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Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 25th 10, 04:03 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 797
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

I ended up clear-coating a wooden vanity top with multiple layers of
West Systems epoxy resin and clear coat hardener.

While the clear coat is beautiful and high gloss, no matter how hard I
tried, I ended up with some dust specs in the top layer (and according
to West tech support that is quite common due to the long drying time).

I was wondering whether I could sand out the dust "pimples" and then by
using progressively finer sandpaper or buffing pads restore the gloss
finish.

So specifically,
- Can the gloss be restored by sufficiently fine sandpaper grits (I have
up to 3000) and/or by buffing?

- Will (hand) sanding alone be sufficient by using sufficiently high
grits or do I need to use an orbital buffer/polisher?

- If buffing/polishing is necessary, how would you go about it? (what
types of pads and/or polishes and buffing compounds)

Thanks

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  #2  
Old March 25th 10, 06:34 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 2,090
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

use an orbital buffer/polisher?

- If buffing/polishing is necessary, how would you go about it? (what
* types of pads and/or polishes and buffing compounds)

Thanks


Havn't done it myself but all my reading says buffing is the last step
for gloss. I just spray it wet and it looks good enough for me. Search
on "buffing lacquer" or something like that and you'll fond lot's o'
good info. Epoxy should respond in the same way generally I assume.
  #3  
Old March 26th 10, 02:30 AM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 4,925
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

blueman wrote:

So specifically,
- Can the gloss be restored by sufficiently fine sandpaper grits (I
have up to 3000) and/or by buffing?


Yes, but there is no need to go beyond 1000 grit before switching over to
compounds. Wet sand it to keep grit from building up in the paper. Use a
foam block to keep an even pressure and avoid gouges from finger pressure.


- Will (hand) sanding alone be sufficient by using sufficiently high
grits or do I need to use an orbital buffer/polisher?


Hand sanding is just fine. Orbitals are fine as well. I've we sanded more
cars than I can count, by hand.


- If buffing/polishing is necessary, how would you go about it? (what
types of pads and/or polishes and buffing compounds)


Knock the dust nibs down with 1000 grit wet. Get the surface as smooth as
you want it and switch over to any rubbing compound you like. Automotive
rubbing compounds should work just fine. Use a medium cut rubbing compound
and if you want, go over that with a swirl mark remover. Use a soft cloth
and some elbow grease with the rubbing compound and less elbow grease with
the swirl mark remover. You can of course, use a buffer as well, but be
careful - it's easy to burn through even tough finishes with a buffer.

--

-Mike-



  #4  
Old April 2nd 10, 03:11 AM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 797
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

"Mike Marlow" writes:
blueman wrote:

So specifically,
- Can the gloss be restored by sufficiently fine sandpaper grits (I
have up to 3000) and/or by buffing?


Yes, but there is no need to go beyond 1000 grit before switching over to
compounds. Wet sand it to keep grit from building up in the paper. Use a
foam block to keep an even pressure and avoid gouges from finger pressure.


- Will (hand) sanding alone be sufficient by using sufficiently high
grits or do I need to use an orbital buffer/polisher?


Hand sanding is just fine. Orbitals are fine as well. I've we sanded more
cars than I can count, by hand.


- If buffing/polishing is necessary, how would you go about it? (what
types of pads and/or polishes and buffing compounds)


Knock the dust nibs down with 1000 grit wet. Get the surface as smooth as
you want it and switch over to any rubbing compound you like. Automotive
rubbing compounds should work just fine. Use a medium cut rubbing compound
and if you want, go over that with a swirl mark remover. Use a soft cloth
and some elbow grease with the rubbing compound and less elbow grease with
the swirl mark remover. You can of course, use a buffer as well, but be
careful - it's easy to burn through even tough finishes with a buffer.


Thanks to all for the helpful advice.

I ended up doing the following:

1. Applied about 6 coats of West System 105 Resin with 207 Clear coat
hardener using a dense foam roller. However as mentioned above, the
roller itself seems to have deposited random fine nibs. I estimate
that the total final thickness was about 30-40 mils. Finish was
applied to all sides including the top, bottom, and sink cutout area.

