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  1. #61
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Why so many hours?

    After reading many of the posts in this thread I’ve got to play devils advocate and take the opposing stance. It’s both disappointing and surprising to see so many comments from people that think they can completely and properly correct paint in less than 20 hours? Some even claim to be able to do so in single digit times! Did Autopia jump the quality shark or what? I’d really love to see these outcomes in person. Obviously it comes down to the car, the client and the outcome that you’re after, but there’s literally no way to do a high-end, concours level paint correction of a normal sized car (say a Porsche 911) in less than 50 hours. Sure, you can make an overall clean & shiny impact in less time, but there’s no way you could properly correct every square inch of the outside “edge to edge” in anything less. That equates to going after every possible defect, making sure you’ve leveled them away and confirming so using multiple different light sources, mid-range polishing to remove compound marring and then final polishing to insure no pad marring is present. Then, striping the paint, deep cleaning residue in every single crack & crevice and applying an LSP. I typically spend 20+ hours cleaning, correcting & ceramic coating a set of black 911 wheels/tires on a car with very little miles. And I personally spend well beyond 200+ hours on most intense projects, but that includes complete disassembly (exterior trim, interior seats, trunk, wheels, undercarriage shields & anything else required for access). Again, what level of quality are you obtaining in less than 20 hours? You’re telling me that every surface on the car is cleaned, corrected & protected to the fullest extent possible???
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  2. #62

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    I wasn’t referring to concourse level on a car that has been Re painted with enough clear to level the paint to have no defects. My interest was how does it take that long to safely polish paint and treat both the client and the vehicle with respect. There is no reason to chase perfection on a moderately used vehicle. Dramatic improvement, yes, but chasing perfection I feel is irresponsible for a professional detailer.
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  3. #63
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Why so many hours?

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike lambert View Post
    I wasn’t referring to concourse level on a car that has been Re painted with enough clear to level the paint to have no defects. My interest was how does it take that long to safely polish paint and treat both the client and the vehicle with respect. There is no reason to chase perfection on a moderately used vehicle. Dramatic improvement, yes, but chasing perfection I feel is irresponsible for a professional detailer.
    My response wasn’t referring to a repainted car. Mostly collector grade cars or garage queens with factory original finishes. Removing 5-10 microns of paint (clear or single stage) uniformly from a normal factory paint surface is totally acceptable if it’s removed in a safe manner (low heat). Sometimes more, sometimes less. Depends on the situation, the kind of defects, how much total thickness is present and to what level of correction you’re after? Visibly removable defects typically aren’t below 15 microns in most cases. There’s no way you can remove a detrimental amount of material (more than say 15 microns from a finish measuring below 75 mils) from an entire vehicle’s surface in a short period of time (25 hours or less), Especially if that time includes correctly polishing & sealing it.

    But just for the sake of argument……what if there was an infinite amount of paint material, with moderate defects and you were after a 90%++ level of correction from the entire vehicle edge to edge. There is no way in the world you’d be able to achieve that in less than 30-40 hours. That would include prepping the surface, taping, correcting, polishing, finishing, stripping and sealing. You just couldn’t remove the needed amount of surface material without short-cycling, edging or finishing down haze free in less time or leaving a ton of defects behind.
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  4. #64

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    I agree with you on that. I believe we are addressing two different issues
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  5. #65
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Why so many hours?

    I’m simply responding to your 2 initial posts:

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike lambert View Post
    I read a lot of write ups that give discriptions of what was done and how it took 20-50 hours on the paint. Why? If you’re working on factory paint with car wash damage and swirl marks, what in the world takes so long? If you’re polishing on paint that long, you’re either using the wrong products and tools, or you’re damaging the paints expected life. Which makes you not a professional, but an amateur. So, someone give me a reasonable answer as to why.
    Thank you!
    Quote Originally Posted by Mike lambert View Post
    I’m guessing the average time I spend on the paint, not including decon is about 6-8 hours depending on the vehicle size. As far as if the client wants perfection, if you are a true professional, you would explain to them it is unreasonable to expect that. I get as close as possible without damaging the vehicle. I’m not talking about the damage you mentioned in Jim’s video. I’m talking the average damage seen from a rotary and poor washing.
    I’m reading that as paint correction for a professional detailer should take less than 10 hours and anything extravagantly more you’re either damaging paint or you don’t know what you’re doing. After doing this professionally for so many years I just don’t agree or see how someone could get anywhere close to “perfection” (fully corrected paint) in that short amount of time? Especially when I know so many people that typically spend more than 5 times that amount just correcting the exterior (not including door jambs, wheels, misc components, etc). Perhaps we are talking about 2 different things?


