Need help with Steelflex issue

A general, non-powerplant specific, discussion on airboat technology, ie., hulls, rigging, polymer, etc..
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BigDaddyT
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Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Wed May 18, 2016 7:09 pm

I sanded on my hull many weekends to get as much of the frogspit off as I could as it was very thick in many areas. I thought that I had it worked down well so I went ahead and prepped the hull for the Steelflex by wiping down with Acetone several times. I applied the first gallon in white and waited about an hour then applied the second gallon in black. After it dried, I found several areas that looked like bubbles had worked their way to the surface and left a tiny hole. Frustrated, I purchase another gallon kit, sanded the surface with 80 grit and cleaned it 3 times with Acetone. I then applied the 3rd coat. It appeared to go on much better and much smoother. I waited for everything to dry and although it looks like glass in most areas, I have some spider cracks appearing. I have no idea what I am doing wrong. It was around 90 degrees on the day that I applied each coat if that makes any difference. My question is are these cracks a show stopper and do I need to redo the hull once again. They look much worse in the photo and you can barely feel them but it worries me that they are there. What's everyone opinion? That you for everyones advice.
SteelFlex cracking.jpg
Steelflex cracks
13' 6" Combee Hull with 472 Caddy. Whirlwind Whispertip 72" Prop

lariat
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by lariat » Wed May 18, 2016 8:49 pm

I don't have any info for you, but I am in the middle of re-doing a boat now, so I am very interested in the responses!

swamp_fever
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by swamp_fever » Thu May 19, 2016 8:01 pm

steel flex works best in thin applications thick applications seam to chip or crack when boat flexes

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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Thu May 19, 2016 8:05 pm

swamp_fever wrote:steel flex works best in thin applications thick applications seam to chip or crack when boat flexes
Thanks Swamp_Fever. If I had to guess, I might have gotten it on too thick but all the tech support at Fasco said to mix it up good and pour it on the hull and spread out. No mention of getting it really thin. Live and learn. Thanks for your help.
13' 6" Combee Hull with 472 Caddy. Whirlwind Whispertip 72" Prop

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Deano
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by Deano » Thu May 19, 2016 8:47 pm

Sorry to see you are having such complications. I don't have any answers because I haven't used this and had these issues. I do have a question though, that may or may not help someone more experienced offer some usable insight.

I know you did some glass work on the bottom. After that was done, did you re-apply gelcoat in areas where it may have been missing? In other words, was the entire hull covered with new and/or existing gelcoat? Or were there areas that were lacking gelcoat? If so, is there any correlation between those areas and where you are now seeing cracking?

I don't know if that is relevant or not. I have been told by different sources that either scenario is acceptable. :dontknow:
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jopete
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by jopete » Thu May 19, 2016 9:42 pm

on one of my skiffs i have put 3 or 4 coats of steelflex over the years. some of it is almost 3/4'' thick where i was filling in a hook in the hull.

when mine cracks up like that i just beat it with a hammer and a screwdriver and get off whatever didn't stick and redo it. if i had to do it again i would of put poly on the boat and been done with it.

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jopete
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by jopete » Thu May 19, 2016 9:42 pm

on one of my skiffs i have put 3 or 4 coats of steelflex over the years. some of it is almost 3/4'' thick where i was filling in a hook in the hull.

when mine cracks up like that i just beat it with a hammer and a screwdriver and get off whatever didn't stick and redo it. if i had to do it again i would of put poly on the boat and been done with it.

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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Fri May 20, 2016 6:42 am

Deano wrote:Sorry to see you are having such complications. I don't have any answers because I haven't used this and had these issues. I do have a question though, that may or may not help someone more experienced offer some usable insight.

I know you did some glass work on the bottom. After that was done, did you re-apply gelcoat in areas where it may have been missing? In other words, was the entire hull covered with new and/or existing gelcoat? Or were there areas that were lacking gelcoat? If so, is there any correlation between those areas and where you are now seeing cracking?

I don't know if that is relevant or not. I have been told by different sources that either scenario is acceptable. :dontknow:
Hey Deano

I did reapply gelcoat over the areas that were fiberglassed or sanded down to the point that raw fiberglass was showing but these areas don't correlate. My guess is that these areas were applied thicker than the other areas and maybe that caused the cracking. I think that I am going to go ahead and get the hull ready and load the rigging and engine (when I get it back) and try it out without doing anything else. It has been sitting for about a year now and I'm ready to ride..... Good talking to you. Call me when you have a free moment.