2. Started sanding at 220 which was enough to knock down the specks and
smooth out imperfections

3. Wet sanded up to 3000 in increments as follows:
220-320-400-600-800-1200-1500-2000-2500-3000
Probably way overkill but I had the sandpaper from my "Scary Sharp"
method of sharpening steel

Note at this point the top was perfectly smooth but the finish was still
quite dull (though uniformly so without any visible sanding marks)

4. Switched to a power buffer with a wool bonnet (bought for about $25
at Harbor Freight)
At first I tried various colored buffing compound sticks but they did
absolutely nothing (probably because very little compound seemed to
transfer to the bonnet from these hard sticks -- perhaps I was doing
something wrong...)

So I switched to Automotive rubbing & polishing compound (given that
I had already sanded up to 3000 grit, I found that I could start
with the polishing compound and skip the rubbing compound). The
compounds come as loose pastes that I applied quite liberally to the
vanity surface before buffing.

I ended up buffing at the highest speed (~3000 rpm) after gradually
ramping up and testing for damage. Note that the buffer never seemed
to damage or dig into the coating too much even with some pressure
and even with extensive buffing - probably due to the hardness of the
epoxy. So, while I was careful, the epoxy coating seemed to be pretty
power buffer friendly. Of course, I kept the buffer moving to avoid
swirl marks.

I continued to buff for a while, occassionally adding water to the
top to keep it damp and to help wash away the polishing compound.

5. Finally, I cleaned the top with water and a soft rag.

After this the top was BEAUTIFUL and clear like glass -- in fact, if
anything the biggest compliment (and maybe criticism) is that it looks
like glass and not like the wood people are used to from projects.

However, I think it is still less shiny and sparkling than the
absolutely crystal clear reflective finish from the original epoxy
topcoat. But since the entire top has been polished uniformly, one
doesn't notice that. And it probably looks richer to not have a
mirror-like reflecting surface that catches all the glare.

  #5  
Old April 2nd 10, 04:01 AM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 4,925
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

blueman wrote:


I ended up doing the following:

1. Applied about 6 coats of West System 105 Resin with 207 Clear coat
hardener using a dense foam roller. However as mentioned above, the
roller itself seems to have deposited random fine nibs. I estimate
that the total final thickness was about 30-40 mils. Finish was
applied to all sides including the top, bottom, and sink cutout
area.


You'll soon want to get past that damned roller. Stick around long enough
and we'll have a spray gun in your hand.



2. Started sanding at 220 which was enough to knock down the specks
and smooth out imperfections


I see you are a glutton for punishiment...


3. Wet sanded up to 3000 in increments as follows:
220-320-400-600-800-1200-1500-2000-2500-3000
Probably way overkill but I had the sandpaper from my "Scary Sharp"
method of sharpening steel


Oh stop - you just wanted to do all those steps. Woodworkers can be that
way. Can't tell them a damned thing...



4. Switched to a power buffer with a wool bonnet (bought for about $25
at Harbor Freight)
At first I tried various colored buffing compound sticks but they
did absolutely nothing (probably because very little compound
seemed to transfer to the bonnet from these hard sticks -- perhaps
I was doing something wrong...)


See - ya wouldn't just listen to me, would ya?


So I switched to Automotive rubbing & polishing compound (given that
I had already sanded up to 3000 grit, I found that I could start
with the polishing compound and skip the rubbing compound). The
compounds come as loose pastes that I applied quite liberally to the
vanity surface before buffing.


Yeah - but it takes more work. I'd have hit it with a medium to fine
rubbing compound and then just cleaned it up (if even necessary) with a
swirl mark remover.


I ended up buffing at the highest speed (~3000 rpm) after gradually
ramping up and testing for damage. Note that the buffer never seemed
to damage or dig into the coating too much even with some pressure
and even with extensive buffing - probably due to the hardness of
the epoxy. So, while I was careful, the epoxy coating seemed to be
pretty power buffer friendly. Of course, I kept the buffer moving
to avoid swirl marks.


On flats that's ok. Just be carefule around edges. Even that epoxy finish
will succomb to a buffer around edges. The worst thing you can do with a
buffer is to become overconfident. That only happens once... in a while...


