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Seems like the problem is applying the Finesse It with a cotton rag. In order to get the best polish (and this is the step that really brings out the shine), you need a good buffer and foam pad for the Finesse It. Anyway, try the Finesse It with a buffer before resorting to wetsanding, I think you will be pleased with the results.
Used the Finesse It last year for the first time, makes a huge difference. Many people commented on how good the hull looked, and it has kept the shine.

The only thing I have been doing in addition to what MS suggest is apply Interlux Teflon Wax Sealer, it's easy to apply and seems to prolong the bead and shine, but I cant say its doing anything significant? :)
 

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Windows?

Many thanks for the great article. I have followed your instructions and my 31 year old hull looks great. Now it's time to do the topside and I have a couple questions. I bought the Makita polisher and am concerned about the windows and other detail areas that are smaller than the the diameter of the wheel. How do I go about getting in to those areas and can I tape of the windows with blue masking tape safely to avoid them? Or do they make a smaller diameter buffing wheel I can use in these areas?

Thanks

Joe
 

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Actually, no, if you're going to sand and paint the bottom AFTER you clean and polish the hull.

Do I care if I get On & Off on my bottom paint if I'm going to sand and paint the botton after I clean, polish and wax the hull?
 

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thank you so much for the informative post. We purchased a new Jeanneau in August of 09, the hull obviously looks pretty good and I would like to keep it that way. I am unsure after reading through your post where to begin with a new hull and would appreciate your thoughts. Also Jeanneau is known to wax the molds pretty heavily, is this detrimental to the process and how do I determine that? Thanks again...
Patty
s/v Patriche II
Jeanneau 50ds
Annapolis
 

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I've got the same year of boat in fresh water. Finesse It II then wax. That's all you should need. If you can keep after it regularly that's all you should need for a long time.

Blue Foam from LCC for Finesse It or the 3M foam that has been recommended. I don't see any difference between the two.

I also got a small random orbital polisher from Griot's Garage for the deck which saved me a lot of time and worked well. I highly recommend it for large cockpits and decks.

I haven't found a place that carries Presta stuff so I have not tried any of their products but would like to.

BT
Catalina 400
 

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Sander/Polisher combo ?

I have a 23-year-old 27.5 foot sailboat and don't plan on getting anything bigger. I have read some reviews of random orbital sanders, and other reviews of polishers (buffers), but I can't help asking:

Can anyone recommend one tool of reasonably good quality that could perform well as both an orbital sander and a polisher? I know that such a tool might not equal the performance of the best single-purpose sander or single-purpose buffer, but there might be a tool out there that will perform well enough in each category for the limited number of hours I will be using it each year.

Thanks.
 

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Polisher vs. Sander

Most sanders spin too fast to be good polishers. For my boat with lots of small areas needing polishing I use a Hitachi right angle drill at its lowest speed settings. The model is something like Y10BR.
 

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All day and into the evening (4/20) my harbor frieght 7" sander buffer never gave up the task! I must say, my arms will fall off sometime today! (4/21) Based on the OPs advice My 1982 Oday 30's big blue boot stripe and the creamy white gel coat hull now gleam in the sunlight! Who woulda thunk it could happen?
 

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I have been debating for several weeks which polisher to get. I'm about decided on the Makita. A little over a week ago, I picked up a Harbor Freight 7" electronic for $50. It seemed fine except for one thing. At the lowest speed, it ocillated from about 300 to 1000 rpm. This made it hard to control. I took it back. I asked a guy at the marina if his did the same thing and he said it did. The unit is rated at 1,000 to 3,000. At higher speeds, it seemed to run at a much more constant speed. Have you had the same problem?
Thanks
harbin2
Islander 30
 

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Low speed does go intermittent, but a little bit higher it's ok and spreads the compound without throwing it off.
 

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Discussion Starter #55 (Edited)
I bought one of the HFT buffers and unfortunately it is not a very good knock off of the Makita, in any way shape or form. It is not a no-load design and gets very, very hot, to the point of smoking and burning skin, when used or attempted to be used at low speed with a heavy compound and wool pad.

Just for grins I tried to compound my 10 foot dinghy with and and nearly killed it, smokey electrical stink dead, in about 40 minutes..

I suppose if you ran it at higher speeds the fan on the motor and the higher current may keep it cooler but I did not want to be running at over 1500 RPM to do that.. My current Makita has perhaps compounded 60+ vessels all of them at least three times as big as my ten foot dinghy.

Denise must have purchased one of the good ones..
 

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Just thought I'd post an update. I have compounded and waxed the hull with presta gel coat & ultra cutting cream. Followed by 2 coats of fleet wax. The results are nothing short of spectacular on my 23 year old Freedom. Perhaps he was just hamming me up, but the yard manager said I could retire from my day job & he'd hire me to poilish boats. :D

I've wet sanded the topsides as they showed the most oxidation, much improved, but haven't compounded & waxed yet (waiting for my 3" polisher to show up from griots).

On the topsides I have many black specs that don't seem to sand out, not sure what it is, embedded dirt or mildew? Most of the specs were removed with the wet sanding (400-800 grit), but some remain. I figure I'll compound and seal with wax and hope the sun bleaches them out?

A point of information, the Presta Chroma 1500 doesnt' seem to exist any more. Ultra Polish is thier new "heavy polish" followed by the swirl remover as "medium" and finally hand glaze as lightest. I've got the ultra polish & swirl remover on order, plan to experiment on the topsides this year and then the hull next season...

Regarding upkeep - it didn't take but one rain event for the black water streaks to re-appear (even over the wax), any recommendations on how to treat them, Boat soap alone doesn't seem to do it. Starbrite makes a "black streak remover" Star brite - Catalog - Product Detail. Or perhaps a "cleaner wax" (one with some mild abrasive in it).


Lastly, I'd like to request a similar tutorial on filling scratches in the gelcoat. All the dock rash from the previous owners is now on proud display since the rest of the hull is nice and shiny... Probably next fall's project
 

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Hookit pads fit Makita 9227 polisher?

Will the 3M hookit SBS compound and polishing pads fit the hook and loop backup pad that comes standard with the Makita 9227?

3M's promotional copy makes it seem that their hookit SBS system is non-standard. It would be nice to know if their pads will fit the Makita hook and loop without having to buy a 3M hookit backing pad as well.
 

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Discussion Starter #58
Will the 3M hookit SBS compound and polishing pads fit the hook and loop backup pad that comes standard with the Makita 9227?

3M's promotional copy makes it seem that their hookit SBS system is non-standard. It would be nice to know if their pads will fit the Makita hook and loop without having to buy a 3M hookit backing pad as well.
Yes, it will fit, but the backer that comes with the Makita is rather lame compared to the 3M version..
 

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Help the newbie

I just started compounding a 38' that is oxidized. Never done this before, grabbed a 9227cy, some 3M Super Duty Compound, and Finesse It II. I am using a SM Arnold "Tuffer Buffer" Compounding & Polishing Pad #57-375 (It's all the local supplier had).

So far all I've done is the transom, and while it looks great right up close and at off angles, when you stand back about 10 ft it's all uneven and hazy. What am I doing wrong?
 

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You really should read Maine Sail's post on polishing and waxing...

I just started compounding a 38' that is oxidized. Never done this before, grabbed a 9227cy, some 3M Super Duty Compound, and Finesse It II. I am using a SM Arnold "Tuffer Buffer" Compounding & Polishing Pad #57-375 (It's all the local supplier had).

So far all I've done is the transom, and while it looks great right up close and at off angles, when you stand back about 10 ft it's all uneven and hazy. What am I doing wrong?
 
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