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Frosted Isinglass Repair - Test & Review

MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭

OK gang.  This weekend I put my arms to work.  With the 210 Plastic Scratch Remover and a buffer in hand, I attempted to fix the frosted parts of my Isinglass. Due to condensation on the isinglass on cold mornings, the plastic has become frosted, and is difficult to see out of. Unfortunately the Isinglass ahead of the helm is the worst affected.  Here is a before picture - pretty bad, eh?

 Boat Isinglass Before photo 20140511_171415_resized_zpsfe550cda.jpg

I at first spread the 210 cream with a cloth over the affected areas and then dried with a buffer, as per the instructions. It was really difficult to get ahead of the game. It seemed that once the 210 had dried, it was difficult to get it off with the buffer, like it was stuck on.  It was as if there was a 30 second window where the cream went from polishable to dried and stuck on.  And it was only in that final 30 seconds that the cream seemed to dig in and do the necessary polishing.  Trying to do big areas at a time was not a good idea, because of this.  So I started with small droplet sized dabs, and polishing areas around 6" in diameter.  I started making some ground.  I had to redo areas three to four times before I stopped seeing improvements. 

I then used the 210 Plastic Cleaner, spraying a small bit and again polishing perhaps a 12" area to finish it as best I could.  Here is the result, a picture of the same area.  This is after over 1 hour of polishing. 

Boat Isinglass After photo 20140511_184243_resized_zps5387ad09.jpg

Not the result I hoped for, but much better. This picture is really of the area worst affected.  Here is a picture of a broader area:

Boat Isinglass After photo 20140511_184215_resized_zps6c2e4707.jpg

It seems that it is difficult/impossible to get back to a clear view, but cosmetically the 210 product does improve things. Also it seems that it works well on areas that have not been damaged extensively (see right side of last photo).  I would think it would help preserve the canvas if tarnishes are dealt with immediately, as opposed to left to sit for several months years (as I did).

Boat Name: King Kong

"Boat + Water = Fun"

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    frenchshipfrenchship Member Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭
    Mine came out really good with the Novus system with a hand held electric drill and a 6 inches buffer The system use 3 different compound from coarse to fine. Bit it is a long process and lot of cleaning between the different compound and pads. But I was able to save almost all my plastic window. I did replace the 3 front windows.
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    It is a process, been there too with my original top. Once it is etched / UV damaged I think you are just in damage control mode with the compounding. I managed to add 2 seasons before I just replaced the whole top (it was due). I now try to stay ahead of the problem with protective polishes / sprays. I moved to Strataglas and it seems to hold up way better.

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭
    The crappy thing is that the canvas was only used 2 seasons. I would have expected it to last longer.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Ohhh that sucks!  Mine had that same etched/frosty look.  I got about 6 seasons out of my OEM canvas, the eisenglass was getting pretty bad. Is it worse on the inside or outward facing of the eisenglass?  Mine was actually worse inside, which I found odd.  A small electric heater in the cockpit and set low can help prevent the condensation too on the cool evenings.  I believe there are varying grades of eisenglass too, so some better than others.

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    Capt RonCapt Ron Member Posts: 217 ✭✭✭
    Mine came brand new with fogged plastic... Rinker came good and I had a new ones installed... Eisenglass doesn't like sun and doesn't last long. Start from new and being religious on keeping clean will help to make it last longer, however, if your boat is in the sun, you will at some point have to replace it. I think you are at that point now. I wouldn't waste anymore time and money on yours...Replace them.
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    aero3113aero3113 Member Posts: 8,930 ✭✭✭✭✭
    My front windows were the same. I dealt with them last season but this season I had them replaced. It was $275 to have the front 3 panels replaced for my 242.
    2008 330EC
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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2014
    Do you guys leave the eisenglass up all season? I only use the "camper canvas" during the cooler months and if there's a bunch of rain when we are on the lake.

    I'd be pretty pi$$ed if my plastic looked like that after only a couple years of intermittent use.
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Make the upgrade to strataglass, you can get it that will roll to store. Even get ot tinted :)

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭

    Joe, mine is at the marina, in full sun all season long May - October. I bought my boat new. Problem started last year, I used the 210 cleaner, but this year when I got my boat back it was pretty bad. The 210 polish worked a bit, but it's not the best.

    The cost isn't the biggest issue, and yes if there's a more robust option out there like strataglass I'd do it. The problem is timing. Because my boat is exposed, I need to take the canvas off to get it fixed, leaving the cockpit exposed to rain.  I might be able to get a fast turn around, but I'd imagine it still would take a couple of days to get something back.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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    JoeStangJoeStang Member Posts: 1,122 ✭✭✭✭
    I know its easy for me to say (having a smaller 276), but wouldnt using a cockpit/mooring cover be better than that much UV abuse with the camper package for the entire season?

    I've gotten pretty good at removing my cover, and it gives me peace of mind knowing its more water, UV, and wind resistant than the clear panels. I use my boat a lot too (55 hours last season), so I'm taking it on & off quite often. I also cant imagine how hot the cockpit would be in the middle of July with the eisenglass up. Do you unzip or flip it out of the way in that case?