After this the top was BEAUTIFUL and clear like glass -- in fact, if
anything the biggest compliment (and maybe criticism) is that it looks
like glass and not like the wood people are used to from projects.


Oh - what the hell do they know?


However, I think it is still less shiny and sparkling than the
absolutely crystal clear reflective finish from the original epoxy
topcoat. But since the entire top has been polished uniformly, one
doesn't notice that. And it probably looks richer to not have a
mirror-like reflecting surface that catches all the glare.


Picky, picky, picky.

Glad to hear it came up nice for you.

--

-Mike-



  #6  
Old April 2nd 10, 04:07 AM posted to rec.woodworking
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 2,090
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

On Apr 1, 7:11*pm, blueman wrote:
"Mike Marlow" writes:
blueman wrote:


So specifically,
- Can the gloss be restored by sufficiently fine sandpaper grits (I
*have up to 3000) and/or by buffing?


Yes, but there is no need to go beyond 1000 grit before switching over to
compounds. *Wet sand it to keep grit from building up in the paper. *Use a
foam block to keep an even pressure and avoid gouges from finger pressure.


- Will (hand) sanding alone be sufficient by using sufficiently high
*grits or do I need to use an orbital buffer/polisher?


Hand sanding is just fine. *Orbitals are fine as well. *I've we sanded more
cars than I can count, by hand.


- If buffing/polishing is necessary, how would you go about it? (what
*types of pads and/or polishes and buffing compounds)


Knock the dust nibs down with 1000 grit wet. *Get the surface as smooth as
you want it and switch over to any rubbing compound you like. *Automotive
rubbing compounds should work just fine. *Use a medium cut rubbing compound
and if you want, go over that with a swirl mark remover. *Use a soft cloth
and some elbow grease with the rubbing compound and less elbow grease with
the swirl mark remover. *You can of course, use a buffer as well, but be
careful - it's easy to burn through even tough finishes with a buffer.


Thanks to all for the helpful advice.

I ended up doing the following:

1. Applied about 6 coats of West System 105 Resin with 207 Clear coat
* *hardener using a dense foam roller. However as mentioned above, the
* *roller itself seems to have deposited random fine nibs. I estimate
* *that the total final thickness was about 30-40 mils. Finish was
* *applied to all sides including the top, bottom, and sink cutout area.

2. Started sanding at 220 which was enough to knock down the specks and
* *smooth out imperfections

3. Wet sanded up to 3000 in increments as follows:
* *220-320-400-600-800-1200-1500-2000-2500-3000
* *Probably way overkill but I had the sandpaper from my "Scary Sharp"
* *method of sharpening steel

Note at this point the top was perfectly smooth but the finish was still
quite dull (though uniformly so without any visible sanding marks)

4. Switched to a power buffer with a wool bonnet (bought for about $25
* *at Harbor Freight)
* *At first I tried various colored buffing compound sticks but they did
* *absolutely nothing (probably because very little compound seemed to
* *transfer to the bonnet from these hard sticks -- perhaps I was doing
* *something wrong...)

* *So I switched to Automotive rubbing & polishing compound (given that
* *I had already sanded up to 3000 grit, I found that I could start
* *with the polishing compound and skip the rubbing compound). The
* *compounds come as loose pastes that I applied quite liberally to the
* *vanity surface before buffing.

* *I ended up buffing at the highest speed (~3000 rpm) after gradually
* *ramping up and testing for damage. Note that the buffer never seemed
* *to damage or dig into the coating too much even with some pressure
* *and even with extensive buffing - probably due to the hardness of the
* *epoxy. So, while I was careful, the epoxy coating seemed to be pretty
* *power buffer friendly. Of course, I kept the buffer moving to avoid
* *swirl marks.

* *I continued to buff for a while, occassionally adding water to the
* *top to keep it damp and to help wash away the polishing compound.

5. Finally, I cleaned the top with water and a soft rag.

After this the top was BEAUTIFUL and clear like glass -- in fact, if
anything the biggest compliment (and maybe criticism) is that it looks
like glass and not like the wood people are used to from projects.

