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  1. #1
    bowsniper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    Painting a jetski

    Warning, long post! lol

    I'd like to start a thread where everyones input from thier own experiences on painting your skis. Using Gelcoats , Car paint,other types like awl grip or bottom paint like vc-17.

    Theres many things that need to be done way before you grab the gun. Using a rubber eraser wheel will take off the stickers first. 3-m makes them. works awesome. Use a rub out wheel when using it at 3000 rpm's!. a drill is too slow. won't work. Costs about 25.00 for the setup. Well worth it. Saves you hours n hours of back breaking work. Trust me.

    Then buy adhesive remover to get rid of all residue. 12/can. Goop gone works ok but just buy sunnyside adhesive remover and it works perfect.

    If you don't remove this sticky residue. it will clog your sand paper. cost you$$$$ in paper. Remove rub rails or tape them off, or take them off n re revit it later on. Remove seat and use aluminum foil to cover everything in the engine bay.scrunch it around the engine to prevent overspray. it works great! dont tear it. thick stuff. Remove battery.

    Tape off whatever is not going to be painted. take stuff off where you can. remove hood, hardware, tape off carefully. Use great care in bright light when taping, if not you could have a booboo later on and miss something or leave something overtaped instead,. doh!

    Always use polyester bondo or durglass for the topside. theres tons of different stuff out there, so ask your local whoever. all about the same.

    Underwater, you should use VINYL ESTER 3-m putty or west system epoxy with filler . thats made for underwater use .

    Should have a grindwheel of some sort for gouges and scraps and pits or holes. Always flare your holes or scratches in a way that they are tapered after your done. leave them rough with 80 grit for filling. block areas with a piece of wood with sandpaper on it to sand stuff flat. dont finger fu&*&* it and make a hole in the repair..

    ALL bodywork must be primed well to hide everything or else you will see it when finished. Sanded body work with no primer looks different than a panel with primer on it after sanding.

    Use high quality blue 3-m tape for intricate lines. Use blue masking tape for all other tape off.

    Have many types of sandpaper around to do work. 60 for rough stuff, along with 80,150,220,320. I dont go above 320. I lay the paint on thick enough to cover everything,. usually 4 coats base, 4 coats clear in a BC/CC system.

    Painting---when all sanded down in progressive grits.. ie..150 for everything, 80 for scratches, then fill problems and sand everything with 150 till smooth n flat, then 220 everything, check for body work with a bright light at this stage, you can go back n fix little stuff at this point.

    Spot putty should be used for pin holes and stubborn little stuff. dries super fast! sands easy too.

    Then 320 everything. done. Phew! 30 hours ok . blow out the shed or garage your gonna paint in and hold your breath, what a mess.

    After multiple times of blowing everything off the ski in the cracks, engine area and whatnot-- it should be pretty clean now. Let area rest to calm everything down.

    Come back next day. wipe down ski carefully with wash prep for painting. use clean towels, lint free! and wipe down till super clean. 3 or 4 times worth.

    Use a tack cloth a couple times before you actually start painting to get rid of any small residue left from airborne containminats.

    Mix paint according to the instructions. Use screen for the paint and always mix thoroughly to get the metallic to suspend and mix evenly. Not to mention just get the hardener to mix completly into the paint.

    Only mix enough to to fill the gun maybe 1 - 1.5 times. thats it.

    Adjust pressure and practice spraying outside on some cardboard first before you point it at the hull! it may sputter!.

    When happy with spray pattern and speed of air and pressure, start spraying!

    I like to start at the front and get a rythum going when spraying. kinda getting into the zone if ya will. lol then I dont stop till the gun is empty.

    Start with thin coats. it will look goofy. but dont worry about that. let it tack up about 10-15 mins depending on temp outside, the hotter the quicker u can re-coat. Second coat should be that last 1/2 cup left you mixed. this will ensure your using only half the paint you did the first time around. It will prevent you from running it hopefully!

    Oh yeah, NO RUNSSSSSSSSSSSSS are u listening? NO RUNSSSSSSSS!!!!!

    no runs please......... It's such a pita when that happens. the paint builds and gets dark there. Be patient!!!! I cant stress this enuf.. Be patient

    By the third coat, you will see it all going smooth when shooting it. It's neat to watch it flow out to clear glass. When ya get it like that. dont go any slower or else it will run on ya. just enough to make it go smooth, then move one. even if ya miss a spot, dont worry about it. youll get it the next round!. Be patient. The temptation to go back n get that will be great. resist! just smile n continue.i'll get ya! lol be patient.!

