stays cold for days on end.

    The other mode of failure is from waiting too long to recoat. Mil spec primer was originally a USAF specification for a 'fluid resistant' primer which means phoshpate ester hydraulic fluid (Skydrol) resistant. So although it does cure slowly, when it finally does cure fully, it is just about impervious to attack by solvents. Trouble is, we want the solvent in the topcoat to soften the partially cured prime coat a bit, as this gives you good adhesion. So if you wait too long, the topcoat will not stick at all. The solution is to abrade the primer and reapply primer either globally, or just to the bare metal break-though areas. This problem often presents as whole sheets of paint sloughing off. Sometimes it presents as flecks of topcoat coming off with the tape while applying graphics rather than wholesale adhesion failure.

    Jimbo
     
  14. grady
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    grady Novice

    Hey jimbo, you certainly have done this more than once. Not to get off topic of david's problem. But I was wondering why us paints doesn't recommend the use of clear topcoats over the lighter colors. And is all concerns about darker colors warranted.

    thanks for all of you comments
     

  15. Jimbo1490
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    Jimbo1490 Senior Member

    Many clear coats don't have any special protective value over pigmented coatings. Without a pigment to make clear resin opaque, UV spectrum passes right through the entire coating breaking it down. This can be alleviated somewhat with the addition of certain UV blocking chemicals, but these additives are very costly at over $1000/gallon so manufacturers tend to not add much. Awl-Grip clear is just an unpigmented version of Awl-Grip.

    The clears that do contain these additives are usually designed for application over a paint that would otherwise have poor UV durability, application difficulties and re-work problems, namely metallic paints. This is where clearcoats have real value in separating the different competing goals in application of metallic paint. If you spray nice and wet to get good gloss and leveling, then the metallic will look like garbage. If you spray dry enough to get the metallic particles to handle properly, you won't have much gloss. So you spray dry so that the metallic looks right, let the paint set up but not cure, and then spray a nice wet glossy coat of clear. Problem solved. Additionally, if you have to do any buffing right after you paint (runs and bugs happen :rolleyes: ) you can do so without wrecking the appearance of the metallic particles. This is also true years down the road if you want to buff to restore gloss to an aged finish. If you ever buff directly on the coating with metallic particles, you will inevitably screw it up and make it ugly. With a clearcoat applied, you are buffing clear instead.

    This is why the auto makers originally made the switch to base/clear years ago; everybody wanted metallic paint on everything. They now use base/clear on virtually all colors including solid colors, but this is for a different reasons such as uniformity of processing, strict VOC emission requirements and etc that you and I don't have to worry about.

    Jimbo
     
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