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Tips For A Great Buff & Wax

Jun 1, 2016
128
Hunter 28.5 Lake City, MN
Rather than using 600 grit, consider 1200 or even 2000 grit, and wet sand it. If the 600 grit is required, then follow up with the 1200/2000 grit. Buff it out with a high speed buffer, but be careful of the edges.

I've done a lot of work on car finishes and the finer sandpaper will make it much easier to buff out and get the shine back.

Sir Michael
 

kable

.
Aug 27, 2012
12
Catalina 34 Bellingham
Thanks so much for this write up.

I had no experience in this area and am very happy with my results. I had multiple people come up and ask me what I did to get my boat looking so good.

My boat is a 1988 Catalina 34 and I don't think it had much hull compound/polishing work before, especially by me in the last 5 years I have owned it in the salty PNW.

I really couldn't asses my oxidation level but the pressure washer guy said the water wasn't super mirky/white so probably not bad. So skipped the wet sanding phase.
  • 16oz 3M Marine Rubbing Compound w/ 3M #05711 compound pad
  • 16oz 3M Finesse It w/ 3M #05713 polish pad
  • 1 can Collinite #885 Fleet Wax Paste and simple applicator pad
I just had a cheap Harbor Freight 7" variable buffer. I really didn't know how to use it. If you are going to do this very often, for sure get a good one. I could feel the motor heat and smell some burning so not sure how long it will really last. I need to learn how to use it. I really didn't understand the speeds, pressure and most of the time it was driving me. But it seemed to work.

Water is the key, I spray bottled the 2x2 area, sprayed my pad each time I added product in the star pattern. Needed to fine tune so that I didn't just spin the product off. Some times I needed to spray a bit more water on the hull to run the buffer through to keep things wet so that I didn't buff dry. Don't let the product dry, it is a bear to rub off. You will have to re-wet by quickly running the buffer over it again to get it off. For me, the cardboard laid on the deck over hanging was really helpful in blocking splatter BUT my top side was littered w/ tiny compound/polish dots after the process. Next time I will try to keep the top side wetted down to help.

Don't give up after the hard work of compounding and polishing. The waxing part is much easier.
-kable

Not a great pic (they are about to sand and put on new bottom paint) but you can see the boat two stalls over next to me.
IMG_5073.jpg
 
Jun 7, 2016
311
Catalina C30 Warwick, RI
It was about 10 hours over two days...2/3 of which was spent on the starboard side vs 1/3 on the port. Port came out better =)
So I have started doing my boat and I have no idea how you got through it in 10 hours. Granted I wet sanded the entire hull, but so far I have only compounded the starboard side. It took me 3 hours to wet sand both sides and another 3 hours just to compound one side. I am going to easily break 20 hours for the whole job. I knew it was not going to be easy but my back and arms are screaming at me right now. Can't wait to be done but also am crying thinking of how much more work I have to do.
 
Mar 22, 2016
3
Seaward 25 Nashville
Read the instructions. Used 3M products. Compounded with 3M wool compounding pad, switched to 3M polishing pad. All went well on my green stripe. But on the cabin sides it did not go well. It must be operator error. I read a bunch of posts and can not figure out my mistake. Asking for advice on how to proceed. Thanks in advance for any help.

IMG_20200624_191458.jpg
 
Mar 22, 2016
3
Seaward 25 Nashville
Answer my own ? I needed to sand first as the oxidation was too much to have the compounding material remove it. After sanding, buffing and polishing it looks good.
 
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jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
I struggle over what pads I should use and what compounds and polishes I should use.

My current boat has Awlgrip topsides, and gel coat deck and cockpit, etc. I'd like to polish the deck and cockpit gelcoat, all of the smooth stuff, i.e., not non-skip, to a glass-smooth, wet-look finish. It's not noticeably oxidized now, i.e., not chalky at all, just not glossy all over.

I have a collection of Lake County 8.5" foam pads with 7" backing plate, and "the" Makita 9227CX3 7" Buffer, and now a new Chinese small buffer kit with 1", 2", and 3" backing plates with blue, orange, red, yellow, and green foam pads.

