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Old 03-05-2006
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Polishers, Buffers

I want to buy a capable a/c polisher for buffing and waxing topsides. Any advice on brands, or features (random orbit, speed control, motor size, weight, etc) appreciated.
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Old 03-05-2006
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Hard to realy comment on that, Variable speed is nice, but for most users, it's turned on full speed then locked in, so it ends up being high speed all the time, look for one with a dial type switch control, normally located near the trigger and numbered, that way you can set a speed and lock at that speed.

Weight is hard to comment on also, I like a heavier tool because it gives you better control, but if you are holding it overhead it gets tiring, so you'll have to compare them and decide which feels right to you.

Take a trip to a few shops and see what sizes of bonnets are available, and then try to get something that size, some buffer/polishers have odd sized bonnets and you either go through that company to get replacements or make your own.

For most tools I take a look around town, then check out reviews on line, pick out a couple that have decent reviews and then compare them a bit better at the local stores, unless the item I'm loking for is impossible to get otherwise, I always buy local simply because I like having what I buy in my hand when I pay

I used to say porter cable was the best, but black and decker screwed them up, so I can't say now, but a few of my newer tools are hitachi.

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Old 03-06-2006
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Don't go cheap. Those ones that kind of vibrate do not not do a good job. Someone loaned me a Sears that worked great. I went out and bought one, but have not had good results yet. I am told the buffing pad makes a big difference. The one I used that work so nice was pretty heavy. I am still trying to locate a good pad. I guess Milwaukee makes a pretty good buffer, too.

I have had the Wagners - that kind of vibrate - like what you would get at West. I threw it out and did the job by hand to get the results I wanted.
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I also tried a "cheap" (sub $100) random orbital, the kind you use on your car with very poor results. At the recommendation of a previous post I purchased a Makita 9227 off of Ebay for $168 including pads and a carrying case. It worked wonderfully with a polish/cleaner that I bought at the local marine store with specific instructions for machine polisher (1000 RPM).

This polisher retails for $250 on the web. There are several of these available on ebay with a "buy it now" for $168.

I have a 33' 1995 Fiberglass Hull and it worked great. It did get heavy towards the end of finishing the hull but I would highly recommend it.
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