Tom
13' 6" Combee Hull with 472 Caddy. Whirlwind Whispertip 72" Prop

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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Fri May 20, 2016 6:45 am

jopete wrote:on one of my skiffs i have put 3 or 4 coats of steelflex over the years. some of it is almost 3/4'' thick where i was filling in a hook in the hull.

when mine cracks up like that i just beat it with a hammer and a screwdriver and get off whatever didn't stick and redo it. if i had to do it again i would of put poly on the boat and been done with it.
I think that I am going to run it like it is as it has 3 coats of Steelflex on it now. We'll see what comes off the first couple of runs and see where to go from there. I'm just tired of working on it and want to ride. Thanks for your help Jopete.
13' 6" Combee Hull with 472 Caddy. Whirlwind Whispertip 72" Prop

Gary S
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by Gary S » Fri May 20, 2016 7:47 am

Only thing I see is the 80 grit. Thats pretty light. Next time you might want to use 36 grit. It gives it something to bite to.I don't see this causing the problem you have.

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Deano
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by Deano » Fri May 20, 2016 9:10 am

It makes me much more comfortable knowing that you have a contiguous layer of gelcoat under what you have.

It may very well not be necessary, but I think I would take a Dremel or something similar and route out those bigger cracks just enough to get through it and leave a bit of a taper on each side. Then reapply a Band-Aid, so to speak to bridge the gap. Hopefully, doing so would help prevent water getting forced into the crack and prying off anywhere that the adhesion my be lacking.

If nothing else, it would help prolong the time before that happens if not prevent that occurrence all together.
Last edited by Deano on Fri May 20, 2016 9:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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kwanjangnihm
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by kwanjangnihm » Fri May 20, 2016 9:10 am

John Fenner wrote:Have no problems with steelflex 2000 on any substrate with proper preparation and application. 36 grit on a 7" sander to rough up bottom and remove any and all applications of bottom paint, on a glass hull, stop at gel coat, mask off water line or preferred line, mix both parts well with pigment using a drill and a paint mixing paddle to whip it into a good mixture, pour a wide stripe from transom forward but not past rake as it will run off, using a short mohair roller on an extension pole roll paint in all directions for even coverage, once it is evened out finish rolling front to rear in full runs overlapping and let stand in direct sunlight for 2 hours, best if hull is already hot before applying. You can load it on trailer by evening as once it cools it is hard as a whores heart.
it is hard as a whores heart :toothy7:
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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Fri May 20, 2016 2:40 pm

Gary S wrote:Only thing I see is the 80 grit. Thats pretty light. Next time you might want to use 36 grit. It gives it something to bite to.I don't see this causing the problem you have.
Thanks Gary. I'll try that next time I apply it. Hopefully not for a while... :D
13' 6" Combee Hull with 472 Caddy. Whirlwind Whispertip 72" Prop

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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Fri May 20, 2016 2:44 pm

kwanjangnihm wrote:
John Fenner wrote:Have no problems with steelflex 2000 on any substrate with proper preparation and application. 36 grit on a 7" sander to rough up bottom and remove any and all applications of bottom paint, on a glass hull, stop at gel coat, mask off water line or preferred line, mix both parts well with pigment using a drill and a paint mixing paddle to whip it into a good mixture, pour a wide stripe from transom forward but not past rake as it will run off, using a short mohair roller on an extension pole roll paint in all directions for even coverage, once it is evened out finish rolling front to rear in full runs overlapping and let stand in direct sunlight for 2 hours, best if hull is already hot before applying. You can load it on trailer by evening as once it cools it is hard as a whores heart.
it is hard as a whores heart :toothy7:
That's some funny shit right there.....
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by airjohn81 » Fri May 20, 2016 3:18 pm

definitely need 36-40 grit for it to stick properly !!!! my 2 pennies
:old_glory: :florida: :rebel:

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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Fri May 20, 2016 3:31 pm

airjohn81 wrote:definitely need 36-40 grit for it to stick properly !!!! my 2 pennies
:old_glory: :florida: :rebel:
Thanks for the info Airjohn. I have learned my lesson for next time. :banghead:
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BigDaddyT
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Re: Need help with Steelflex issue

Post by BigDaddyT » Fri May 20, 2016 3:34 pm

Deano wrote:It makes me much more comfortable knowing that you have a contiguous layer of gelcoat under what you have.

It may very well not be necessary, but I think I would take a Dremel or something similar and route out those bigger cracks just enough to get through it and leave a bit of a taper on each side. Then reapply a Band-Aid, so to speak to bridge the gap. Hopefully, doing so would help prevent water getting forced into the crack and prying off anywhere that the adhesion my be lacking.

If nothing else, it would help prolong the time before that happens if not prevent that occurrence all together.
I'll try that Deano. Hopefully it shouldn't take too long and I can get the rest of the work done to get it in the water before summers end....
13' 6" Combee Hull with 472 Caddy. Whirlwind Whispertip 72" Prop

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