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Old 10-27-2008
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Foam vs. wool for buffing, waxing, etc.

I have started buffing the hull of my 1983 Pearson 34. I wet sanded with 400 and then 600 grit to remove stains and abrasions. Then I buffed with 3M Perfect-It III Extra Cut with a wool Superbuff pad with excellent results.

Then I tried a wipe-on wipe-off liquid called Flash and it made my polished surface hazy. I tried some Meguiar's cleaner wax (also a liquid) and it also did not improved the polished shine. I tried foam pads and they did not make the surface shiny like the wool pad. I am going to try some Meguiar's NXT paste wax and see how that goes.

My questions: do you use different speeds for foam pads compared to wool? I am very happy with the wool pad and 3M compound but everything I read says foam pads are better for finishing the wax but I can't get it shiny. I am going to try a wool finishing pad with the paste wax. Are there other foam pad techniques that I need to know? Or just use the wool and don't worry about it?
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A wax...

A good quality wax should ALWAYS be applied and removed by hand. You DO NOT need your buffer to apply and remove the wax. A real wax has ZERO abrasives and is merely and protective layer.

Use Collinite Fleet Wax Paste Version #885. Liquids just do not last and combo products are nothing more than a short cut that does little but empty your wallet..

This should have been the steps.

#1 Acid clean the hull to remove tannin or rust stains (On & Off Gel or FSR)

#2 Wet sand but ONLY if absolutely necessary

#3 Compound Phase - Heavy duty rubbing compound containing NO silicone and aggressive wool compound grade pad. I recommend 3M Super Duty Compound

#4 Polishing Phase - Finesse It II with a foam or light polishing grade wool pad. Finesse It II is not a compound and not something to follow up a 600 grit with.

#5 Wax Phase - After years and years of detailing boats I have found no wax that lasts longer or goes on and off easier. Apply with a 4" foam hand application pad or a terry cloth hand application pad and wipe off by hand with microfiber rags..

Dog has directed you to more in-depth directions..

Just remember that expensive machine buffing & polishing pads should only be used with compounds and polishes. Waxes and sealants especially cheap ones with high concentrations of silicone will permanently destroy expensive wool pads and it will never wash out. Carnuba's also destroy wool pads. Never ever use compounds or polishes containing silicones and only use products rated as "body shop safe" or that say "contains NO silicone"..
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 10-27-2008 at 08:31 PM.
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Thanks for your reply Maine Sail, I was hoping you would respond. I had read some of your earlier posts but I did not see the one linked by SD. However:

I am assuming the answer to my question is no, there are no different speeds for foam vs wool. I did not see any specific speeds listed in the detailed instructions. The Perfect-It III listed 1850 rpm as optimal. What do you think? The Perfect-It III is also a diminishing grit type compound and 3M lists it as their best gelcoat compound (just relating that, don't know whether it is true or not). It is a fairly new product. The shine I got with it and the 3M Superbuff wool pad was very good.

So the next step is to use Finesse-It polish with a foam pad? What speed (I guess I should say rpm)? Do I also put enough on that there is wet polish to wipe off or should I buff it dry?

Wax: I live in Oklahoma. VERY hot in summer. The hull is white but I am worried about Carnauba Wax. Is there a problem with the Meguiar's NXT polymer paste wax? It doesn't say silicone anywhere on it.

Thanks again, I will probably have more questions but I will try not to get to the anal-retentive phase!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
I am assuming the answer to my question is no, there are no different speeds for foam vs wool. I did not see any specific speeds listed in the detailed instructions.
The speeds for novices, which is where you are at this point, is SLOW!!!! 600-1200 max..


Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
The Perfect-It III listed 1850 rpm as optimal. What do you think?
That is an optimal speed for a pro, 3M's market for "body shop safe" products is Pro's not your average DIY. That speed also aids in the breakdown & to heat up the grit enough to break it down into a diminishingly finer grit.

As a novice if you use 1850 rpm you will be burning pads and compounds and also at risk for burning and discoloring the gelcoat. Don't do it until you get really good and develop "feel". If you have to ask what "feel" is you're not there yet. When you get there you'll know it.. I wrote those instructions for DIYers using Pro grade products.

This is why I recommend a dedicated compound vs. a "compound that turns into a polish". The only diminishing grit products I really like and recommend are Presta Ultra Cutting Creme & Presta Chroma 1500. You can still run it slow and it still diminishes but one is till a compound that diminishes to offer a low grade polish and the other is a polish that diminishes to a low grade glaze. Presta is hard to find but simply one of the best products in it's class. You will only find it at autobody distributors/wholesalers.



Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
The Perfect-It III is also a diminishing grit type product compound and 3M lists it as their best gelcoat compound (just relating that, don't know whether it is true or not).
I've used it, and it is a decent product, but you still need two steps. It still leaves micro swirls that you'll need a finer polish to remove and does not get as aggressive on the low end as a true compound would. IMHO it's a middle of the road product that neither polishes or compounds all that well.

Contrary to popular belief you can't simultaneously compound and polish with a diminishing grit using a compound grade pad. The compound grade pad is just to aggressive to produce a polish grade shine. On the other hand if you use a lighter grade polishing pad then you can't compound effectively. I know very confusing..Using that compound with a compound grade pad will give good compounding grade results with perhaps a finer shine than Super Duty Compound but you'd need to really start at a P800 -P1000 grit wet sand and not a P600. Either way you'll still need to follow up with Finesse It II or a product like Presta Chroma 1500. I'd stick with Finesse It II and Super Duty marine rubbing compound.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
It is a fairly new product. The shine I got with it and the 3M Superbuff wool pad was very good.
If you used a whitish Superbuff pad the shine was not good enough. Look at it in low light angles and you'll see swirls. A compound grade pad will leave swirls regardless of the product used with it. Swirls attract more UV due to increased surface area of the ridges and valleys..

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
So the next step is to use Finesse-It polish with a foam pad? What speed (I guess I should say rpm)? Do I also put enough on that there is wet polish to wipe off or should I buff it dry?
Yes Finesse It II and a foam pad #05725. DO NOT buff compound or polish dry! Some Pro's employ some techniques for this with certain products but it should never be done by a novice. I grew up restoring antique show cars with my father, mostly Porsche 356 series, and we never once buffed dry. You just don't do it on 17 coats of nitrocellulose lacquer. Always stop and wipe off the residue with a microfiber rag well before it's dry. If you feel the pad starting to wander, bite or grab at the surface it's getting too dry!

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
Wax: I live in Oklahoma. VERY hot in summer. The hull is white but I am worried about Carnauba Wax.
I'd still try the Collinite #885 first if you have a white hull. Yes in Florida or the Carib with a dark blue hull NO but with a white hull you should be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
Is there a problem with the Meguiar's NXT polymer paste wax? It doesn't say silicone anywhere on it.
I have a can of it if you want it. Personally I think it is the most over blown and over rated product Meguiars has ever produced. Most ALL commercial waxes have some level of silicone it's a matter of how much. Collinite #885 has less than 2%. This is fine for the wax phase but you would not want it present during the polish or compound phase.

I would almost certainly guarantee, based on day one water beading vs. day 10 of NXT, that it has a LOT more than 2%. Mike Phillips of Meguiars also will not state what level of silicone it has in it and all he'll say is that it is definitely not body shop safe. Silicone in waxes give good initial shine, and this helps to sell product. It is also a cheap filler but also a huge cheat. A fair amount of the silicone oils are washed away during the first wash or rain and you are then left with the meat and bones of the product. With NXT I found very little meat & bones under the "essential" oils.. I tried NXT on my dinghy bottom, I test products there to see how they retard tannin staining, and it lasted all of about two weeks in the ocean before rust and tannins started adhering to the hull. I used in on my wife's car and was not impressed there either. If you want a very good Meguiars wax use #16 Professional Paste Wax. It's a pure carnuba based wax and is comparable to P21S, Collinite Fleet #885 and other true carnuba's.

NXT is a MUCH cheaper consumer grade product for Meguiars to produce and as such they can make more margin. Pure carnuba based waxes are expensive and offer little margin for the manufacturer but they are the most durable of real waxes, but only in paste form.

If you don't want to use a carnuba then my suggestion would be a dirt cheap product called Nu-Finish. It's a polymer that holds up surprisingly well in saltwater marine environment and in my opinion beats the pants off most of the marine rated "liquids" in longevity.


Compounding Grade Pad #05711 (LINK)

Wool Polishing Grade Pad #05713 (LINK)

Foam Polishing Grade Pad #05725 (LINK)
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Last edited by Maine Sail; 10-28-2008 at 10:05 AM.
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Red face

Yes, the pad I am using is the 05711. I have not burned anything with this pad but I did not have good results with a foam pad but I was using faster rpms and was completely buffing away the compound. I feel comfortable with the wool pad at any rpm but will need to slow it down with foam and use more compound.

Okay, here's where I'm at. I have already sanded and compounded one side of the boat. Are you saying I should compound it again with Super Duty or can I go on to polishing? Do you use the mist bottle of water with the polish as well?

As far as I know, I can't get Collinite around here unless I order it and then I have to wait for delivery (I haven't called all of the paint places in Tulsa so I may be able to find some). How long after compounding and polishing can I wait to put wax on? I can get the Super Duty and Finesse-it readily. West Marine has the Tre-Wax you mentioned in the detailed instructions. If I can't get Collinite which of the Tre-Wax vs Meguiars #16 would you recommend?

