Painting for boat builders comes somewhere at the end of all that fun construction work and can show it off or be a big pain in the backside. In custom building, most of the time we are applying filler and primer as we construct but the final topcoats are hopefully the show piece to all this hard work.
What to use???
Two pack marine paint choices are as wide varied as the alcohol we drink at the end of the work day (Jim Beam by the way for any sponsorship deals) but back to paints, supply is a big concern. If you want to use a certain brand and can’t get it due to no dealers in your area forget about it. These days most stuff is available everywhere, so what to use?
I have used and tried most marine polyurethane 2 pack paints and price per mixed liter varies alot, but and here comes the but, the labour time and finish are a big difference.
We had used Alexseal paints a few years ago but with the price crunch (GFC) we tried all the competitors and used all the well priced and cheap marine polyurethanes with mixed success.
Coverage, gloss level, longevity were all a concern with these well priced (cheap) paints but we still were not impressed, so we went back to Alexseal for the latest paint job and are more than happy that we did.
The job was a small sailboat, moulded fiberglass with badly aged and run down gelcoat and partly primed. We started by rubbing down the surface with 60 grit paper on Rupes orbital sanders and repairing all problem areas with microballoons in West system epoxy resin.
Time for Alexseal.
Alexseal Super Build Primer 302 is some pretty amazing stuff. That’s boat builders talk for a product that actually performs like the paint reps tell us. I used a 2.2 mm fluid tip on a Graco gun with a Divilbiss pressure pot and as per product specs easily laid 350 microns wet per coat on the job. Two coats later with about 2 hours flash-off time between we had more primer on the job than about 4 coats of high build primer of other paint brands. With no sink back. 1:1mix with about 20% thinner, easy. 120 grit shortboard, so thick, minimal rub through, cuts easily, only fine filling needed.
The 302 is a product that lets you fill and fair with a spray coat unlike no other. I want to buy shares in this product, really, it’s that good! 120 grit on a torture board and you can get rid of so many bumps it saves you so many labour hours its worth the price tag. Price yes, but here we are again you get what you pay for. So far loving this stuff again!!!!!
Next the final primer, Alexseal 442. 1.8mm tip,25% thinner, Graco gun with gravity pot setup. PPS cups from 3M. 55-60 PSI air. Like a satin finish, 2 coats, flash off time good. Sanding this with 320 grit. Blocks & boards, 6“ air sander finish, wash & tack cloth clean. Up to this stage the products have been massive labour saving.
Alexseal 501 polyurethane Matterhorn White 1:1 mix like all the primers, this makes easy mixing. I used a 1.4 mm fluid tip on a Graco gun with gravity pot setup. PPS cups from 3M. 55-60 PSI air
37.5% slow thinners to mixed paint. The topcoat laid so wet and so thick it scared the hell out of me but the paint rep said more, more, more and it hung on the job with the gloss and thickness as promised. About an hour later, second coat just like the first and the job looked even better. Using the slow thinners, the next day we came back to the shed and I’m sure the paint had flowed out even more.
We left the job sit for a couple of days before masking up for stripes. Very little detail work to do but being true polyurethane, any dust and imperfections (runs) can easily be sanded and buffed out.
Let’s get down to the final verdict, Price………honestly scares the hell out of Joe boat owner doing his own paintwork, but for us as a boat building company and after doing the numbers from product used per square meter to the cost savings on labour and the final result it’s a no brainer. The gloss level and the longevity are the main concerns from the customer, so this is why we will keep on using Alexseal paints.
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