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How to Use A Dual-Action Polisher or Rotary Buffer – Beginner Tutorial

Posted by Glidecoat

We have a 2024 Pathfinder in the warehouse and we are going over the process we use when buffing with a dual-action polisher. This video is perfect for beginners. The steps will be the same whether you are using compound, heavy cut compound or polish, a dual-action polisher or rotary buffer.

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Video Transcript

How you doing? It's Christian here with Glidecoat and today we're going to be buffing on this 2024 Pathfinder and I'm going to go over just kind of how to use a dual action polisher, something that we offer on our website. Here I'm going to be using the yellow light cutting foam pad and our Nano Compound. Now these steps are going to be the same if we're using the Nano Compound, the Heavy Cut Compound, or even the Nano Polish.

As you can see, I've got some tape marks here. So I'm going to work in kind of a small 3' by 3' section. I want to start off by applying some dollops onto the pad directly and do about four of them. And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to kind of blot it onto the surface here and just kind of section off the area that I'm going to be doing. I'm going to start the buffer at its lowest speed. I'm going to start at a one and from there, I'm just going to kind of spread the compound, the polish, whatever I'm using across the section, just so that it's nice and even.

From there I'm going to bump the speed up to two and I'm going to go side to side up and down, moving slow, letting the buffer do its work, making sure the head is spinning properly. I don't want to apply too much pressure. If you're pushing it too hard against the boat, then you're going to notice the head's going to kind of slow down and stop. So if you notice that, kind of ease off the pressure a little bit cause you're kind of pushing too hard.

Then at that point, after I've done a pass or two at speed two, I'm going to bump it up to three, continue along, going up and down side to side. Then I'll finish at a four. I typically don't go anything above four just cause it's more than enough speed to do what we want it to do - remove swirl marks, any oxidation from the surface. If I get too high a speed, then, you know, we're creating too much heat, too much friction that could ultimately cut the surface more than we want to.

So I'm going to go ahead and load it on. Now this is the method I like to use. Some people like to spread it directly, putting the compound on the surface like this, and then putting the buffer on and starting. The reason I don't like to do that, that can create a lot of sling and kind of a mess, so this seems to be a lot more controlled. Before I turn the buffer on, I want to make sure that the buffer is flat onto the surface before I turn the buffer on. Again, if I turn it on beforehand, I'm making a mess and I'm slinging stuff all over the place.

So like I said, we're going to start at a one, make sure that the buffer is flat on the surface. We don't want it really at an angle because then you're going to get inconsistency on how the buffer is working. So if I've got it flat, then the entire surface of that pad is doing its work.


All right, so we finished our section here and see I've gone over it probably six times. Each time I'm kind of moving the buffer slowly. I don't want to move it too quickly because if I kind of zip back and forth at a super fast pace, the pads not staying on the surface long enough to really do anything, so you're going to get a lot of inconsistencies. You're not going to get, you know, uniform correction and a look on the surface if you move too fast. So I'm keeping it flat on the surface, applying enough pressure that I'm getting a little bit of a push onto the boat itself, but not too hard again so that the head's not moving. Because I want to allow that head to actually move properly onto the boat so that it's actually doing some cutting action and doing some work. So I'm letting the buffer kind of go and do what it's meant to do. I'm not trying to force it or I'm not trying to go too quickly. Increasing the speed just to kind of work the compound more and as this compound finishes, you know, that abrasion starts to break down so it leaves a super nice finish - kind of working up and down, side to side. Here you can see the compound on the surface. I like to come back and wipe it with a clean microfiber, just to kind of know that I've finished that section and get a look at what the surface actually looks like after I've done that step.

So as you can see, I've got my tape marks here. As I continue on, I'm going to kind of overlap. You don't have to use tape, but for this, for purposes of this video, I like to just see where I've been actually buffing. So you can always use the screws on the rub rail to kind of give you that visual indicator. Or if you're working on a larger boat, it's definitely useful to have some painter's tape just to see, so you don't get lost, just so you know which sections you're working on as you go.

And like I said, this is going to be similar steps regardless of what we're using. If I'm using a rotary buffer, if I'm using this dual action buffer, whether it be heavy compound all the way to polish, put it on the pad, blot it onto the surface, start at one, work it across the section, up to two, couple passes, up to three, and finish at four. Thank you.