Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Miles.Abrams

Buffing / Polishing with an Orbital Sander

Recommended Posts

Hi all,

 

I'm trying to avoid buying another power tool, especially one for which I think there might be a decent substitute already in my bag. Can I compound/polish/wax my topsides with my rock-solid Milwaukee 5" orbital sander, or do I need to buy a dedicated rig? I've found polishing/buffing attachments already.

 

thanks,

BWS

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can spend a day with the random and not be to happy as they really dont cut well no matter what you use for compound OR use a tool like the Makita 9227C 7-Inch Hook and Loop Electronic Polisher/Sander and do the same work in about 30 minutes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can spend a day with the random and not be to happy as they really dont cut well no matter what you use for compound OR use a tool like the Makita 9227C 7-Inch Hook and Loop Electronic Polisher/Sander and do the same work in about 30 minutes

+1 well said.best money I have ever spent on a power tool.

Be sure to practice a bit with it beforehand. Unlike the random orbital this baby'll burn a hole in whatever you're trying to polish if you're not being careful. Also: its heavy.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No. You cannot use your random orbit sander to buff wax or apply rubbing compounds. The problem is that its orbits are too small and without sufficient action, the surface overheats before the wax/compound have done their work. It won't do the job and if you're not lucky, you can really ruin your finish.

 

The Makita tool mentioned above is really the best tool for the job and has the added benefit of being a super general purpose grinder/sander/polisher. You'll get a lot of good use from it over the years and its built to last.

 

Failing that, go to an auto parts store and buy an el-cheap car buffer.

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, while I have your attention, one more question to put my mind at ease about the $200 power tool I swore yesterday I wouldn't buy, but now have my finger poised above the 'buy' button.

Not that I'm seriously considering it, because I know I won't be able to control the speed well over the several days I expect to need, but could I in theory use a good drill, capable of the 3000 RPM of the Makita (my Hitachi can go that fast)? It seems that the issue is overspeeding and cutting grooves in your work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Darryn

Drill does a great job, especially in tight fiddly spots like a deck. The Makita sander recommended above is great for wide open spaces, terrible for in close precise work. 3000rpm is to fast unless you have an expert rating on this equipment, start very slow. You can buy a wool buff pad for a drill and foam too, suppliers to car crash repairers is the source. I use a cordless drill with the side handle attached to control it. Start off on the slow speed. You be changing batt packs every 20 minutes so plan your job around that. I also own a variable speed different brand version of the Makita so I can compare the drill/versus polisher sander and for infrequent use on fiddly work I would use the drill with a wool pad. Spend your money on the cutting compound and wax, farecla is very good.

 

Good luck with your job, dont forget the before and after pics for job satisfaction.

 

One last thing, start off in a spot which isn't very visible until you get the hang of it.

 

cheers

Darryn

Mosquito ( catamaran )

Flying Fifteen (daysailor keel boat )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The Makita has variable, electronically-controlled speed. For polishing applications use a sheep's wool cover on a medium foam pad, and pretty slow speeds or you'll burn your wax/compound.

 

Good luck!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, while I have your attention, one more question to put my mind at ease about the $200 power tool I swore yesterday I wouldn't buy, but now have my finger poised above the 'buy' button.

Not that I'm seriously considering it, because I know I won't be able to control the speed well over the several days I expect to need, but could I in theory use a good drill, capable of the 3000 RPM of the Makita (my Hitachi can go that fast)? It seems that the issue is overspeeding and cutting grooves in your work.

 

Don't buy that tool... RENT IT. most areas have tool rental for construction folks. Orbital buffers and grinders can be rented cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's a great deal from a great friend to sailers: Mike Mills of Jamestown Distributors is offering this as a kit...

 

http://www.jamestowndistributors.com/userportal/show_product.do?pid=4138&familyName=Boat+Polishing+Kit

 

I bought that kit 10 years ago it works great just have to buy new compounds when you are out the tool has gotten a ton of use

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

anybody use the harbor freight sander/polisher? I know it's a pos but 30bucs for only a few uses ain't bad.

 

 

Bought a bunch of harbor freight tools, one for every job I might need to do on the boat. So far, they have worked great, but I haven't done tons of work.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Woo Hoo! Success......I hope the pictures from my blackberry do this justice...

 

post-25053-051699400 1286288068_thumb.jpg

 

post-25053-088375300 1286288070_thumb.jpg

 

 

The tools - used only the Milwaukee drill as it had the best speed (1300 RPM max) and form factor

post-25053-079147100 1286288069_thumb.jpg

 

 

After compounding and polishing. Where it was needed, I used 180 and 400 grit paper to grind off the paint that had filled the gelcoat.

post-25053-047648600 1286288071_thumb.jpg

 

post-25053-034181500 1286288070_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

Instead of waxing I used a product called NewGlass2, since I originally didn't expect to do any compounding - that was before I had a full appreciation for the work I needed to do to grind off the residual paint from the boat name on the side. Supposedly you don't need to remove the oxidation, the product fills it. I can attest that the final results are gorgeous - well beyond any expectation I had; I can't speak to the durability - I'll update you in the spring.

post-25053-010396400 1286288069_thumb.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All you really need to know is right here: Tips For Compound, Polish & Wax. (Maine Sail at Sailnet).

 

Jim

 

 

Yes! That's the link I was going to point to as well. I do some beer can racing with MS, and can guarantee that he knows what he's talking about.

 

 

Thanks Mark! BTW I have your 2 rolls of butyl tape. Work has been hectic and I have not been able to race much this fall otherwise I would have brought them with me. Will drop them off some time soon. You guys out cruising this weekend? Supposed to be nice!

 

Oh, and loved the Pen Bay summer cruise pics! :D

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

anybody use the harbor freight sander/polisher? I know it's a pos but 30bucs for only a few uses ain't bad.

 

Bought one yesterday, it worked ok for about 2 1/2 hours and the shaft/stud snapped.

 

Still looking for the pad, I think it's in orbit.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

anybody use the harbor freight sander/polisher? I know it's a pos but 30bucs for only a few uses ain't bad.

 

Bought one yesterday, it worked ok for about 2 1/2 hours and the shaft/stud snapped.

 

Still looking for the pad, I think it's in orbit.

 

 

Yep, the HFT buffer is not worth the corrugated card board they ship in. I bought one on a whim at the Worcester, MA store along with two other tools which are also dead after very minimal use, one an oscillating tool and the other a tile saw.

 

I loan out my Makita so often I thought I could use this as my new "loaner". Before loaning it out I thought I would try it to buff my 10' Whitehall sailing dinghy. I did not even make it through the port side before it burned up and died. Literally smoking in under 40 minutes worth of use.

 

In contrast my Makita 9227C has probably buffed and polished 100+/- hulls and is still going strong. The HFT buffer is a piece of junk. It is NOT no load and this is what I feel contributed to its untimely demise. It did NOT like running at the lower speeds at all.

 

This is it dead in my shop. Yep it still looks brand new because it basically is, except that it is dead..

 

129169661.jpg

 

Sometimes the term "get what you pay for" rings true.. Buying electric powered tools at HFT is like going to Vegas, you often just throw away your money..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites