I had similar thoughts about the On & Off, Maine89. Next time, I'll probably go Simple Green or the like.
But I have to say, this is the first year I followed MaineSail's directions close to 100%--Makita polisher, Presta products, recommend 3m pads, microfiber cloths, Fleetwax--and I was very pleased with the results on my 25-yr-old Pearson. I hope to not have to compound next time, and just go with the Presta Cutting Creme. Some of my observations:
* Working that Makita while standing on a ladder is hard! I had to laugh at MS's advice to keep the pad moving. How could I not!? The thing owned me until I got better at it. Exhausting. I found that the moistness of the compound was crucial to making sure the Makita didn't fling me aside like a pesky afterthought.
* Love those Presta products! Being water soluble means water clean up. No prob getting the wool pads clean.
* Oddly enough, I got my best results with the compound by polishing it until it was mostly gone. I know this is contra MS's instructions, but it seemed to work. I started doing this to save my arms from rubbing off the compound (hoping to live to fight another day), but then saw a better finish.
* Speed does matter. For a while I wasn't ramping up the speed as directed and wasn't getting the results. It was a breezy dry day and my stuff was just drying so fast, I couldn't get up to speed before it was too late. Once I got the pad damp enough with the sprayer--close to the point of flinging (and occasionally over it!)--I finally finished up with a high enough speed to get it smooth.
* The Fleetwax paste went on, and more importantly, off, easier than their liquid I thought. Maybe this was because the surface was smoother this time?
Anyway, thanks for the awesome tutorial, MaineSail!
I too went with the exact model of everything he suggested just so I would be the only variable (which is variable enough trust me...)
Yes the buffer was quite formidable. I know he said to keep it flat but I found keeping it at a slight angle gave me a lot more control.
I too worked the material until it was mostly gone, but that is because I wasn't sure when I was done. I think at the time my mind figured if the compound, creme or polish was mostly gone, it must have done what it needed to do. But really I should have given it a closer look.
I'm really not sure if I attained 30% or 70% of the results of someone who knew what they were doing, but it was shinier than when I started, that is for certain
And I didn't eat through all the gel coat, which was a concern keeping me from being too aggressive with the compounding. I suppose you can be (and probably should be) more aggressive with the creme and polish since you can't really do much damage at the higher grit level but even on a 27 foot boat I was fighting the clock. It's a 140 mile round-trip to get to the boat and the yard will lock me in at 5pm so I was rushing on the second day (hour 8-16) to get done.
PS: Has anyone used the Mikita polisher/sander for sanding? How does it compare to orbital or random orbital sanders? I'm needing a sander and hoping I can use this $180 investment as one as well, instead of another $80 for a modest sander.