    By the forth coat, you should be covering glass over glass by now. If you see mistakes, theres nothing you can do at this point except to sand things out.

    If you choose that route, it will have to wait a day before you sand and re-spray. some paint require you to resand the entire hull again. so no mistakes or runs!! You'll need another qt of paint too. ha ha ha,, mo $$$$ No runs!!

    Then the clear... I usually wait about 45 minites after the base coat before i start with the clear. That way all the voc solvents can vent from the surface preventing solvent pop later on.. (thats little bubbles in the paint after. feels like sandpaper kinda thru the paint.).

    Then the clear, same routine. although this time as the paint is smooth and has filled everything up pretty much, you will be able to spray it flat n smooth way easier this time!

    Be careful when spray the coats as to not put too much in a hurry to make it look good or you will pay for that later. it will sag. SINCE THE SURFACE IS LIKE GLASS NOW, IT WILL RUN EASILY!!!! BE PATIENT!!
    Be patient! Just smile as you go knowing its looking

    Just 2 light coats first. THEN WAIT 20 MINS FOR IT TO DRY! then the 3 should be total glass pretty much. and the forth for sure.! Congrats! but your not done yet!. This routine may take a couple hours so bring a beer with ya. keep it away from the ski too. dont set it down next to ya. you'll end up kicking it and splashing beer on the paint job..

    Immediately clean your gun and everything. stay away from the paint job
    lock the door and go away. let things settle down. noone is to look, touch, breath on it for hours, STAY away from it. Don't touch it either. I know you'll want too.. lol KEEP YOUR FRIENDS AWAY, BETTER YET, DONT INVITE ANYONE OVER! TRUST ME, I KNOW.. thats another ask me

    When it's dry.. about an hour,, come back and check it out. should have gone smooth by now all shiny. be very careful untaping things. if it looks wet or tacky , wait a while to pull the tape.

    Theres many types of paint to use for painting, 1-part,2-part, urethane, acrylic-enamels,enamels,ete,, so do some reading on what n who first.. Paint varies in pricey wildly. Buying a gallon is cheper than a quart sometimes. esspecially if you run short and have to buy another quart or pint, the pint they really get ya youll need more hardener too. and youll end up buying enough for a gallon or qt because they dont sell it that small quantity.!. they stick you on the pint price.. figure 200.00 for 2 quarts plus the hardener and thinner and cleaner.

    although you can buy a gallon for 180.00!

    Some are 50/gallon if you like. that works too..

    I would not reccommend paint on the bottom except for awl-grip or gelcoat on the bottom of the hull. They are waterproof and made for the bottom. they both can be sanded flat and polished like paint but way tougher against the marine envirement.

    Spraying gelcoat is very diffulcult and ruins the gun pretty much. it flashes off in minutes and needs lots of acetone for cleanup. Pm me if you need help with that.

    These are just some of the variables and things you'll encounter when painting. Hope I helped someone here out. I have a lot of experience with this, so if you need help. just ask and I'll be happy to help you out.

    I know I didnt cover everything. so add it on! lol

    Compressor should be fat. 5 hp or better. you can use a harbor freight cheap gun too!. 10.00 throw away. sprays great. cheap and dispoable. you dont need a divilbiss 500.00 gun thats crazy,lol you can wet sand any paint job and get awesome results,

    After the paint is dry, you can chose to wetsand it and wheel it out and really made it look awesome and forever shiny!/

    Sand all flat areas with 1500 grit. leave the edges undone. You need the protection from the sun n sand anyways, Then use finesse -it on a wool pad buffer and shine it up with that. then polish with carnuba wax to finish, you can even wheel that on too. it will really get the luster going out of the paint then, Wow. what a shine! loooks awesome. like glass!. where the pics/? lol

    The 94 tigershark below is BC/CC 4 coats orange, 4 coats clear, unsanded in the pics. He decided it look good enough to not wetsand it flat. Because he could If he wanted too. Thats why you leave 4 coats on. 2 to sand off in wetsanding.. Took about 2 hours to paint it 8 times. 15 mins each. 72 outside , medium -light humidity. Partly sunny. Perect conditions. Too humid will cause the paint to get foggy n trap moisture. it will never shine.

    I forgot a couple tips when spraying. Be VERY aware of where the hose is as you go around the ski. it can rub up against newly painted areas by mistake if not watching.

