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Wakes

Buffing/Compounding

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Wakes

On Wednesday or Thursday I am going to take some 3M cutting compound to a few scratches on the hull then some finesse-it to polish the the colored portion of the hull and finally wax. Here are some things I'd like to know before I start.

1) Is it safe/smart to use the same pad for

a) cutter and polsih? (will the cutter remain on the pad and leave swirl marks etc)

b) color and white? (I notice the wool pad picks up some of the color, but I am not sure if there is any transfer)

I have a wool pad and 2 foam pads - I usually throw the pad in the washer between colors/compound types but I suppose I can pick up another pad tomorrow if necessary because I want to get all of this done in one day.(I usually use the wool pad for compounding/polishing) then a foam pad for the first coat of wax followed by a hand coat of wax.

2) What should I wash the boat down with prior to this job? Is dish soap and a rag reasonable? Or do I need to pick something up? There might be a little wax left on it still and I was planning on taking some vinegar to that after washing but I am mostly looking at removing dirt etc and getting it ready for the polish/wax.

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Arctic Slalom

i would use different pads for the two different products.

you will certainly get some residue from the intial cutting compound if you use it on the finess it.

CR

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MalibuTime

i would use different pads for the two different products.

you will certainly get some residue from the intial cutting compound if you use it on the finess it.

CR

:plus1: You will still have cutting compound left on it, which will defeat the purpose of going to the finer polish. Two pads. I would also seperate white and color.

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Bobby Light

:plus1: You will still have cutting compound left on it, which will defeat the purpose of going to the finer polish. Two pads. I would also seperate white and color.

White pads are generally to soft for even finish applications, they are for wax. The black pad is a good pad for the finess it. Yellow and orange are good for a little more bite. Wool pad for compound.

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skyskier

You need to use the right pad. Some pads are more abrasive than others. They are color coded.

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Wakes

Right now I have a wool pad, a yellow pad and a black pad. I'll pick up a white pad for the wax coat. Sounds like the wool pad and the black pad should cover my compounding and polishing needs for the colored gel coat. I am not going to compound the white gel coat so I wont need another of those. I guess it is no big deal to pick up another black pad for white gel coat polishing.

Edited by Wakes

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Bobby Light

Right now I have a wool pad, a yellow pad and a black pad. I'll pick up a white pad for the wax coat. Sounds like the wool pad and the black pad should cover my compounding and polishing needs for the colored gel coat. I am not going to compound the white gel coat so I wont need another of those. I guess it is no big deal to pick up another black pad for white gel coat polishing.

That's all you should really need. You don't need a separate black pad for each color. I've never noticed an issue anyways.

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skurfer

Right now I have a wool pad, a yellow pad and a black pad. I'll pick up a white pad for the wax coat. Sounds like the wool pad and the black pad should cover my compounding and polishing needs for the colored gel coat. I am not going to compound the white gel coat so I wont need another of those. I guess it is no big deal to pick up another black pad for white gel coat polishing.

You should be good. I'm no pro, but I've found slower speeds for compound work better, let the compound do it's job. Deeper scratches require more work to the area. Less pressure as the compound dries. A bit higher speed for polish, again, less pressure as it dries. Good luck.

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Wakes

That's all you should really need. You don't need a separate black pad for each color. I've never noticed an issue anyways.

Right on. Those pads are pricey so I was hoping I wouldn't need to purchase anything I didn't need. I didn't think it was likely that I would get red swirl marks on the white gel coat but I thought I'd see what the crew thought.

You should be good. I'm no pro, but I've found slower speeds for compound work better, let the compound do it's job. Deeper scratches require more work to the area. Less pressure as the compound dries. A bit higher speed for polish, again, less pressure as it dries. Good luck.

Thanks for the tips. I'll let you know how it goes but hopefully I don't make a mess out of it. I don't imagine I could do too much harm though, I'll just take it easy as I go. I think I must have purchased the heaviest polisher in the business so I definitely wont have a problem with doing it for too long :).

Edited by Wakes

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fijidaniel

I compounded, polished and waxed mine for the first time last year. Go ahead and use painter's tape on the rub rail or any chrome to keep them protected. I ended up machining the compound and polish, but waxed by hand. Just felt better putting on the wax without the machine. It turned out great though. Good luck!

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Michigan boarder

Are you using a high speed polisher? If you are, then you will want a different pad for each color. If not, I'd say you're fine with 1 pad per color. But, switch pads with each different product you use (polish, different polish, wax, etc.). By high speed I mean 4 to 5k RPM. The logic with those is it actually heats up the gelcoat, part of the making it shiny process. Also risky to put a burn mark in it.

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Wakes

It is variable speed, I think I could keep it in the 1500-3000 rpm range which is where you want it for these products right?

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skurfer

Right on. Those pads are pricey so I was hoping I wouldn't need to purchase anything I didn't need. I didn't think it was likely that I would get red swirl marks on the white gel coat but I thought I'd see what the crew thought.

Thanks for the tips. I'll let you know how it goes but hopefully I don't make a mess out of it. I don't imagine I could do too much harm though, I'll just take it easy as I go. I think I must have purchased the heaviest polisher in the business so I definitely wont have a problem with doing it for too long :).

I was nervous, too, but I think it's hard to screw up with the products and pads these days. I had one friend who was trying to get rid of some swirl marks, he was scared and didn't leave it on long enough. It helped that I was able to practice on boats that weren't mine. I hear you when it comes to your own boat.

Once your done with the compound and polish. Hit the entire boat with 303 and a microfiber towel, watch the colored gel deepen and come to life. Then hit it with your favorite wax with a microfiber towel. Awesome!

Edited by skurfer

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Michigan boarder

It is variable speed, I think I could keep it in the 1500-3000 rpm range which is where you want it for these products right?

Yes, that's what I would do. You can go up to 6000 if you are really trying to shine it up, but there's a lot of risk associated with that. Me, I ran mine up to 4000 on the transom to really make it shine when I did a massive restoration to it last year (lots of wetsanding). This spring, I ran it again on the sides after removing decals and hit the transom again, but I never went beyond 3000.

Skurfer had a good approach, go slow and apply some pressure and as it changes consistency go faster and lighten the pressure. Work on a 2' by 2' area at a time. It becomes pretty obvious once you do it.

And like fijidaniel wrote, tape what you don't want hit, the buffer edge can eat up a rub rail in a fraction of a second. Even with the tape, you still want to be careful.

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