    Quote Originally Posted by Mike lambert View Post
    I wasn’t referring to concourse level on a car that has been Re painted with enough clear to level the paint to have no defects. My interest was how does it take that long to safely polish paint and treat both the client and the vehicle with respect. There is no reason to chase perfection on a moderately used vehicle. Dramatic improvement, yes, but chasing perfection I feel is irresponsible for a professional detailer.
    But why?? Assuming with the caveat that “perfection” on any paint is virtually impossible or unachievable, I’ll assume that we’re referring to fully corrected, swirl free and totally finished down paint when we use that term? If the client requires it, is willing to pay for it, the vehicle can withstand and greatly benefit from that level of defect removal and the detailer is able to achieve it, then why is it irresponsible? Look, I’m not trying to turn this into a combative argument in any way. And forgive me if I`ve singled you out unintentionally. I’m really intrigued that taking paint correction to the fullest extent possible could be viewed so negatively and perhaps inaccurately here? And by several people in this thread. It contradicts what this forum has always stood out for by taking things to the extreme limits.
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  6. #66

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Fermani View Post
    Obviously it comes down to the car, the client and the outcome that you’re after, but there’s literally no way to do a high-end, concours level paint correction of a normal sized car (say a Porsche 911) in less than 50 hours. Sure, you can make an overall clean & shiny impact in less time, but there’s no way you could properly correct every square inch of the outside “edge to edge” in anything less.
    I don`t do anywhere near that level of work for my own car, and the handful of paid jobs I`ve done weren`t expecting anything close to that level of work either. They wouldn`t pay for a job that takes that long nor can they be without their daily driver for anything more than a day.

    The vast majority of the population in my area rarely wash their vehicles. Even the $100K+ stuff. Those who do simply run them through the automated car wash or "splurge" for the $20 car wash where the valets dry off your car with a dirty terry cloth towel. Trying to convince someone they need a multi-day detail costing hundreds of dollars is a bridge too far. They aren`t willing to pay and simply don`t get the point. Garage queens are almost non-existent and those that are around get the turtle wax paste and cloth baby diaper treatment.

    For a daily driver, there is no way I`ll go for 100% correction, to include my own. Depending on the weather, the vehicle will be clean for no more than a few days and will need to be washed. It will be parked in public places and exposed to the elements. All of which puts it at risk for marring from a wash (none of us are perfect), wheels covered in brake dust, scratches from other people in the parking lots, water spots, bugs, snow brushes etc. All of that damage will need to be polished out again in a year or two. If you go for 100% correction every year, I`d be afraid of removing the paint in no time.

    I think it comes down to diminishing returns. I can`t justify taking my daily driver out of action to work on it for literally days when I know it will start to be dirty again the next morning I drive it to work. Heck, with my brakes, my wheels will start getting brake dust on them before I hit the first main road! Will I get the car looking great? Yes. Absolutely perfect, no. The few paying family members or friends I`ve done have been in the same frame of mind and absolutely thrilled with the work I was able to do.

    I don`t think it`s a matter of jumping the shark. If many of us had the opportunity to work on a museum piece, competition show car, or precious garage queen, there would be the same level of effort being documented. However the reality of it is most of the vehicles posted and the comments are based on a what a customer can tolerate or what we are willing to do to our own vehicles.
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  7. #67
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Why so many hours?

    Quote Originally Posted by Desertnate View Post
    I don`t think it`s a matter of jumping the shark. If many of us had the opportunity to work on a museum piece, competition show car, or precious garage queen, there would be the same level of effort being documented. However the reality of it is most of the vehicles posted and the comments are based on a what a customer can tolerate or what we are willing to do to our own vehicles.
    No doubt this forum has evolved. And to a more reserved level in many cases. I remember several years ago dozens would post knock-down-drag-out Click n Brags where the more you did to a car, the more praise you got. With these people no longer posting here, I think the level of over-the-topness has been been sterilized in a way.
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  8. #68

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    [Lengthy reply DELETED...eh, you folks have heard it all from me before ]

    You Pros have your work cut out for you educating your customers so they have realistic expectations.

    The way I`m reading the recent posts, and having followed posts by these two Autopian Pros for a while....IMO David Fermani and Mike Lambert are closer to being on the same page than it might sound

    Mike Lambert- I am *NOT* arguing with you, but I will point out that another reason for taking a long time is "every pass takes off so little clear that you have to do a lot of `em". So a gazillion-hour correction job might not be "damaging the paint" but rather avoiding that. If *every* micron of clear is critical, you don`t want to hog it off for the sake of expediency. Not that taking forever is gonna work for every Pro! Heh heh, "what`s your time worth?" comes to mind even if the customers are tolerant.

    David Fermani- Heh heh, you and I could compete for "Who Takes the Longest" (Maybe for different reasons, but still...)

