Another week and more progress on the Project Gemini build! This week we received the boat from paint, if you are looking to save yourself some money when getting your boat painted the preparation is what takes the most time for the paint, so why not do it yourself?
The first thing you will want to do is decide if you are getting new carpet or not, if you are remove the carpet, once the carpet is removed you will then move to removing the doors. The doors on the boat will be covered either by carpet or a bed liner depending on the route you wish to go so there is no need for therm to be on the boat while it is being painted. Getting paint under the hinges and in the water channels will be much easier with the doors removed as well.
Next up is the rough up the gel coat/fiberglass. You will want to start this by stripping the wax and oils from the hull, you can get stripper from most hardware stores though I personally use Dawn Dish Soap after my mother stripped through the wax AND gel coat on the Gemini years ago, but that is another story in itself. Once you hit it with the stripper you then want to follow with isopropyl alcohol to ensure all of the residues are removed from the boat, these residues may gum up your sand paper.
Once the hull is nice and clean we then used 100 grit sand paper to rough up the hull, followed by 120, then finished off with 150. Many people use 80 grit but I personally find that to be too course. Once you sand over the entire paintable surface your will then follow up with more isopropyl alcohol before applying the primer.
When painting fiberglass cars in the past we have used a product known as Feather Fill, this product is a sandable primer that will actually build up and fill some of the small imperfections in the fiberglass. I will note that on our project we did NOT use it to show what can happen if this is not done. I HIGHLY recommend the Feather Fill because it will show you in the imperfections it did not fill, those imperfections will need to be fixed with fiberglass resin.
From there is a matter of either painting the boat yourself or sending it off! These steps could save you as much as $2,000 in shop time, you will figure out why once you complete the prep work.