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CLucas 04-16-2008 12:03 PM

Ryobi vs. Makita vs. Poliglow??
Buffed, polished and waxed my 1977 Pearson 30 last year using a Ryobi 10” orbital buffer with only so-so results. The finish came up somewhat, but I was hardly blown away by the results. This year I’m on the fence between investing (ahem…) in a Makita 9227C polisher and doing it right, or (gasp!) going the Poli-Glow route and doing it quick.

So, I’m seeking opinions on two fronts…

1) Done a lot of research on Poli-Glow – here and elsewhere – and am aware of all the pros and cons (for the record, I have a light blue hull so I don’t expect any yellowing issues that some have reported). I’ve read and re-read CardiacPaul’s thread on his experience last year… Aesthetically, I’m maybe a little uncomfortable with the concept of sheathing my hull in a plastic coating, but confident I’d get good results with proper prep and application on my older gelcoat.

2) Makita vs. Ryobi… Knowing that it all comes down to the person using the tool, how much different will the performance of a professional-quality tool like a Makita 9227C affect the outcome vs. a HomeDepot Ryobi 10” buffer? I also know if I add a wetsanding phase, I can get some better results, but am a little concerned about just how thin the gelcoat is.

At this point, money really isn’t the issue – it’s a swing of about $100… It’s either ~$60 for the Poli-Glow or ~$177 for the Makita (I have plenty of compound, polish and wax already).

Thoughts? Thanks in advance.

Freesail99 04-16-2008 12:08 PM

My son polished my hull last year. Looking at the finished side I was not blown away; until I compared it to the unfinished side. What a difference! Often the older gelcoat wasn't the bright white of the newer boats, but more of a cream color.

tigerregis 04-16-2008 12:11 PM

A proper 3200rpm and 3M compound will do the trick. You can go further with glazing compound.

craigtoo 04-16-2008 01:08 PM

I've never used a Ryobi, but I will put a vote in for Makita products.

Not that you asked...but....
I've used the cheap Craftsman buffer. I would not recommed them to anyone.

TrueBlue 04-16-2008 01:40 PM

I have several Ryobi power tools, which were bought because of their attractive prices. My impression after extensive use of them is, they are OK for light duty jobs.

Makita on the other hand, seems to build higher quality tools. I bought a Makita 9227CX3 Sander-Polisher as a complete kit a couple seasons ago, for buffing and polishing my boat, and have only great things to say about it . . . outstanding results. It's a powerful, well-made buffer.

Faster 04-16-2008 02:28 PM

I would use poliglow again on the topsides, I think the finish is good, last a season or more, and is, of course, easy to apply.

I'm less enamoured with it on deck/in the cockpit... it seems to pick up dirt/stains whether from natural body oils, sunscreen stuff, or simply constant traffic.

Whichever route you choose, it's gonna be something you'll have to do on a regular basis!

CLucas 04-16-2008 02:44 PM


Originally Posted by Faster (Post 301121)
I would use poliglow again on the topsides, I think the finish is good, last a season or more, and is, of course, easy to apply.

I'm less enamoured with it on deck/in the cockpit... it seems to pick up dirt/stains whether from natural body oils, sunscreen stuff, or simply constant traffic.

Whichever route you choose, it's gonna be something you'll have to do on a regular basis!

I would only use poli-glow on the topsides and go with a more traditional solution on deck/cockpit with Woody Wax on non-skid. Kind of leaning towards poliglow at the moment. While poliglow is adding material to the hull and compounding/polish/wax is removing material, it's 30yo gelcoat that has been maintained but shows its age. Poliglow may buy me time before having to spring for a paint job which I'm not certain I would do on this boat.

My Ryobi/Makita question probably has at least as much to do with using the right bonnet for whatever stage of the process. I also have an okay cordless 7" Ryobi that is decent for smaller areas. The cordless part is nice since I can use it sitting on the mooring.

BarryL 04-16-2008 03:10 PM

2 Attachment(s)

My boat is a 1986 O'day 35. The topsides have the original gelcoat finish. The boot and cove strips are red. When I bought the boat, the finish was in poor condition. Very heavily oxidized, dull looking, the red strips looked white with oxidation.

This spring I wanted to make the boat look good. I used Poliglow on my other boats, but I wasn't tied to it.

To make the red stripes look better I tried a "cleaner / wax." It make the hull bead up, but the red
looked bad. Next I tried a rubbing compound. It did next to nothing, and was very difficult to remove, even with a rotary buffer tool. I also tried Poliprep and PoliOx (a heavy duty cleaner with Oxalic? acid from the makers of Poliglow). Nothing worked well. As a last resort I wet sanded with 600 grit paper. That worked best of all, but the results are not great.

I did clean the entire hull with poliprep, then applied poliglow. I am happy with the results. See below for some before / after pictures.

It took about 8 hours to wet sand and poliprep the hull, and about 4 hours to apply the poliglow.

Doing everything the 'right' way would probably make the boat look better, but I would rather spend my precious time sailing. Besides, since I finished the Poliglow I had to fair the keel, apply barrier coat, then apply bottom paint. Now I just have two more coats of bottom paint, then it's splash time!



Maine Sail 04-16-2008 03:24 PM

The buffer..
The buffer and pad work as a system. Most Ryobi buffers I have seen are of the Wal*Mart style, use terry cloth buffing pads and basically SUCK. If this is what you own PLEASE do not base you results of buffing on this product.

Don't get me wrong, I own Ryobi tools, and love them for their price point and relative durability. The buffer however is something I would re-gift if someone gave me one..

Comparing the Ryobi 10" buffer to the Makita 9227C, or the equivalent Porter Cable, Milwaukee or Hitachi, is like pitting Rosie O'Donnell against Magic Johnson in a one on one game of basket ball...

I've used Poli-Glow and it has some characteristics that have led me to not use it again..

Once the hull is buffed, polished and waxed the next season is only a polish and wax that won't take that much more time than prepping and applying Poli-Glow. I can polish and hand wax (two step) my 36 footer in about 6 hours.

This is what can happen to miracle coatings.. That blotchyness is not a reflection it's a worn, yellowing and peeling acrylic "wonder coating"...

This was my old 1986 C-36. I did a four step wet sand, compound, polish & wax. It looked a lot like Barry's boat above when I started.

P.S. Barry if the compound was hard to get off you "burned" it. Think of compounds and polishes like wet sanding. It should remain wet to work! The advice above of 3200 RPM's is not a wise idea. The speed I use most on my Makita is between 600 and 800 RPM's I never burn my compound and it always comes off easily....

I'll post more on the subject later:

Faster 04-16-2008 03:39 PM

Halekai, do you have the time frame on the deterioration shown in your first picture? And do you know which of the "miracle" coatings it was?

Our poliglow is definitely subject to wear and abrasion, as is any finish, and does have to be kept up, as does any finish other than good paint (and even that needs some TLC after a bit)

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