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Professional Automotive Color Sanding & Buffing

Updated on February 20, 2013

Tips and Tools of the Trade for Serious Color Sanding Finishes.

Wanna know how to buff out your car the right way or maybe take your skills to the next level? Look no further, you have found the right place to increase your knowledge and save time and money. For those of you who are new or don't know, The term color sanding and cut and buff are the same.

Here's a list of proper tools and materials:

1) Makita 9227CX3 7-Inch Wheel with Wool Cutting Pad, Gray Medium Foam Pad and Yellow Fine Pad and Cleaning Spur Wheel.

2) 3M Rubber Squeegee and Water Bottle

3) 1000, 2000 & 3000 grit wet sandpaper or DA sanding pads for professional finish

4) Menzerna Polishing Compound & Menzerna Micro Polish

5) Hard Block Hand Sander and Soft Block Hand Sander

6) 2 Microfiber cloths

7) 3M Green Masking Tape

8) 12" Masking Paper

9) One Small Bucket

10) Your choice of swirl remover polish/ wax (Optional)

Unless your buffing out a jet black paint job I have found no need for swirl remover or application of wax polish. If you do it right the only polishes you need are the aboved mentioned. It cuts costs and time spent on getting the job done right. Although some might argue about skipping steps, I haven't had any complaints in the 5 years I have been doing this trade. Sometime less is more and sometimes you just need to use your head to proper judgments instead of listening to what everybody else says is right or not. On this page I will be giving you my best insight, experience and knowledge to the best of my ability. Read slowly and carefully to the direction I have given below. Take your time and be patient. Please leave comments and or tips or tricks or anything I might have over looked or misplaced. I take pride in everything I do and strive to create a well rounded informitive webpage about professional automotive color sanding and buffing. Hope this information is helpfuf to someone out there. Thanks for visting my website!

One more extra note. I have experiemented with just about every product on the market and Menzerna Polishing Compound & Menzerna Micro Polish is by far the most superior product and the least exspesive I have ever used. Nothing compares to it in my expert advice. You will find the best results and money well spent on the above items.

Use The Proper Machine and Tools

The Makita 9227C

No matter what your skill level you wanna use what the pro's use. The Makita 9227C 7" Polishing Kit is the tool you want. The spining/rotating wheel works by temporarily heating the paint's clear coat until it softens into a viscous liquid that fills in and dissipates blemishes.

Be sure and keep your wheel clean from dried compound by using a spur cleaning wheel to prevent damage. You can also easly avoid burning the paint by using the back of your hand to test the temperature of the area you are buffing. Common sense goes a long ways in this skill. With a little careful practice your confidence will increase and you're buffing like a pro.

Use the Proper Materials

Choose the Right Stuff

One more extra note. I have experiemented with just about every product on the market and Menzerna Polishing Compound & Menzerna Micro Polish is by far the most superior product and the least exspesive I have ever used. Nothing compares to it in my expert advice. You will find the best results and money well spent on the above items.

Menzerna Intensive Polish is a professional grade polish is formulated to be used in conjunction with a machine polisher and was originally developed to remove severe defects from paint found on the likes of the Maybach and the Rolls Royce Phantom. It has now been widely utilized for more normal, regular use by both car cleaning professionals and enthusiasts. It can be successfully used on all types of paint but it is especially effective on harder paint finishes that are typically found on german and VAG vehicles.

Menzerna created the highest grade of uniformly sized micro abrasive particles in the world and then added them to this intensive polish. These particles help to remove swirl marks, 2000 grade sanding marks, scratches and oxidation from your paintwork. The polish contains absolutely no fillers, silicones or waxes so you know that the finish you are achieving is genuine and that imperfections are not merely being hidden or masked and it should only be used when you are going to follow up with a designated wax or paint sealant product.

Due to the fact that it is an intensive polish product, Menzerna recommends following up with its Final Finish polish in order to completely refine the finish and achieve optimum results. This is not always necessary however, for example, if you are working on a light coloured paint you can go straight to a protective product after polishing, or if you simply ensure that the intensive polish has been thoroughly broken down during the polishing process you will be able to go straight to a protective product, it just depends on what level of finish you want to achieve.

Menzerna Intensive Polish is a superb product that will effectively restore heavily swirled and defected paint and give you a superior quality professional finish. It is great for both enthusiasts and professionals and is an ideal solution if you want to achieve a genuine finish and not mask defects with silicones and fillers.

Step 1

Get It Wet

First things first and that is to wash your car. Most people know how to wash a car so I won't spend to much time on this step. It's a no brainer. It doesn't really matter what kind of soap or how many buckets you use. Get it wet, soap it up, wash it down, move on. The only good tip I will give you on this is to not use a spray nossle on your final rise. Use open hose smooth flowing water from top to bottom. Don't bother with drying it off.

