View Full Version : Polisher Techniques

01-05-2009, 05:10 PM
I got a very nice variable speed polisher for Xmas, my first, with a variety of foam and wool polishing pads. I am very much a novice and have done several searches on the internet regarding proper usage on techniques and applications for various types of pads and have found very little.

If anyone hook me up with a great site regarding application with various pad styles and where to use them plus proper techniques etc I would be very appreciative.

I would really like to read and understand before I royally screw something up like I am so good at doing before hand.....Thanks :D

01-05-2009, 05:24 PM
It's pretty simple. Just spread some polishing compound or rubbing compound on your hull. Turn on the buffer, and apply the buffer to the compound and move it around the hull. It's hard to screw up your gel coat and you should get a good shine with a high speed circular buffer.

I bought one of the gel coat restoration kits from properboatcare.com and it came with instructions that even a doofus like me could follow.

01-05-2009, 05:25 PM
Wool polishing pads are for rubbing compounds, foam are for the finish wax. That's about all I know.

01-05-2009, 05:26 PM
maybe check out some of the car detailing forums.

01-05-2009, 05:32 PM
Wool polishing pads are for rubbing compounds, foam are for the finish wax. That's about all I know.

Well this is a he77 of a lot more than I knew before thanks

01-05-2009, 05:50 PM
Check out: http://www.properautocare.com/ On the left hand sub menu, there are a few articles on proper techniques.

Also, look through YouTube. I typed in Porter Cable 7424 (Polisher I have) and got a bunch of instructional videos that came up. As recommended before, check out the detailing forums... these guys are FANATICAL and have more info than you want to know!

01-05-2009, 06:21 PM
Hey Sodar thanks...just read up on this and this was helpful.. I guess the big thing is practice and trial and error, just not on the old MC or my truck at this point....

01-05-2009, 06:34 PM
wax on..... wax off

sorry no help here.

01-05-2009, 06:37 PM
wax on..... wax off

sorry no help here.

This is just what my grandpa told me this and he is 89 years old...

01-06-2009, 10:50 AM

This is where i go when i have questions etc. I would practice on an old car or truck. One thing to note stickers, plastic get hot fast so kinda stay away from them. Also use blue tape and tape off all trim that you will be polishing next to before you even start.

TX.X-30 fan
01-06-2009, 11:16 AM
Wool polishing pads are for rubbing compounds, foam are for the finish wax. That's about all I know.

You said a mouthful there. 8p

01-06-2009, 01:05 PM
I second properautocare.com, or properboatcare.com, same company. I had tried several different brands with terrible results prior to contacting them. Then, I went with the Gelcoat Labs products and had great results. 5 year old boat brought back to brand new shine. I used the high speed polisher with a wool pad for the fine cut polish, and used a Porter Cable with a no-cut foam pad for the sealant only.

I suggest you call properautocare and they will step you through which pad to use with which machine, what speed and which product etc. Proper matching of pad and product is important. Gelcoat is a little tricky in that if you don't cut it enough, you will just dull the finish at the surface. So, it is a fine balance between cut and polish, which requires a gelcoat specific product. Don't even bother with an auto product.

As far as technique goes, tape anything that is not gelcoat, decals as mentioned above, rubrails, vinyl, etc, and I would suggest placing a drop cloth over the entire interior as a high speed will tend to throw around the polish a bit. Also, keep pressure off any sharp edges/angles of the hull as you can burn corners if you are not careful.

I like to do a small figure 8 movement, and don't ever stop moving. If you just go straight back and forth, there is a moment at each end of the stroke where you are stopping, which is not good. I also start with a little more pressure and let off on the pressure a bit as the polish breaks down to really bring out the shine.

87 TriStar 190
01-06-2009, 09:26 PM
Can one of you guys come and demo this on my boat, maybe about twice a year? Also a few cars and cycles that could use it. I have been looking at new polishers, but haven't made a decision yet. What do you recommend for brand and model?

01-06-2009, 10:54 PM
You bet! I forgot to mention--it is a ton of work!! I had ambitions of doing a full polish once a year, but have since decided maybe every 2-3. One other thing I forgot to mention is that you should remove all water spots prior to polishing. The minerals in the water spots are counter productive in the polishing process and will cause you to have to polish longer. It seems to me that the minerals do not break down like polishing abrasives do and have a sanding effect.

As to what type of polisher: I bought the Vector, it can be found at Pep Boys and properboatcare for less than $100. I have used $500 polishers in the past as reference, and I think the Vector is a good value for the money. Granted, it will likely not last as long as a DeWalt or similar, but for once to twice a year use I think it is a good buy. You will also need the proper velcro backing plate etc.--don't bother with what comes with it.

The Porter Cable is a good tool, but to me is more of an auto grade device. It works great for polishing auto clear coats, but will not adequately cut gel coat. I actually experienced that it marred the finish because it was not powerful enough to break down the polishing abrasives. However, I would still buy one since it greatly speeds the application of the sealant. Also buy the velcro backing plate for the Porter.

I know many on here have had good luck with the Porter, but it just didn't perform to my satisfaction. See the attached photo, it is low quality as it is from my camera phone but you will get the idea. Also, if you look closely, you may recognize another brand of polish--it IS NOT the brand I used to obtain this result and not one I would recommend.

01-07-2009, 09:38 AM
Brand, Flex Tool

01-07-2009, 09:57 AM
I am one of the many in line to bring my gelcoat back to life. It seems like the rotary polisher from properboatcare is a great tool. Has anyone had any experience with using air tools for this job. I have followed most of the threads on this subject, and 2500 rpm sounds like the proper speed. I have a couple pieces that will hold that rpm and are much more compact (though the air line being less flexible than a power cord sort of makes up for the smaller sized air tool). Just looking to see if there is a downside to the air tools. If I don't have to buy the polisher, I can just spend the money on something else for the boat.

01-07-2009, 03:48 PM
2500 is too fast. it will burn or leave swirls. and this is usually the case with air tools--they are too fast, and their speed changes with air pressure. you want to be around 1200 RPM and you want to have a steady speed. also, i don't know if you can buy the same backing plates for air tools.

I just noticed properboatcare has a dewalt for 199. as i mentioned, i like the vector which i think i got for 80, but a dewalt for 199 might be hard to pass up.

01-07-2009, 04:06 PM
Often time air tools spit oil and water on your work too

01-07-2009, 04:34 PM
Sounds like good old electricity is the answer. Even if I got the speed right, the small amount of oil and water would be a big problem. Thanks guys. Now if it were only more than 10 degrees outside.