Boat Refinishing

How-to Article David Conty



Some good tips on refinishing an old hull...






Step_01_Stripping_sm.jpgGetting into this hobby is NOT cheap, by any means. You can get started on a budget, but it takes longer than buying a ready-to-run (RTR) or almost-ready-to-run (ARTR) used boat. The upside on building it yourself is that you know exactly how it works and will be able to fix your boat when it breaks.


I purchased my 41" Dumas Scarab Deep Vee from another member on Jim's R/C Boat Dock through the for sale postings. I was lucky that the seller was only a short drive away so after a few e-mails and phone calls I picked it up for $80. The boat came painted black with a hand-painted scalloped flame job. It also had a section cut out of the transom for a tuned pipe exit.



I initially tried to sand off the old paint but after 30 minutes of elbow grease and sweat to barely sand any paint off I decided to pursue better living through chemistry. After and exhaustive Internet search I found a few products that supposedly stripped paint from fiberglass without harming the gel coat. One was an automotive product but you had to invest $40 for 1 gallon of product (remember this is on a budget). I was able to find Interlux: Interstrip 299E at a local Boater's World for $14.99 per quart. After removing the grab rails I was ready TO STRIP




I used a brush to spread the Interstrip liberally on the hull and waited 10-15 minutes later the top layer of paint bubbled up nicely and I took a scraper to it. It took a 2-3 applications to get through all the paint and primer.




I took this opportunity to repair the section removed from the transom and all the previous mounting holes.



The quality control cat gave it the once over and a stamp of approval. I ordered a radar bar from Dumas at a cost of $20.


I decided to paint the boat a-la Det. Sonny Crockett's Scarab from Miami Vice. The gel coat was sanded to provide a good scratch-coat for the Automotive Duplicolor Light Gray Primer to stick to. Duplicolor was also used for the black and touches of purple. All the Duplicolor came from a local auto parts chain that was going out of business ….. cost $1.50 can. The Miami Blue is actually Coverite #8109 Light Blue/Hi-Gloss $6.99 from the R/C Plane section of a local hobby shop.

This is the boat as it sits today. The subfreezing temps here in Virginia and my lack of a garage/workshop have forced me to put a hold on the finish work until I can get out on the patio again. I am thinking of taking it to a local auto body shop and pay them to clear coat the hull.






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