    Oh, and...regarding the "Extreme" stuff, as long as it`s *NOT DAMAGING THE PAINT*, sure, have at it! But if perfection is gonna result in paint failure, then it`s a mistake, simple as that. "First do no harm" and all that...well, unless it`s gonna get repainted soon anyhow, or at least kept out of the sun.

  9. #69

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    Why so many hours??
    Because so many detailers, both professional and hobbyists, are "fixing and correcting" and to some extent, "perfecting" manufacturing flaws, dealership vehicle prep or body shop repair department mistakes or miscues, or some other hack detailers who did not know what they were doing.

    I do think, though, that both Mike lambert`s detailing of daily drivers and David Fermani`s detailing of concourse-quality cars are in two different realms of detailing expectations, and hence, time required to detail to the level of a customers` expectation for that vehicle.

    I agree with Desertnate succinct analysis of detailing about the law of diminishing returns, meaning achieving an end result for the time spent doing it. I have been let go (fired) from jobs as a CAD Technician because I "disagreed" with management or mechanical design supervisors on the level of information that needed to go a technical part drawing for manufacturing and fabrication. My name is on the drawing and if there are questions about the "completeness" of the drawing to make the part, who does the manufacturing or fab shop ask for? ME!! Not the supervisor, not the upper management. However, the time spent to get to that level took (way too much) more than was deemed "necessary". Remember this is the management and supervisory philosophy of "less is more".
    End result? We all have our own level of what each of us individually considers and judges as quality and what is "good enough". Unfortunately, the customer is only willing to pay for this much in time OR the "new less-is-more standard" is it should only take this much time to make this drawing.

    I think detailing is the same way. It is a fine line between what a customer is willing to pay and time spent to meet that expectation versus a detailers` perception of what that expectation is and their own reputation as a representation of their detailing workmanship and how much time it take to achieve that.

    Side note: One of my favorite quotes is from a now-deceased elder in my church: ""Reputation is what the world knows me by; character is what God knows me by"
    GB detailer
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  10. #70
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Why so many hours?

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    [Lengthy reply DELETED...eh, you folks have heard it all from me before ]

    You Pros have your work cut out for you educating your customers so they have realistic expectations.

    The way I`m reading the recent posts, and having followed posts by these two Autopian Pros for a while....IMO David Fermani and Mike Lambert are closer to being on the same page than it might sound

    Mike Lambert- I am *NOT* arguing with you, but I will point out that another reason for taking a long time is "every pass takes off so little clear that you have to do a lot of `em". So a gazillion-hour correction job might not be "damaging the paint" but rather avoiding that. If *every* micron of clear is critical, you don`t want to hog it off for the sake of expediency. Not that taking forever is gonna work for every Pro! Heh heh, "what`s your time worth?" comes to mind even if the customers are tolerant.

    David Fermani- Heh heh, you and I could compete for "Who Takes the Longest" (Maybe for different reasons, but still...)

    Oh, and...regarding the "Extreme" stuff, as long as it`s *NOT DAMAGING THE PAINT*, sure, have at it! But if perfection is gonna result in paint failure, then it`s a mistake, simple as that. "First do no harm" and all that...well, unless it`s gonna get repainted soon anyhow, or at least kept out of the sun.
    Great points (as usual). My main disagreement is this rationale of thinking:

    “ If you’re working on factory paint with car wash damage and swirl marks, what in the world takes so long? If you’re polishing on paint that long, you’re either using the wrong products and tools, or you’re damaging the paints expected life.”

    Case in point....I just finished up doing a full detail on a $2.5M ultra rare Porsche. All original paint with extremely low paint readings. Most of the car had thickness readings below 3 mils with a very large portion below 2 mils. Lows in the 1.3 Mil range!! Most people would automatically be thinking “glaze it up and ship it”. Unfortunately, that wasn’t an option. The customers expectation was to go after every possible defect and make it look the best it can. He’s got one of the most valuable collection of Porsches in the world. With that said, extreme caution and care had to be used to correct this paint. One mistake could mean a $50,000 mistake and a loss in value well into the 6 figure$. Guess what....I spent well over 75 hours just correcting paint (compounding, polishing & sealing). Over 200 hours overall. There’s no way you could safely take a heavy compound/pad to this paint without digging into it too deeply. You had to literally short cycle each and every buffing step to check/assess your results. This stuff takes time and cannot be rushed. I just don’t think people quite understand how time can add up in these types of details.
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  11. #71
    Amateur detailer 01GreyStangGT's Avatar
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    Re: Why so many hours?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Fermani View Post
    No doubt this forum has evolved. And to a more reserved level in many cases. I remember several years ago dozens would post knock-down-drag-out Click n Brags where the more you did to a car, the more praise you got. With these people no longer posting here, I think the level of over-the-topness has been been sterilized in a way.
    I miss the click and brags. It was fun to watch and made me want to do what those guys did for my cars.
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  12. #72