    The other thing is, overlap your strokes by half. spray into the paint so to speak but not too crazy of an angle as to to throw overspray onto the smooth area. just takes practice.

    I put the hose over my shoulder when spraying myself. I know exactly where it is at all times.

    Also>>>Biggie, Make sure--(i know youll be thinking, i checked that already)--- that the lid is on tight- the air cap on top is vented slightly, not stuck with paint, if it clogs, it will spray funny from the suction.
    And,, watch the nozzle cap for DRIPPING of paint coming off the thing. It shouldn't really happen, but sh&*&*&* happens and it does. It will drip a huge drop of water(condesation from the paint n gun temps condesating on each other. Or, A big drop of paint will accumalate there and while your spraying, it will fall off onto the paint job! OUCH! if it does, don't blow on it or touch it, let it be and see if it flows out when dry. The wetsand, fix if possible.

    Wetsanding after painting is hard work. You must be very aware of what your doing and not just sanding like a maniac. deliberate strokes and even strokes one area at a time. If your experienced with a wheel and your great at it, you can wet sand everything.

    If your a rookie, or beginner or just scared... just do the flat areas. curves could make the wheel get caught and bounce around the ski wrecking it! I got a story about that too! lol

    Use 2000 grit with soap n water and gently sand . you will see it go foggy. thats a good thing, if u go too far your orange color will look reddish and that means you burned thru the clear, no good, you ruined it,lol

    Just sand lightly and buff lightly. you can always do more if necessary.

    I use 1500 or a 1000 but thats me... I'd stick with 1500 or 2000. 1500 cuts twice as fast as 2000 so be careful. Have fun ,look good!

    So basically it goes like this

    paint. 140.0 includes paint, hardener,thinner
    tape 15.00 fine line and blue tape
    adhesive remover-12.00
    gun 10.00
    sandpaper- 60-1,,80-1,150-4,220-3,320-2 to start. 20.00
    spot putty.5.00
    finesse it.35/qt
    wool pad-buff it pad-15.00
    lint free microfiber cloth-5.00
    tack cloth.5.00
    thinner for gun n clean up-10.00
    Total --307.00

    Everyone always says, oh I can paint that for a hundred! lol. yeah right.
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    Last edited by bowsniper; 03-03-2010 at 06:28 PM.

  2. #2
    rustyrider's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    wilmington, NC

    Here are some pics of my finished paintjob. Good info! I wish i knew about that rubber sticker removal wheel!!!!!!! would have saved soooooooo much time!

  3. #3
    bowsniper's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    +1 on the paint job! Awesome job. I guess you know what I'm talking abou then huh! lol I know the work involved to get it to look like that. If you don't touch it, it doesn't get done.!

  4. #4
    2000slx1200's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    North Carolina
    amazing paint job looks great I cant wait till I do my 2000 slx next winter

  5. #5
    Moderator RX951's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    San Antonio, Texas
    great writeup and reading!

  6. #6
    rlharrison60's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Orange, Texas
    Looks like you covered everything. Great write up.

  7. #7
    btldigger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    lebanon tn.
    Nice writeup I would loved to have seen that 2 years ago when I did mine.

    Prep cant be stressed enough especially with dark colors. Misting the surface with a primer and then using a block or long board helps find the low spots. That is real helpfull when truing the bottom of a ski.

    Here are a few pics of mine, I know it isnt a polaris but thought I would share the process. This was done with brightside by interlux, it is a marine urethane paint. The bottom is paint only wetsanded and buffed. The top got 8 base coats then 4 clear. Then got wetsanded for the airbrush and 4 more clears to finish it. The clear was a high solids urethane clear. Most of the base was shot below 45 deg lowest was 39. That made for some long tack times.
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  8. #8
    bowsniper's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Thanks! I really like the natural flames on there. wish I could use a air-brush like that.. Did you do the flames?

  9. #9
    btldigger's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    lebanon tn.
    Wish I could do flames like that but it wasnt me. All the aibrush work was done by George Williams @ visual edge. The graphics and hull numbers are all done with paint too so there is no decals. I just did all the base and clear.

  10. #10
    Makesumwake's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Miami, FL
    Quote Originally Posted by rustyrider View Post

    Here are some pics of my finished paintjob. Good info! I wish i knew about that rubber sticker removal wheel!!!!!!! would have saved soooooooo much time!

    or what i find easier is to just use a heat gun, warm them up good, and the stickers come right off no problem.

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