Makita 9237CX3 Makita 7" Polisher, 10 AMP, 600-3,000 RPM, var. spd., loop handle with foam pad and bag

Advanced Curved Edge 8.5 Inch Foam Pad Kit With 7" Rotary Plate

ITEMS IN THIS KIT:
1 CCS 8.5 inch Yellow Cutting Pad
1 CCS 8.5 inch Orange Light Cutting Pad
1 CCS 8.5 inch White Polishing Pad
1 CCS 8.5 inch Black Finishing Pad
1 CCS 8.5 inch Blue Final Finishing Pad
2 Cobra Microfiber Towels, 16 x 16 inches
1 7" Rotary Backing Plate LC-43-175

SPTA Mini Polishing Machine Buffer Rotary Polisher Auto Detailing Superpolish with 27Pcs Detail Polishing Pad Mix Size Kit Buffing Pad and 75mm,100mm,140mm M14 Thread Extension Shaft

I have some good wool pads, too.

I almost bought the 3M Imperial Marine Compound and Finishing Material, 06044, because it looks like it could be the only material I need other than the wax, but I thought I'd ask here. And if I do, what pad or pads should I use? Is the pad color code standardized?

Thanks,

jv
 

jviss

.
Feb 5, 2004
4,627
Tartan 3800 Westport, MA
Wash with a good boat soap then wipe down with Naptha & many microfiber rags.. Naptha is commonly sold in hardware stores as VM&P Naptha. A mild but effective "solvent". This is my secret....;) Works wonders on Awlgrip or Awlcraft too and infact this secret came from Awlgrip tech department after a debacle with some Awlcare that had gone bad. Gets rid of the old wax and much more.
@Maine Sail Do you clean the Awlgrip with "straight" Naphtha, i.e., not diluted?
 

NINEv2

.
Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
Good stuff in here, but I didn't find much about what to do with dealer applied stickers and registration stickers and numbers and the like. Should I blue tape over them and then proceed as advised?
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,769
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
I was able to remove the registration numbers using a heat gun, as for buffing and waxing I just went right over them.
 
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Jul 12, 2011
974
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
I've buffed, polished and waxed over vinyl lettering / decals without a hitch. Just don't do it on a hot day as the material and adhesive are heat sensitive.
 

NINEv2

.
Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
I was able to remove the registration numbers using a heat gun, as for buffing and waxing I just went right over them.
Interesting, thanks. You just cut, buffed, polished and waxed over the dealer applied stickers you mean?

Edited: didn't refresh in time to see your response Parsons. Have you used cutting compounds over the decals too? I think I may have to get aggressive with the degree of oxidation on my hull (hands are pretty chalky after touching).
 
Jul 12, 2011
974
Catalina 36 1771 Ft Pierce, Florida
Yes, I used the two cutting compounds and waxed over manufacturer applied decals and registration numbers / decals, as described by MaineSail, without damage. I also was very hesitant to run my buffer over those, but they did not seem to mind at all. I did not wet-sand as he also described as it was not necessary for my level of oxidation - that would be a different matter. By the way, when you are half-way through this, and your arms are about to fall off from hoisting that damn buffer, you will wonder why you started. Two minutes has never seemed so long as when you're moving a buffer around. I assure you, it is worth it and will last for years.:cool:
 

NINEv2

.
Jul 21, 2020
88
Catalina 250 Black Hills
Yes, I used the two cutting compounds and waxed over manufacturer applied decals and registration numbers / decals, as described by MaineSail, without damage. I also was very hesitant to run my buffer over those, but they did not seem to mind at all. I did not wet-sand as he also described as it was not necessary for my level of oxidation - that would be a different matter. By the way, when you are half-way through this, and your arms are about to fall off from hoisting that damn buffer, you will wonder why you started. Two minutes has never seemed so long as when you're moving a buffer around. I assure you, it is worth it and will last for years.:cool:
Duly noted and thanks! Any way to know if wet sanding is necessary? Like I said, the hull is pretty chalky.
 
Oct 29, 2016
1,769
Hunter 41 DS Port Huron
The only way to tell is to compound and then polish and evaluate, wet sanding would be a long and arduous task.
 
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Ward H

.
Nov 7, 2011
3,093
Catalina 30 Mk II Barnegat, NJ
I used the Presta Ultra Cutting Cream on my boat this season and buffed over the decals, original Catalina name and 3 year old decals I applied. I did notice a slight degradation of all the decals. Now the gloss is back, I will avoid hitting the decals in the future.
I hand wax and applied it over the decals to protect them with no issues.