However, I think it is still less shiny and sparkling than the
absolutely crystal clear reflective finish from the original epoxy
topcoat. But since the entire top has been polished uniformly, one
doesn't notice that. And it probably looks richer to not have a
mirror-like reflecting surface that catches all the glare.- Hide quoted text -

- Show quoted text -


Super cool. We demand pictures!!!
  #7  
Old April 4th 10, 08:37 PM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 797
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

"Mike Marlow" writes:

blueman wrote:


I ended up doing the following:

1. Applied about 6 coats of West System 105 Resin with 207 Clear coat
hardener using a dense foam roller. However as mentioned above, the
roller itself seems to have deposited random fine nibs. I estimate
that the total final thickness was about 30-40 mils. Finish was
applied to all sides including the top, bottom, and sink cutout
area.


You'll soon want to get past that damned roller. Stick around long enough
and we'll have a spray gun in your hand.


I recently picked up the "high quality/high price" HVLP gun at HF which
had decent reviews and I assume corresponds to a low end hopefully
acceptable non-HF brand

However, I haven't had the time/guts to try it yet. And I assumed that
spraying epoxy is not the right place to start for beginners. I am right
in assuming lacquer might be a good first start?



2. Started sanding at 220 which was enough to knock down the specks
and smooth out imperfections


I see you are a glutton for punishiment...

Yeah - I put so much time into it that I wanted to get it "right" even
if it took longer.


3. Wet sanded up to 3000 in increments as follows:
220-320-400-600-800-1200-1500-2000-2500-3000
Probably way overkill but I had the sandpaper from my "Scary Sharp"
method of sharpening steel


Oh stop - you just wanted to do all those steps. Woodworkers can be that
way. Can't tell them a damned thing...

LOL - I was being belt-and-suspenders having invested so much already...



4. Switched to a power buffer with a wool bonnet (bought for about $25
at Harbor Freight)
At first I tried various colored buffing compound sticks but they
did absolutely nothing (probably because very little compound
seemed to transfer to the bonnet from these hard sticks -- perhaps
I was doing something wrong...)


See - ya wouldn't just listen to me, would ya?

Mea Culpa - and I will know next time to listen to you over other
opinions...
In fact, I got a mix of opinions from various people so I tried the
sticks first since they had them available right next to the
buffers. When that didn't work, I made another trip to the auto supply
store...

By the way, what if anything are those sticks useful for? It doesn't
seem like they "charge" the bonnett with much if any compound so I
wonder how it ever does anything unless I am using it wrong...


So I switched to Automotive rubbing & polishing compound (given that
I had already sanded up to 3000 grit, I found that I could start
with the polishing compound and skip the rubbing compound). The
compounds come as loose pastes that I applied quite liberally to the
vanity surface before buffing.


Yeah - but it takes more work. I'd have hit it with a medium to fine
rubbing compound and then just cleaned it up (if even necessary) with a
swirl mark remover.


You're probably right but my thinking is that having gone already to 3000
on the wet-dry sandpaper that maybe I was "beyond" the rubbing
compound. Didn't take much work with the polishing compound to make it
work though...

For the future, if I go with the rubbing compound, what grit (if any) do
I need to hit it with first with sandpaper -- i.e., do I still need to
sand up to grit XXX before starting to buff with rubbing compound?

Also, is swirl mark remover different from polishing compound?

Finally, how do I get a handle on the different grits and types of
rubbing vs. polishing compound. It wasn't clear from the labeling on
the various tubes and tins at the auto supply store what the differences
are?



I ended up buffing at the highest speed (~3000 rpm) after gradually
ramping up and testing for damage. Note that the buffer never seemed
to damage or dig into the coating too much even with some pressure
and even with extensive buffing - probably due to the hardness of
the epoxy. So, while I was careful, the epoxy coating seemed to be
pretty power buffer friendly. Of course, I kept the buffer moving
to avoid swirl marks.


On flats that's ok. Just be carefule around edges. Even that epoxy finish
will succomb to a buffer around edges. The worst thing you can do with a
buffer is to become overconfident. That only happens once... in a while...


