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Old 07-13-2015, 09:58 AM   #8
Mike Phillips
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Status: Director of Training
Join Date: Apr 2013
Posts: 675
Default Re: Center Console Detailing - Test Spot

Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post

Some Observations:
1. It is extremely important to keep your pad clean. I wish I had taken the picture, but the orange pad was almost completely white after my second pass through. I'm assuming oxidation? I didn't clean my pad often enough and you can tell where a clean pad was used versus where it wasn't.
Correct, the white residue is dead, oxidized gel-coat you abraded off.

Anytime you're working on major oxidation, be it a gel-coat boat or a single stage paint job, you're going to see the color of the pigment building up on your pad and you do want to clean your pad often.

If you don't clean your pad often here's what happens,

1. You grind the removed, dead oxidized gel-coat back into the next section you buff.

2. You dilute or weaken the strength of the fresh product you use next as it mixes with the residues.

3. The resulting film you leave on the boat will become harder to wipe off and this will tire you out.

So yep... clean your pad often. In a perfect world you would clean it after each section you buff.

Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post

2. I felt like the surface of the pad and the console itself were getting extremely hot to the touch during buffing. Maybe a result of having the oxidation build up on the pad. Not sure. But once again, clean pad it IMPORTANT.
The Flex is a powerful tool. Foam cutting pads generate heat. It's normal. The good news is gel-coat is not as sensitive to heat as automotive clearcoats.

Originally Posted by jpatchley View Post

3. Working on this surface seems to be alot harder than paint to get it defect free. The oxidation comes off pretty easily, but to get a high gloss will take numerous passes. I'm wondering if using a wool pad/dedicated gel coat compound/polish would work faster and better?
Gel-coat is very different to buff than car paint. It likes wool pads on a rotary buffer to create a super high gloss shine. The downside is wool pads on a rotary will leave swirls/holograms scratches.

Gel-coat, like polishing aluminum isn't as forgiving as car paint. With car paint if you don't get the paint perfect during the compounding step you can clean it up a little more with the polishing step.

With oxidized gel-coat and aluminum you have to nail it during the first step. Less aggressive steps won't pick up the slack so to speak.

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