I will take the NXT back tomorrow

Thanks again for the help, I appreciate it.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
Yes, the pad I am using is the 05711. I have not burned anything with this pad but I did not have good results with a foam pad but I was using faster rpms and was completely buffing away the compound.
See this is tricky stuff. If you are buffing it till it's dry you are "burning" or "loading" the pad! It should remain "wet" and as soon as it starts to grip at or bite the surface you should mist or add more compound. SLOW speeds will keep the compound wetter longer fast speeds dry it out and you'll use much more product than is necessary trying to keep it wet. Again if you're a pro and want to employ years and years of dry buffing experience go for it if not go SLOW..


Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
I feel comfortable with the wool pad at any rpm but will need to slow it down with foam and use more compound.
Don't get overly confident!! There is NO difference between wool and foam in terms of speed. A foam pad can load just as easily as a wool pad. Make sure your pads are damp to begin with including the foam pad.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
Okay, here's where I'm at. I have already sanded and compounded one side of the boat. Are you saying I should compound it again with Super Duty or can I go on to polishing?
If the shine is good, most builders, Catalina & Hunter to name a few, stop at a compound equal to 3M Super Duty. Even their brand new boats are LOADED with swirl marks. It will and should look quite shiny before you move onto Finesse IT II. If it does don't re-do it with a compound just go to polish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
Do you use the mist bottle of water with the polish as well?
There is no difference in the way a polish is applied other than the aggressiveness of the pad. It is still nothing more than particles of suspended grit, just at a finer grade than a compound. You still need to lube the product, and keep it wet, for the best results. The only difference between a "body shop safe" polish and a BSS compound is the grit level.

P600 wet sand paper is used the same exact way as P1500. The only difference is in the shine produced..

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
As far as I know, I can't get Collinite around here unless I order it and then I have to wait for delivery (I haven't called all of the paint places in Tulsa so I may be able to find some).
Call Collinite and ask if they have any distributors in your area. it will save you dialing the whole phone book. When you call them you'll likely get Mike Taylor he is the owner of the company. Their number is 315-732-2282.

You can also buy it at Auto-Geek.com.


Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
How long after compounding and polishing can I wait to put wax on?
There is no need to wait.

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
I can get the Super Duty and Finesse-it readily. West Marine has the Tre-Wax you mentioned in the detailed instructions. If I can't get Collinite which of the Tre-Wax vs Meguiars #16 would you recommend?
I think the Tre-Wax and the #16 are comparable but the Collinite seems to last longer in the marine environment. None the less Tre-Wax is good stuff. West Marine stocks Collinite #885 and should be able to order it in on the next truck for you..

Quote:
Originally Posted by drlove View Post
I will take the NXT back tomorrow
Yep my can is collecting some serious dust!
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I had asked "how long can I wait after polishing to apply wax" because I have already compounded and if I have to order some wax, the boat may have to sit a week or two before the wax arrives. However if you say the Tre-Wax is good I will just go get that if there is no Collinite available.

At this stage the shine is good so I will go to polishing on the current side.

New question: My boot stripe is Awlgrip. Do I have to get Awlcare just for the stripe or can that small amount of paint be waxed?
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While..

While a wax won't really hurt Awlgrip it won't help much. My main concern is this. Did you buff the Awlgrip too? If so you will now ALWAYS need to wax it. Awlgrip should never be compounded!!!! It cures like a clear coat / base coat system with the clear solids rising to the surface of the paint creating a hard, high shine shell. If you buff through this layer it's toast!!

Essentially the linear polyester resins can not be re-melted, what actually happens when you compound or buff a painted surface, because the window time of time between melt & disintegrate is so narrow. It is nearly impossible, and totally impossible for a novice who has not had serious specialty training or woring with LPU's, to keep an LPU at the right temp to re-melt without destroying it in the process. It sort of goes like this when buffing Awlgrip.


To cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, to cool, right temp for a split second, destroyed.......

Acrylic two part paints such as Imron can be buffed because the re-melt window is much wider and they don't cure the same as an LPU. The pigment on an acrylic LPU is the ful thickness not sitting under the clear solids..

This photo illustrates a destroyed Awlgrip finish. Note the shine on the majority of the hull even after many years. Now look at the center of the photo and you'll notice a large dull area. This is what happens when you chew through Awlgrips "protective shell". It is destroyed...
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Yes, of course I had to buff that too, dangit. So I'll go ahead and wax it. On the other side I will tape it off and not buff it so I will only wax down to the stripe.

If wax lasts you 8 months in Maine I will probably get 6 months here. Can I wash and wax if the shine is good or do you always need to polish before waxing?
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