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  1. #1
    Just a regular guy Todd@RUPES's Avatar
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    Why do we polish a section at a time?

    Why do we polish a section at a time?

    Walk into numerous body shops and detail centers around the country you may be shocked (horrified) to witness them drawing a line of polish over the entire car. This line of polish polish looks like a vector in a treasure map, running over body seams, down panels, zig-zagging over the hood, and back to the beginning.

    Usually the whole car is polished in one, super long, hyper-extended, section. The polish is then rubbed/scrubbed off and the vehicle is shipped out the door.

    There is no doubt that this is a fast way of doing this, but it got me thinking, why don`t we `teach` that as proper technique....


    Focused results are good results

    When you polish too large of a section, you have to focus on too much at a time. If your goal is high quality paint correction, then focusing on a small section and paying attention to every detail in the section is going to yield the best results.

    I can remember a 458 Ferrari that I wet sanded. The owner demanded perfection (and it was delivered). I could have slathered the entire Ferrari in compound and buffed until all of the paint had shine. But in direct sunlight there would have been plenty of evidence that the paint had been sanded (tracer markers, rids, deep scratches, ect). Instead, focusing on a 2 x 2 section at a time, and ensuring that all of the marks have been removed from that section guaranteed perfection.


    Polishes dry out

    Polishing a large section (or an entire car) works against the way polishers are made. Polishers are abrasive material held in a suspension (either oil or water) that will evaporate. When you polish a large section, let`s say the entire length of a hood, the outer most area may begin to dry before you can swing the polisher back over it. Dry polish doesn`t work well. The abrasives may dust away (reducing cutting power) while the lack of lubrication will increase marring, giving you the worst of both worlds.

    Any detailer who has fixed poor work may have been astounded that the paint was covered in hologram/buffer swirl marks, yet all of the deep paint defects were still there. How can somebody buff the paint and ruin it, with out fixing anything? Here is one good reason why this happens.


    Pad`s get dirty!

    As you are polishing paint, you are removing trace amounts of paint residue which get mixed into the polish slurry on your pad and the paint. Paint trace residue (PTR) has several negative effects on the polishing process:

    • It can act as an adhesive that clumps the abrasives together. This causes uneven cutting (deep buffer swirl marks).
    • It will cause the polish to dry out faster (increase surface areas of solids).
    • It can gum up wool and fiber pads.



    Additionally, if you are polishing a huge section (or the entire car) in one extended pass, think of the dirt, dust, and grime that is landing on the paint in the meantime. Any foreign contamination has the potential to be very abrasive. Polishing the paint a small section at a time gives you the ability to clean each panel (or inspect it) as you go.


    Slow down to go faster

    Ultimately, polishes have a finite work time. If speed is the primary concern vs. quality, the polishing large panels at a time (or even the whole car) can save valuable minutes at the sacrifice of quality. If your goal is to turn out a truly high-quality finish, then slowing down, keeping each section clean, and working the polish in a manner it was designed to will yield the best results.

  2. #2
    Rasky's Auto Detailing RaskyR1's Avatar
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    re: Why do we polish a section at a time?

    Nice thread Todd!


    This reminds me of the high volume days were some of the guys would lay down strips of Phase Glaze (Car Brite polish) over the whole car and start going at it. I would laugh when they would later see that the polish had actually stained the white paint they were working on after sitting on it for so long!

  3. #3
    AMG Classic Car Detailing Old Pirate's Avatar
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    re: Why do we polish a section at a time?

    That`s the way they alot of shops are, run the wheel as fast as they can and bring the next one.
    AutopiaForums is the place to be.
    Remember to Shop Autopia-CarCare.com for your Detailing Needs!

  4. #4

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    re: Why do we polish a section at a time?

    I remember that POST from PAC. Dark 458 if not black where you took paint reading evey few inches before and after wet sanding and polishing. That was a Beauty and the car wasn`t bad either!

  5. #5
    BobbyG's Avatar
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    re: Why do we polish a section at a time?

    Todd, so true!!


    BobbyG

  6. #6
    Just a regular guy Todd@RUPES's Avatar
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    re: Why do we polish a section at a time?

    Quote Originally Posted by RaskyR1 View Post
    Nice thread Todd!


    This reminds me of the high volume days were some of the guys would lay down strips of Phase Glaze (Car Brite polish) over the whole car and start going at it. I would laugh when they would later see that the polish had actually stained the white paint they were working on after sitting on it for so long!
    We used to do this with 3M Pink "Fill N Glaze". Only we slathered it on the car with paint brushes (seriously)


    Quote Originally Posted by JSFM35X View Post
    I remember that POST from PAC. Dark 458 if not black where you took paint reading evey few inches before and after wet sanding and polishing. That was a Beauty and the car wasn`t bad either!
    Thanks Jeff. I actually turned down 3 jobs similar to that. Almost 70 hours in 5 days of just staring at black paint...

    Quote Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
    Todd, so true!!
    Thanks Bobby!

  7. #7
    Just One More Coat Beemerboy's Avatar
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    re: Why do we polish a section at a time?

    Nice write up

    I have always worked in small sections to ensure control over the polish and surface. It also allowed me to check my work as I moved over the entire car, making sure that I am getting the desired results.
    Old Enough To Know Better, Too Stupid To Care....

    Dave`s Detailing
    Sonoma County, CA

 

 

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