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Discussion Starter #1
Does anyone use Craftsman buffer? I got this one just to get me started on using machine buffers.
I want some advice on which pads to use in applying compound (3M fine cut compound) and the Meguiars glaze # 7. Right now I only have those cotton bonnets which came with the machine.
Also, is the glaze a good follow up to the compound?
Thanks.
 

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If it's the kind that bops up and down and spins in uneven circles, I wouldn't use it with compound. These type I described are great for applying a more even coat of wax but compounds work with high speed buffers.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the advice.
I just have to apply my compound by hand then. So, my "toy" buffer is good in applying my glaze, after compounding, right?
Sorry for the dumb questions. I am still saving for a Porter Cable so don't have the proper equipment yet.
 

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1987 420 SEL
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I would practice and get use to using the machine. With a buffer you can end up doing more damage to your paint if not careful. Apply a little and then buff off a little until you get the hang of it. Do not stay in one area for too long.[8D]
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Prochambers - 2/24/2005 8:29 AM

I would practice and get use to using the machine. With a buffer you can end up doing more damage to your paint if not careful. Apply a little and then buff off a little until you get the hang of it. Do not stay in one area for too long.[8D]
Thanks.
Ok I will practice a small area first. Which pads do I use? Are my cotton bonnets good enough, or should I get a wool one?
Also, just making sure, fine cut compound first, then follow with glaze is okay? I also plan to finish it off with my mothers carnauba paste wax.
 

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Here is a link that explains quite a bit about cleaning, waxing and detailing your car.

http://www.autopia-carcare.com/

Hope this helps!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Prochambers - 2/25/2005 8:02 AM

Here is a link that explains quite a bit about cleaning, waxing and detailing your car.

http://www.autopia-carcare.com/

Hope this helps!
Thanks for the link.

I will read more on this website and hopefully gain some knowledge.
I will try to post some pics of my detailing soon.
 

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1989 W201.029/M103 3.0
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Hiya, I've been detailing cars for almost 20 yrs now. Started off young, in dealerships and have worked every kind through to the various prestige dealers, private detailing workshops and paintshops over the years, the latter where I did denibbing and paint finishing (also some prep but that's heading somewhere else).

I've mucked around with all sorts of products and equipment and found what works best for me, what gets the best finishes and what gives me a top reputation in this area.
With the right gear you can make a faded/scratched 1985 era bootlid or bonnet look like it was just sprayed...assuming there's some meat on the panel to work with (we're talking mercs here, right?).

I like to spend a minimum of two hours with the buff and that's going it hard. Give me four or five if I've got to break the 1200-2000 wet & dry out.
I can spend a couple of days on one car with the buff in my hand easy...but months later your car will still look almost surreal in its glow...like gecko's couldn't grip it to stop sliding off.

First thing to know is buffing compounds come in all varieties and the primary consideration is grade quality. They work like sandpaper. 4000, 6000, 8000, that sort of thing. Look up a brand called Festool for this form of grading system, en par with paper grades. Best way to go coz it's nice and specific.

On the simpler level, there's your hard, abrasive compounds, your medium cutters, your finishing compounds of various grades.

Then there's your various grade buffing pads. Get with the new world here and go with the foam pads. A new foam pad is the best in my opinion, of any. 3M is a nice quality for these and come in a white compounding pad and a black polishing pad.
Sure there's a world of pads out there but I've never needed to use any but these two and get crappy jobs from all sorts of other ones.

Use a medium-abrasive cutters like 3-4000 grade with the white pad at 3-4000rpm. Then remove the swirls with a nice 8000 grade finishing materiel on the black pad at 2500rpm.
Always keep the pad rotating away from, rather than into edges and keep the buff pad square against the panel, but use light pressure as needed at the top half of the pad.

Practise makes perfect but your 3M foam pads are among the most forgiving and effective. I disdain everything else I've worked with in preference.

When done, any non-residual wax is best. Not too chalky but that's better than waxy. I hate residue and all it does is ruin a nice buff job, by either making you scratch it all over again trying to get all the waxy residue off or scrape wax that's more like chewing gum than polish to remove. Do the work with the buff and basic, run o' the mill, low residue and easy to remove polish by hand, to clean the finished product rather than "wax" or "seal" it.
Sorry, I know some are into "wax" but it's...just not my bag, baby. If you're going to go that far you may as well pay the extra for a proper, teflon based polish (spray painters might string you up though).

Use moist applicator pads and soft, flanel nappies for the polish stage (note I said polish, not wax, just in case you forgot my preference). All this is meant to do is final clean after the >>gentle<< soapy wash off, after the two stage buff-cut/soapy-wash/buff-finish.

When you get really good with the buff, use 10000 grade finishing materiel for that finish cats slide off of, but note that it is harder to finish with and get looking like it should than 8000, which is an excellent compromise worthy of top line, prestige panel shops, done properly.


Oops, I almost forgot. As the foam pads get clogged up with cutters (remember to be a minimalist with finishing materiels and black pad here, but be generous with medium cutters and the white one), wash them off. Shake 'em dry and give 'em a dry spin to get much of the water back out of them and keep going. I'll usually wash a pad a few times as I go.
So don't think you're doing it wrong if you find you get part way through and the finish is no longer coming up right...it's usually just a hint to wash the pad, those foam units really just about do the job themselves, you're just there to guide the process. Let the buff do the work and be conscious of pressure and heating the paint too much. More here, less there, lift up the buff if you're on one spot for a bit and run the back of your hand over the paint to see how hot you're getting it..

You'll get it.
[:)]
 

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Vanir, terrific post.

I sprayed my w116 myself (two-pack), generating lots of imperfections. I used 1200 & 1600 on a DA sander to flat it off, and then Farecla G7 and their finer grades to finish off.

My question is this: it took a truly massive amount of effort to do this, much more so than when using cellulose. Is there any way of reducing the time by using another combination of abrasives, or some other approach? I'm doing my w123 next, so it would help me out a lot.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
vanir, thanks a lot for the very informative post.
i will try polishing my merc this weekend, hopefully.
will try to post pics on how it turns out.
from melbourne, huh? a fellow aussie i gather?
sorry mate, i used to live in sydney.

thanks again mate.
 

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jjl - 2/28/2005 4:15 AM

Vanir, terrific post.

I sprayed my w116 myself (two-pack), generating lots of imperfections. I used 1200 & 1600 on a DA sander to flat it off, and then Farecla G7 and their finer grades to finish off.

My question is this: it took a truly massive amount of effort to do this, much more so than when using cellulose. Is there any way of reducing the time by using another combination of abrasives, or some other approach? I'm doing my w123 next, so it would help me out a lot.
Sorry mate, I haven't peeked into this thread for a bit.
CLK's and Alfas was all we seemed to do at the prestige panel shop I worked last. Merc factory paint mixing is nice to work with and so long as you give it plenty of time to harden before taking down unsealed roads, a top finish compared to others (BMW, etc.) in the long run.

There's only one way to get one looking the way it should for me. I get my sheets of 2000 and my little aluminium block, a very well lit workshop area complete with extra light stands and search out the imperfections one by one. Use plenty of water on the paper and wear down spots rather than sand them as such. The trick is not to tear the new paint but to gently wear it with the grade of paper. Start with a gentle, very well lubricated and *no pressure* blocking just above the nib (er..paint pimple, bit of hair or whatnot), just a little two-inch area and *along* the panel (use a bit of judgement here but along the panel as much as possible or you'll regret it in a few months). Now this is going to show up after you've buffed as a depression and sanding mark.
So after you've blocked that nib by wearing it out, you then hold the weight of the block/paper so that it barely even touches the paint and *gently* feather out the blocked area in a circular motion. The very wet paper should barely touch the paint. You should not be able to determine individual sanding scratches, it should just look like an area of matt finish a few inches across where you've carefully blocked the nib.
By the way you won't know if you got it all until it's buffed. It looks gone, you buff it, there's the nib again. You get used to that.

It's a bit of mucking around until you get the hang of blocking your nibs but as you get into it you'll agree it's the only way. We used to use little air driven sanders and they're great once you get the hang of them and have three or four cars waiting to be done. But you've still gotta go over the paint by hand with a block afterwards so it's easier just to do that from the start and spend the extra time.
The difference in finish is...well our CLK's just somehow looked much nicer when they went out the door than the factory.

Good old fashioned panel blocking large sections is where you're going to get your paint peel right. Pick on section of panel and get it to the finish you want right over the car and then use a large wooden block/1600-2000 paper, very wet and always along the panel to get the rest of the car just like it. It's sometimes good to grade the peel to get smoother towards the top of the car, plenty of Mercs are sprayed like this from the factory because baby smooth lower panels just look scratched up much quicker than a bit of natural peel to hide it with.
I'm sure you do that already but I just thought I'd mention.

When you're buffing the sanding marks out, I like the medium gade cutters with the new paint, around 3-4000 grade. Essentially no harsher than if you're doing a quality cut and polish on your wife's basically good condition car.
I only break out the harsh grade cutters (the pastey stuff in tins and heavy grade bottles), when I've gotta sand and finish old paint that's rock hard to begin with. Or someone wants their dodge/renault/toyota buffed.

The trick with buffing here and again there's no other way for me, is straight out pressure. You just gotta put enough pressure on the buff that you're going to pop the panels inside out. Weaker buffs simply break (that's why they call them polishing buffs). Too much friction from the amount of sheer pressure you're putting on them and their motors burn out in about half an hour.
What can I say. You don't end up 500lbs denibbing cars for a living.
So watch your paint temperature, watch your edges and use the 3M abrasive foam pads (the white one). Use stacks of cutters and wash the pad probably every panel or second panel. Just keep going over it 'till you get it right. Do small sections. And as the nibs you thought you blocked out reappear, block 'em again and buff 'em again.

Of course less pressure without baked paint (but still some). Use about 3500rpm but if you're real confident, closer to 5000rpm.
Be a bit brutal. Crack a tinny on a break, shout a little and kick something to get in the swing of it. Call it a bitch and "oh yeah baby" as the finish starts to come up. Be expressive.

Then your 8000-10,000 grade swirl remover/finishing materiel and a black polishing pad. Light pressure, let the buff do the work and be prepared to spend a leisurely amount of time doing this part coz it's the bit where you get the paint so there's not one single scratch anywhere.
Our bosses used to check every single car out in sunlight prior to delivery and no scratch whatsoever was acceptable. We'd bring the car back in and rebuff it, and rebuff, and rebuff.

Your white finishing materiel (10,000 grade and better), is hard to work with but leaves solid black so fine it looks grey until you stand back and let the surrounding vegetation reflect off it sharp black. Cats will be falling off the bonnet for years.
Grey liquid swirl removers (8,000 grade typically) are much easier to work with and leave a finish slightly better than factory. No scratches and it looks like someone's done something special to the car. Splattered bugs wipe off with ease on a nice finish.

And you'll be able to win an arm wrestle with someone twice your size to boot.
[:)]
 
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