I agree - edges are always dangerous...



After this the top was BEAUTIFUL and clear like glass -- in fact, if
anything the biggest compliment (and maybe criticism) is that it looks
like glass and not like the wood people are used to from projects.


Oh - what the hell do they know?


However, I think it is still less shiny and sparkling than the
absolutely crystal clear reflective finish from the original epoxy
topcoat. But since the entire top has been polished uniformly, one
doesn't notice that. And it probably looks richer to not have a
mirror-like reflecting surface that catches all the glare.


Picky, picky, picky.

Glad to hear it came up nice for you.

Thanks -- after my initial failures with getting a nib-free coat and
with ordinary sandpaper, I was beginning to despair. But in the end, it
came out more beautiful than I could have imagined -- I am embarrassed
to admit how many times during the first few days I sneaked a peak and
"copped" a feel of the surface to "admire" my handiwork.

Thank a million again for all your help and the input of others!!!
  #8  
Old April 6th 10, 03:20 AM posted to rec.woodworking
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Posts: 4,925
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

blueman wrote:


I recently picked up the "high quality/high price" HVLP gun at HF
which had decent reviews and I assume corresponds to a low end
hopefully acceptable non-HF brand


I've recommended HF guns to folks before and they've found them to serve
well. I've bought them for my son and they've served well. I have some
snob guns, so I don't own any HF guns, but I wouldn't be afraid to buy them.
I have shot with them at friend's places. I had a friend who did all the
prep work on his car repairs but was afraid to shoot it. I came over, did a
bit of final prep (more for my sake than anything else...), and shot it with
his HF HVLP gun. I had to get the feel of the gun on some scrap and I wish
it had a different tip, but within 10 minutes, I could get that gun to shoot
wonderfully. We got lucky on that shoot - very little - as in almost no
dust in the finish. Pulled the paper and tape, and saluted the car just as
she sat. Didn't buff a thing out. So - those guns can shoot just fine.

The secret is in watching your finish go on. Google my offerings to this
group from a couple of years ago about watching your shoot and imagining
spreading a sheet of plastic. With my guns, I don't have to watch too
closely. More of a casual glance to make sure I didn't lift and get a dry
spot, or the likes. With this HF gun - because it was a new gun in my hand
and its characteristics were different that what I am familiar with, I took
no chances. I watched every single pass. It took me some concentration to
get that gun to produce the results I'm used to with my guns, but that's
only because it was a different gun. It has nothing to do with it being a
HF gun.


However, I haven't had the time/guts to try it yet. And I assumed that
spraying epoxy is not the right place to start for beginners. I am
right in assuming lacquer might be a good first start?


Just as good as starting with anything else. Google the archives of this
group for a ton of advice Robert and I have thrown out there, to get
started. Just remember to start of some scrap and don't tackle any real
project until you've figured out the basics. Epoxy goes on pretty nice.
You don't have to worry about sags unless you really over do it. Lacquer
can give you more fits as a beginner because it can want to sag quicker if
you get a little heavy. It knocks down easily, but that's just more work.
Don't take any short cuts - get some scrap, and get some of the material
you're going to shoot. Practice. Every different type of finish will
require a different spray technique adjustment, so don't fool yourself into
thinking you can pick some universal finish who's required spray technique
will work for everything else. Then, there's all the environment
variables... Don't even try to figure that stuff out.

Keep that scrap on hand unitl you've sprayed enough to really know your gun.
After all that I've sprayed including cars that came from Chip Foose's
custom body shop, I still shoot against an old door or something else, if
I'm uncertain what a particular finish will act like. I may have my share
of pride, but I sure as hell hate sanding out runs and sags.


2. Started sanding at 220 which was enough to knock down the specks
and smooth out imperfections


I see you are a glutton for punishiment...

Yeah - I put so much time into it that I wanted to get it "right" even
if it took longer.


Yeah - I understand that, but you can do the same thing by starting at 600
and going immediately to 1000, then grab the buffer.


See - ya wouldn't just listen to me, would ya?

Mea Culpa - and I will know next time to listen to you over other
opinions...