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    As a side note to this topic and related to my discussion above about the ubiquitous business time-management philosophy of "less-is-more" monetary profits, I have wrongly dissed new and used car/vehicle dealership detailers for turning out less-than-acceptable detailing workmanship (at least to my perception of what is quality detailing), when in fact, it is not their fault. They have been given only so much time to finish the detailing task, and couple that with "average-quality" bulk detailing products or minimal equipment and training in its proper application and use, respectively, is it any wonder about the end results we see on vehicle -sales lots. Not all car lots are like that, however, but for the most part , the vehicles are clean-up to look good enough as "presentable for sale". Not concourse-quality or even show-car quality, but presentable (at least to the non-Autopian car-buying public). As I have said before, there are many of you Autopian detailers, both professional and hobbyist, who make a living or side money, respectively, perfecting such vehicle for the discriminate vehicle owner who wants their vehicle to look "perfect". And I think from this thread discussion, it is apparent that "perfection" is definitely related to the perception of the customer and their specific type of vehicle detailing work is being done on, and how much money the customer is willing to spend to achieve that "perfection", which determines the time spent detailing such a vehicle. It is also apparent that "cost is no object" to "flat-rate package detail" and the level of the detailers` expertise, equipment, and products used will also determine that cost and time spent.

    ANOTHER side note: A "few" years ago my motto was, "I`ve got more time than money" , but now that I have officially joined the ranks of "the retired", my new motto is, " At my age now I don`t even buy green bananas", implying that because of my frugality I might died before I get a chance to eat the bananas before they ripen. (Pretty bad, cheapsake Captain Obvious, when you have to explain your old-age motto! Just sayin`...)
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  13. #73

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    David Fermani- That Porsche you mentioned sounds just like my `93 Audi: "what to do when the clear is already over-thinned or even gone?" The (minimal) correction I did on it took *FOREVER* for the exact reasons you spent so long on that one. And now every wash takes forever as I just *can`t* afford to mar it again.

    Maybe it`s simply a "special case vs. normal situation" difference, at least for those of us working on something where a few seconds of excessive abrasion will result in an oops!" that`dl simply *RUIN* a given vehicle.

    I could be completely wrong, but I bet that you and Mike Lambert would approach some vehicles (e.g., that Porsche and my `93) about the same, and that Mike would put in an unusual (for him) number of hours doing the same kind of job that you did. Hey, what else *can* ya do in cases like that, other than turn the job down or, as you mentioned, just glaze it up repeatedly (which can indeed be the *right* solution some times).

    Lonnie- Yeah..how one views the Time Factor can indeed change over time. I`m confident that in my last moments of Life, I won`t be wishing I`d spent more time Detailing some vehicle, but sure...that`s just me and sigh, I guess it`s more of my Autopian Heresy I even begrudge the time it takes to wash `em the way I do, but I *must* do that or face the alternative of buying new vehicles when my neglect kills the the current ones.

  14. #74
    Forza Auto Salon David Fermani's Avatar
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    Re: Why so many hours?

    Quote Originally Posted by 01GreyStangGT View Post
    I miss the click and brags. It was fun to watch and made me want to do what those guys did for my cars.
    Yeah, Todd Helme being the OG of hardcore CnB`s that made everyone up their game. A lot of the stuff now is just a low grade copy of his style. We still work together several times per year and big projects and he`s even more anal as he`s got older.

    Quote Originally Posted by Accumulator View Post
    David Fermani- That Porsche you mentioned sounds just like my `93 Audi: "what to do when the clear is already over-thinned or even gone?" The (minimal) correction I did on it took *FOREVER* for the exact reasons you spent so long on that one. And now every wash takes forever as I just *can`t* afford to mar it again.
    The Porsche had virgin paint that was only buffed initially by the factory back in the 90`s. Because its basically a race car (for the street), they typically don`t put a lot of paint on them for weight reasons. This, in itself, makes for a whole new set of challenges. Especially when you can see barely any paint on the edges. I always say its safer to chop a tree down with a butter knifer than it is with a chainsaw.
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  15. #75

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    Re: Why so many hours?

    David Fermani- Ah, OK...that reminds me of how Mallett only used primer on some of his `vettes for weight savings (yeah, seriously). Whenever it`s *that* fragile a paintjob, for whatever reason, I go with your "use a butter knife" analogy.

    TBH, and I sure don`t mean to offend anybody ("..so step away from the keyboard, [Accumulator].." ), the extreme C&Bs always made me think about long-term consequences. Theal and I used to get into it about that all the time (which was OK since we`re pals and neither of us took offense). Hey, different perspectives/concerns/people...

 

 
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