Good buffing wheel

Collapse
X
 
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • Good buffing wheel

    Normally I just use old fashioned elbow grease to compound, wax and polish but this year I opted to try out an el cheapo buffer from harbor freight. It did a poor job and I ended up doing most of the boat the old fashioned way..

    Looking for recommendations for a buffing/polishing wheel if anyone has one

  • #2
    Good results when buffing depends on a few things you can control, plus some that you just need to live with.

    Not all Gel coats are created equal, nor are they all applied correctly when sprayed in the mold. So in some cases you may never regain the desired gloss. Those are the things you need to live with.

    Some gel coats, and frequently it’s the more expensive and better weathering gel coats, may be more difficult to buff and bring back the gloss. While some lower cost and less complicated products don’t weather as well, but can be buffed to look almost like new.

    To start, the HF buffet will probably work good enough, for the price and how often you’ll use it, paying more for something better may not be needed. (Now on the TOS you would be told the most expensive buffer made is the “only” one that can be used successfully)

    If you want a great finish, you’ll need a couple of wool buffing pads, plus some foam pads for the final polish. There are so many buffing pads out there now it’s hard to keep track of them. But really, HF stuff will normally get it done. Get the hook and loop pads, it makes it much easier to switch them.

    You need to keep the pads clean, you can use a spur designed for this, or an old screwdriver.

    Always start with the least agressive product or method first. On a 1’x1’ or so area, try a fine polish on a foam pad, if this gives the desired result you know what it’ll take. If that doesn’t get through the faded or chalky surface then try a faster cut (coarser) compound and a wool pad. A word of caution, there are some very coarse compounds that can leave scratches that can be difficult to remove. So by just staying in this one small area to test your results you won’t create a mess that requires a total re-do of the job.

    If the slighly coarser compound works, then you can go back over this with the fine polish and a foam pad. If the results are what you want there’s no need for the foam pad, but it normally yields a higher gloss.

    If none of the buffing helps, then you may need to sand the surface. This isn’t fun, but may be required.

    I’m lazy and never wet sand unless I absolutely have to, so I normally use start with 1000 grit on a DA or similar sander. Again, just do a small area. You should be able to buff out 1000 grit scratches, but as I said before, gel coats can be very different, on one you may be able to buff out 600 grit, on the next one you may need to use 1,200.

    If 1000 doesn’t do it you can try 800, but this should do it, you don’t want to risk sanding through the gel coat.

    Now you need to go back through all the sanding and buffing steps to see if it looks like you want it too.

    Buffing compounds frequently contain waxes and oils that will hide some of the surface imperfections. These tend to go away over time, so if the glossy surface goes away in a couple of months this may be the problem.

    It means you may need to do more sanding with finer grits to create a better surface before buffing.

    If none of this works it may mean that nothing will work, or you may need to find someone to do it for you.

    Last edited by ondarvr; 10-31-2019, 03:43 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Good read/instructions.
      Small town S. W. Ga./St. James Fl.

      Comment


      • #4
        I’ve been using a Shurhold buffer for 5-6 years now and it has held up well.

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by ondarvr View Post
          Good results when buffing depends on a few things you can control, plus some that you just need to live with.

          Not all Gel coats are created equal, nor are they all applied correctly when sprayed in the mold. So in some cases you may never regain the desired gloss. Those are the things you need to live with.

          Some gel coats, and frequently it’s the more expensive and better weathering gel coats, may be more difficult to buff and bring back the gloss. While some lower cost and less complicated products don’t weather as well, but can be buffed to look almost like new.

          To start, the HF buffet will probably work good enough, for the price and how often you’ll use it, paying more for something better may not be needed. (Now on the TOS you would be told the most expensive buffer made is the “only” one that can be used successfully)

          If you want a great finish, you’ll need a couple of wool buffing pads, plus some foam pads for the final polish. There are so many buffing pads out there now it’s hard to keep track of them. But really, HF stuff will normally get it done. Get the hook and loop pads, it makes it much easier to switch them.

          You need to keep the pads clean, you can use a spur designed for this, or an old screwdriver.

          Always start with the least agressive product or method first. On a 1’x1’ or so area, try a fine polish on a foam pad, if this gives the desired result you know what it’ll take. If that doesn’t get through the faded or chalky surface then try a faster cut (coarser) compound and a wool pad. A word of caution, there are some very coarse compounds that can leave scratches that can be difficult to remove. So by just staying in this one small area to test your results you won’t create a mess that requires a total re-do of the job.

          If the slighly coarser compound works, then you can go back over this with the fine polish and a foam pad. If the results are what you want there’s no need for the foam pad, but it normally yields a higher gloss.

          If none of the buffing helps, then you may need to sand the surface. This isn’t fun, but may be required.

          I’m lazy and never wet sand unless I absolutely have to, so I normally use start with 1000 grit on a DA or similar sander. Again, just do a small area. You should be able to buff out 1000 grit scratches, but as I said before, gel coats can be very different, on one you may be able to buff out 600 grit, on the next one you may need to use 1,200.

          If 1000 doesn’t do it you can try 800, but this should do it, you don’t want to risk sanding through the gel coat.

          Now you need to go back through all the sanding and buffing steps to see if it looks like you want it too.

          Buffing compounds frequently contain waxes and oils that will hide some of the surface imperfections. These tend to go away over time, so if the glossy surface goes away in a couple of months this may be the problem.

          It means you may need to do more sanding with finer grits to create a better surface before buffing.

          If none of this works it may mean that nothing will work, or you may need to find someone to do it for you.
          Good info here. I also use a HF buffer with 3M blue wool pads. I didn't realize I needed foam pads. Or do I? I have been using the Collinite Fiberglass cleaner that seems to be a very light polishing compound. I haven't felt the need to go heavier. Could I use just the foam pads or do I need foam and wool? Very light oxidation issues on my boat, IMO.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Pstephens46 View Post

            Good info here. I also use a HF buffer with 3M blue wool pads. I didn't realize I needed foam pads. Or do I? I have been using the Collinite Fiberglass cleaner that seems to be a very light polishing compound. I haven't felt the need to go heavier. Could I use just the foam pads or do I need foam and wool? Very light oxidation issues on my boat, IMO.
            I always start with least aggressive method, so yes, using a foam pad with a fine polish will typically yield a higher gloss than a wool pad.

            Sometimes, on some colors, it can be hard to tell the difference though, whites and light colors don’t typically require the finer polishes and foam pads to look very good. But every buffing job is a little different, so I’ll frequently try the foam pads even if it looks good without them, sometimes there is a noticeable improvement.

            Comment


            • #7
              Ondarvr, is that a DA dry or wet sand, if you must do it?
              I’ve never sanded gel coat in my life........haven’t had the need to yet, only compound
              Always used Ole’s directions & tips
              ’19 Invincible 36 - 350 Verado’s Sold
              ’20 Invincible 35’ Cat, Quad Merc V8’s on order
              Fairhope & Orange Beach, AL

              Comment


              • #8
                Normally dry sanding.

                Comment

                Working...
                X