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Old 02-11-2016, 03:28 PM   #3
Mike Phillips
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Status: Director of Training
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 670
Default Re: Porter Cable Kit Question

Originally Posted by briggss3 View Post

2) Are 2 pads enough for me? This kit includes 1 Lake Country orange and 1 blue foam pads. That's what comes in the kit and it sounds like others talk about have all kinds of pads here and there.
The kit you bought is a good kit to get started with but here's the deal....

The way foam works is it absorbs liquid. What this means is as you work with a single foam pad it will become wet or saturated with the product you're using and as foam gets wet it becomes less effective because it becomes softer. This is especially true for foam cutting pads which is what the orange pad is.

It's nobody's fault, that's just the nature of foam.

In the car detailing world the questions comes up all the time,

How many pads do I need to buff out my car?

The above is a link that goes to my article to answer this question for the car detailing world but I don't have this article for boats but the answer is still the same.

More pads is better

This mostly applies to foam pads because realistically all it takes to buff out an entire boat with a wool pad is to keep the pad clean. Unlike foam, a wool buffing pad doesn't hold liquid like foam. Wool fibers do get wet but they don't hold any "volume" of liquid. There's a difference.

Originally Posted by briggss3 View Post

3) Do I need a wool pad for the heavier oxidized spots?
A wool pad will cut faster and producer a shinier surface but not with a Porter Cable dual action polisher. These types of polishers don't have the power to maintain pad rotation so if you do try to use a wool pad on a PC or any other FREE SPINNING dual action polisher the pad will more or less just jiggle and vibrate against the gel-coat surface and thus do nothing.

Originally Posted by briggss3 View Post

Or can I wet sand with my porter cable on a GFCI? If so, what do I need to order for wet sanding?
The answer is "yes". I just taught a boat detailing class last Saturday and in the class I taught all the guys how to use the Porter Cable 7424XP dual action polisher as a dual action sander and we machine sanded a 25" ROBALO Center Console to remove heavy oxidation.

Then we used a rotary buffer to remove the sanding marks.

Then we used a dual action polisher to remove the holograms left by the rotary buffer.

Then we used the Porter Cable to machine apply the wax to re-seal the gel-coat.

So the answer is "yes" you can use the PC to machine sand the gel-coat to remove heavy oxidation and in my how-to book and in my class I teach this as the way to work smarter, not harder.

But the PC is not powerful enough to remove sanding marks over an entire boat. For this you really need and want to use a rotary buffer with a wool pad and a compound.

The wool fibers will leave holograms in the gel-coat. the majority of the boat owning and boat detailing industry don't care about hologram scratches in the finish but I do and I don't teach people to leave scratches in the hull so what I do is teach people to remove the holograms using a dual action polisher with a foam cutting pad.

For both steps above, the key is using great abrasive technology, that is the compounds and polishes because they will determine how deep any compounding scratches are.

In my classes, on this forum and in my book I recommend the Captain's Compound because it uses really good abrasive technology so the holograms are primarily caused the the wool fibers and thus shallow and thus they buff out easy.

I know some don't care about holograms but I cannot teach people to do hack work. So each person can decide for themselves the level to which they want to finish out.

I show Mirka Abralon 6" discs to machine sand oxidized gel-coat in my classes and in my book as well as on this forum.

Originally Posted by briggss3 View Post

Or better yet, should I just use what I have in the kit and save money?
Here's what I would recommend.

Start with the orange pad and the All-in-One Gel-Coat Polish & Wax. This is a LIGHT cutting one-step cleaner/wax.

See what it will do. If it's not removing the oxidation fast enough or effectively enough then you're going to need a more aggressive product and probably more aggressive pads.

One tip I share with the entire detailing world is to place a mark on the back of your backing plate so your EYES can see if the pad is rotating when you're buffing.

Like this,

The larger the diameter of the pad and the thicker the pad the less ability the PC has to maintain pad rotation. This is especially true as the pad becomes wet with product. (see my comments above about pad saturation).

What spins best on PC or Porter Cable dual action polishers are THIN pads. Recently Autogeek introduced their own ThinPro foam pads which are very thin and thus rotate really well. You would still need more than a single pad to buff out a boat.

But try the cleaner/wax and the orange foam cutting pad and see how it does on your boat. Test a section that's in pretty good shape still and then a section that's heavily oxidized.

More to come....

Made by boat people for boat people...
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