    Not trying to tell you how to boat, just throwing it out there. :)
    2013 276 Cuddy ~ 350 MAG / B3
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    Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Hey Joe, we all appreciate advice - just like yours! :-) MT
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    Michael TMichael T Member Posts: 7,227 ✭✭✭✭✭
    For What It May be Worth: Last spring we were moored overnight at a canal lock. It had been cool overnight and there was lots of condensation on my eisen/strata glass. I was wiping it off. On old guy who had moored a really old but in great shape Regal was walking by and said that's a good idea. I said  yeah, I don't want the condensation to drip on my electronics. He said Oh, I take it off so when the sun comes up it doesn't cook the water droplets on the glass and ruin it over time. It was my first year with a cruiser and I thought he was just having fun with me. He said, the water droplets act as mini magnifying glasses and cook the "glass". If it happens too much you'll never get the marks off. If he was kidding me he must still be laughing because I now get that condensation off whenever I can! MT.
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭
    On my 342, it would be a time disaster taking up/down my camper canvas to use a cockpit cover. I have screens or just open it up to cool it off, plus I used tinted strataglas and it really cuts down on the heat/UV too.

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    TikiHut2TikiHut2 Member Posts: 1,431 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited May 2014
    Hey Mark, Thanks for the good work on an objective test. Sorry it did'nt fix the issue but it looks far better.

    I do what Joe recommended thanks to the insight of our boats former owner who purchased a full compliment of versatile canvas covers including side skirts, a complete camper canvas and separate transport/cockpit cover. Each has their place as a tool on the boat.

    I use the sunbrella cockpit/transport cover when the boat's in storage or unused for more than a few days and when we're aboard I'll simply zip on the Eisenglass if the weather truly demands it. It doesn't really take long and my Eisenglass is 11yrs old and looks fine with the exception of the aft panel that is just starting to fog a bit. Actually my zippers broke down before the Eisenglass and sunbrella, so I had the zippers replaced last year and I'm good for a few more years at least. I'm careful with storing it dry and rolling it effectively which isn't too tough on a boat our size.

    It might not just be the moisture causing the window panels hasty demise, pollutants/dirt/soot/acidity in todays rainwater are probably causing the vinyl panels to age prematurely with such long exposure. No doubt, full sun for an entire summer would have cooked mine long ago.

    Someone here once joked that if you want your Eisenglass to last forever you should just leave it stowed below...... There's a grain of truth in that. Sun/rain/pollution/mineral deposits are killing it slowly(sometimes faster)  and it's just a matter of exposure time. Good maintenance and prudent use will prolong it's life considerably.

    Stratagla$$ is awesome stuff. I've seen Cptn Tonys 342 and it looks great.

    Have a great season, Mike
    Post edited by TikiHut2 on
    2004 FV270, 300hp 5.7 350mag MPI Merc 305hrs, 2:20 Bravo3 OD w.22p props, 12v Lenco tabs, Kohler 5kw genset, A/C, etc.etc...
    Regular weekender, Trailer stored indoors, M/V TikiHut, Sarasota, Fl
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    Black_DiamondBlack_Diamond Member Posts: 5,439 ✭✭✭✭✭

    'Eisenglass' is really just clear vinyl sheet and has nothing to stop UV/acid rain and other environmentals.  Benefit is it rolls well.  I went with the thinner Strataglass, it is flexible, stiff at cool temps and much softer at warm temps.  With either product, you have to be carefull about rolling/contact at warm temps or you can impression it (gets distortion) from the contact.  The Strataglass  is coated to help with the environmentals..mine is 5+ season old now, sits in full sun from May-Sept and looks like new.  I polish it with the recommended cleaners/protectants and I also made a slip cover for each piece of the panels, so when I take them off they are protected.  OK a bit compulsive, but keeps it looking nice! :)  I'll try to get some pics once I have it all back on the boat..still in storage here for another week or so.

    I rarely take all the panels off as I have zip in screens too, otherwise the little blood suckers come after you at night and minimizes the roaming horsefly that loves dark colors I seem to attract in the day.  Those buggers hurt!

    Past owner of a 2003 342FV
    PC BYC, Holland, MI
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Well I decided to replace the eisenglass on the starboard side. I found a shop by my marina who does it, who happens to have an off cut sheet that is just big enough to do it. So provided it doesn't rain tomorrow it will be done (don't want to take it off my boat unless it's a clear day). The center panel has some minor tarnishing and the port side is in very good shape. I might try and use some more elbow grease on the center panel this weekend to get it better. Should be much better by the weekend.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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    frenchshipfrenchship Member Posts: 1,079 ✭✭✭
    Give the product made by Novus a try I think you will like it
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    MarkBMarkB Member Posts: 3,969 ✭✭✭✭✭
    I got the is in glass replaced in front of the helm. We also cleaned up the center window a bit. So it looks pretty good now, and my main view window is brand new, which is the most important thing.

    Boat Name: King Kong

    "Boat + Water = Fun"

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