Oh hell - that would be a mistake. I'm just another opinion. I'll argue
with some authority against opinions that are based on nothing more than
what people "think" would work, but there is more than one way to skin any
cat and there are people here with opinions as valid as mine, even though
they are different. My opinions (when I speak to spray techniques, finish
work, and the like) are well informed opinions, but it sure isn't the end
all. I'd go with Robert as the end all authority. That way, when it screws
up in any way, you can blame him...

In fact, I got a mix of opinions from various people so I tried the
sticks first since they had them available right next to the
buffers. When that didn't work, I made another trip to the auto supply
store...

By the way, what if anything are those sticks useful for? It doesn't
seem like they "charge" the bonnett with much if any compound so I
wonder how it ever does anything unless I am using it wrong...


Nothing that you're ever going to be rubbing out. If you're polishing out
chrome, stainless, etc., or jewlery, then they're fine. You won't find any
need of those though, along side your tablesaw, or any other tool that
suggests manly. In fact, a real man would just rub the work piece on his
chest hairs until he gets the finish he wants. There are some here who
would use other hairs - be wary of them...


Yeah - but it takes more work. I'd have hit it with a medium to fine
rubbing compound and then just cleaned it up (if even necessary)
with a swirl mark remover.


You're probably right but my thinking is that having gone already to
3000 on the wet-dry sandpaper that maybe I was "beyond" the rubbing
compound. Didn't take much work with the polishing compound to make it
work though...


Nope - 3000 still wants a medium cut rubbing compound. Then switch to a
polish or a swirl mark remover. (ultra-fine rubbing compound)


For the future, if I go with the rubbing compound, what grit (if any)
do I need to hit it with first with sandpaper -- i.e., do I still
need to sand up to grit XXX before starting to buff with rubbing
compound?


Wet sand with 600 if there are a lot of big dust nibs. First though, try
wet sanding with 1000. You'll be surprised what you can knock down with
1000 wet. If you have a good DA, you can do it dry, but be careful - you'll
drag crap if you're not careful.

Finally, how do I get a handle on the different grits and types of
rubbing vs. polishing compound. It wasn't clear from the labeling on
the various tubes and tins at the auto supply store what the
differences are?


To work from 1000 grit you can just stick with medium cut. I use 3M
products so if you have access to them at your local auto stores, look for
3M Perfect-It 06062. It's a good medium cut that will lift 1000 grit
scratches, and for a lot of people - that's as far as they go. It will
raise up quite a nice shine.


--

-Mike-



  #9  
Old April 7th 10, 05:44 AM posted to rec.woodworking
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 797
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

"Mike Marlow" writes:
For the future, if I go with the rubbing compound, what grit (if any)
do I need to hit it with first with sandpaper -- i.e., do I still
need to sand up to grit XXX before starting to buff with rubbing
compound?


Wet sand with 600 if there are a lot of big dust nibs. First though, try
wet sanding with 1000. You'll be surprised what you can knock down with
1000 wet. If you have a good DA, you can do it dry, but be careful - you'll
drag crap if you're not careful.


Thanks for the *TON* of helpful advice (I snipped most of it out of
consideration to those on slow links. Only thing I missed was what does
"DA" stand for? something abrasive?
  #10  
Old April 7th 10, 01:34 PM posted to rec.woodworking
external usenet poster
 
Posts: 4,925
Default Sanding/buffing/polishing epoxy clear coat top

blueman wrote:
"Mike Marlow" writes:
For the future, if I go with the rubbing compound, what grit (if
any) do I need to hit it with first with sandpaper -- i.e., do I
still need to sand up to grit XXX before starting to buff with
rubbing compound?


Wet sand with 600 if there are a lot of big dust nibs. First
though, try wet sanding with 1000. You'll be surprised what you can
knock down with 1000 wet. If you have a good DA, you can do it dry,
but be careful - you'll drag crap if you're not careful.


Thanks for the *TON* of helpful advice (I snipped most of it out of
consideration to those on slow links. Only thing I missed was what
does "DA" stand for? something abrasive?


Similar to a random orbital sander. Air powered. DA actually stands for
Dual Action.

--

-Mike-



 




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