Step 2 - Wet Sanding

Before you get started take your masking tape and stick it to your leg a few times and then apply it along the edges of your doors, fenders, hood area back to front. This way the masking tape helps protect you from knocking the edge off the paint. Paint is always very thin along the edges of any car. It's best to do one panel at a time and don't rush it.. Start with a fender or a door and work your way around one the vehical one panel at a time. If your new at this don't start in the middle of your hood. Be smart and find a inconspicous spot to make your first run at it to get a feel for it. Grab your soft block or hard block with 1000 grit sandpaper attatched to it and begin working a small area the size of your palm and then take your squeegee and squeegee the water off so you can see your work. The goal here is to work the clear coat flat so there are no more orange peel or inperfections. I will buff that spot with compound and the wool cuttin wheel to see how it looks and how much more I might need to sand. That gives me a messuring reference and guide to go by for the rest of the job. Often times it helps to criss cross your sanding patterns to help speed the process along. Use your water bottle to add water when needed. Be careful not to sand through. I usually work my way around the entire car or truck this way with 1000 grit and the go back over it again with 2000 grit and again with 3000. If can afford to invest in a decent DA obital sander I highly recommened this option. Otherwise it can be a bit more laborous but less exspensive...sort of. A good professional DA cost around 300 to 400 dollars new. But I must say I have cut and buffed cars by hand using 1500 in one shot, one step and it buffed out like a wet dream. It all just depends on who painted it and what materials they used to paint it with. Lots of different variables can happen here with different results each time for each car. It takes me on avareage about 3 to 4 hours to complete a full color sand/buff job.


Step 3 - Buffing

Now that your done with all your sanding, leave the masking on, grab your buffer and apply your wool cutting wheel. For doing large areas set the speed on your buffer to high and slow it down for tighter thinner areas and along edges. I tend to stay away from edges and do them by hand. Some people prefer to use the gray medium foam pad but I've had better, faster results with the wool wheel. If it's a brand new, fresh paint job that hasn't cured all the way then that's when I would use the gray medium pad. This is where practice and experience pays off. Its trial and error in some of these type of areas but for all general purposes applied here we will get familiar with the use of the wool wheel.

Apply your polishing compound in one strip about the length of one fender or one panel at a time. Take your buffer wheel and manually roll it into the compound and smear it in so as not to fling compound everywhere and waste it. Then start in an area on a panle and buff in one or two foot sections down the width of that fender or door panel. Apply pressure to the buffer and keep it flat for the most part while moving it slowly back and forth in small sections and moving down the panel getting every square inch and checking the heat as you go. You will quickly get the feel for your speed and temperature. Use your hand so you can gauge how long you can hold the wheel to the paint without burning. This is the most critical part of buffing and that's why I repeat this step. Knowing what that fine line between buffing and burning is the difference between novice and pro. A little practice and common sense will be your best guide. Trust yourself and don't be afraid of making a mistake. It pays great dividens and it an aquired skill that every good detailer/buffer has made to learn the trade.

Ok, now you need to take a good look at your work. Do you still see noticable orange peel or major sand scratches? If you do then repeat Step 2 in those areas until its right and move on. If its lookin good and you like what you see, then by all means keep on truckin your way around the enitre vehical in the same manner and checking your work as you go.

Once you have completed buffing the vehical with compound polish, the next step now is to switch pads over to your yellow fine polishing foan pad and begin the same application process as you did with the compound being careful not to burn through. You will find this step to be less strainous and easier. The Micro Polish is an amazing product and with bring out that professional luster and mirror shine.

After you have completed buffing with the micro polish it's all down hill from here. Carefully and slowly remove all masking tape and papered area so as not to remove new or old paint materia. Next, grab your micro fiber cloth and put the final touch on all your hard work by carefully going over it with the micro fiber cloth removing all excess residue and wheel marks. Remove your wheel covers and take it for a spin and show it off to the world. Good job, you did it!

Final Word - Picture This

If you apply the tips and knowledge I have given you here and in turn find your niche doing this kind of work you can set up your own shop and become an independant contractor and make money doing something enjoy. There is no short supply of people who are willing to pay top dollar to make there vehical look like show room finish. Take it from me, I know because I did just that and have worked for several autoboy and paint shop and private customers who have referered me to many others. I say all of this to bring hope in a dark world where jobs are scarce and things seem bleak. But really their not. The key is in our perseption and our ablitiy to look at things differently and reinvent ourselves. Maybe buffing ain't your thing and that ok, but if your strugging in your life, then look deep within yourself and find your niche and then go for it. Don't let fear and procrastination control the life you seek.

Extra Bonus Video - How To Repalce a Tire

I'm throwing this one in for fun. Me and my buddies created this video for a school project. We did we alright but found out there are more steps to replacing a tire than what we thought. It's the only video I have been able to find that covers most of all the steps within 5 minutes. Most other video on this subject are far more lengthy and often times in two and three part segments. Anyway, please enjoy the show and leave comments and feedback. Thamk You.

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