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 Marine Detailing & Fabrication
 Proper Procedure for Buffing
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Author Previous Topic: Changing Anti-fouling Colours!! Topic Next Topic: Wellcraft hull help needed  

Mike Ryan

RO# 9

Posted - Jan 05 2007 :  19:24:34  Show Profile
The following is copyright of Mikes Marine Care and All rights reserved. No duplication or reproduction is permitted without prior written permission of Mikes Marine Care or
The following is information pertaining to the general process for marine detailing. Due to the vast differences in ages of the vessels and differences in gelcoat types and conditions of said vessel, we can not be correct on all issues.

Use this page as a brief overview for the proper procedure for marine detailing only; ask for the proper product types to use on your vessel before attempting.

Hand applications can achieve satisfactory results.
We prefer the use of a power buffer (non orbital types) for various reasons.
- Applies a thinner coat, making product easier to remove.
- Products coat evenly, resulting in a uniform finish.
- Clean more aggressively, removes more contaminants and
- When used properly it will remove swirl marks
(can cause swirl marks if wrong or dirty wool pads and products are used.)
It is up to the consumer to verify the level of oxidation/current state of vessel.


Compounds vary in degrees of grit/coarseness. They are used to remove heavy oxidations and deeply imbedded contaminants.
Various compounds can either be in a paste form (brushed on, heavier grit) or in liquid form (milder grits).
When using compounds, it is best to do small areas at a time; 4' x 4' is the recommended size. When using compounds, use 100% WHITE wool pad.
Apply product to hull. If using paste compound, brush evenly in a 4' x 4' area. If liquid form, apply in vertical stripes spaced 9" - 11" apart, top to bottom of area. Check product recommendation for proper RPM of the power buffer, usually between 1500-2000 RPM. While using buffer, it is important to keep it moving. Overlap your strokes by about 50% while using light pressure. When using compound it is best to leave the buffing pad flat on the surface to minimize swirl marks. While working product in, areas you have gone over in the section will be drying. Once the section is worked in, spur the pad. (spurring details below). Go back over section and remove remaining compound. When moving to
the next sections overlap previous section by 10". Continue until hull/topside is complete.


Mild compounding is the same process except you will be dealing with a liquid product of finer grit. This is used to remove mild oxidation. 100% WHITE wool pad is still used in the mild compound stage.


Polishes are used to remove slight oxidation and remove fine scratches left by the compounding stages. It is also used to remove swirl marks. Swirl marks are microscopic scratches in the gelcoat caused by many reasons i.e. washing with stiff brushes, compounding, applying or removing products with dirty or improper or otherwise harsh applicator.
Swirl marks are identifiable in direct sunlight and appear, as swirls of course, on the surface. The most noticeable region on a boat for swirl marks in the forward sections in the bow where the flair is and the front of the flying bridge topsides.
Polishes should be applied in 4' x 4' sections also, but on newer boats of certain manufactures can be applied in larger sections. Apply the polish in vertical lines spaced 12" apart.
Using a power buffer with 100% YELLOW wool pad, apply the product, working it completely in. It is best to overlap your sections and work slow. Polish restores beneficial oils to the gel coat which can prolong its shine. As you finish working the product in, spur the pad and remove from surface.


Waxing is one of the easiest ways to extend the amount of time before you need to utilize steps 1-3. There area many different variations of ways on the market. Some that are even a polish, or vise versa. The highest priced and highest quality is YELLOW Carnuba. Polymer and synthetic polymer coatings are also good, but are limited to the types of gelcoat/paint they can be used on. Teflon waxes are not what they claim to be either. DuPont, the maker of Teflon, issued this statement:
"The application of a Teflon Fluoropolymer resin does nothing to enhance the properties of a car wax. We have no data that indicates the use of Teflon is beneficial in car waxes."
Wax is best applied with the appropriate wax applicator applied in circular motions. It is best to do small sections, even as small as 2' x 2' to avoid "baking in" We do not recommend applications of 2 or more coats at a time. It is better to apply wax at more
frequent intervals to prevent oxidation. Wax the vessel every one and one half month to two months. More so in hotter, tropical regions and also salt water locations. When removing wax, always use a 100% terry cloth towel that is made in the U.S.A.

1) Spur the pad using the spur usually supplied with pad. (Tongue depressors work great for this.)
Hold as shown in photo below, apply speed.

2) Only use one product per pad to avoid contamination/mixing of products.
3) Use a NEW pad and/or a foam when trying to remove swirl marks.
Mike Ryan
Mikes Marine Care

Homeport: Lake St. Clair


RO# 20004

Posted - Jan 05 2007 :  23:22:27  Show Profile
May I print out your post for my future reference? A hard copy for my
shop files?

"Strangers are friends you haven't yet met."

Homeport: Nordland, WA Go to Top of Page

Mike Ryan

RO# 9

Posted - Jan 06 2007 :  12:40:03  Show Profile
yes, you may print it for personal use.

im gonna close this topic, so it doesnt get loaded with questions or "thanks". if you feel you need more instruction or have a question, please start a new thread

Mike Ryan
Mikes Marine Care

Edited by - Mike Ryan on Jan 31 2007 12:27:00

Homeport: Lake St. Clair Go to Top of Page
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