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Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing #5330982 01/24/20 10:32 AM
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PontiacHO Offline OP
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Any recommendations on a decent orbital buffer? Wondering if Northern Tool may have one that would be suitable for use 4 or 5 times a year. Would also like to try and avoid the bonnet style pads. They tend to get floppy. Thanks.

Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5330983 01/24/20 10:35 AM
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Donald Offline
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What about the HF DA buffer. I use it on my boat. I thought DA was a step about orbital.

I have the best looking waxed boat on a trailer as I never dirty it with river or lake water.

Last edited by Donald; 01/24/20 10:37 AM.

2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331000 01/24/20 11:00 AM
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The Critic Offline
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For a boat (gelcoat), rotary is the only way to go.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 203K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 143K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331008 01/24/20 11:15 AM
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PontiacHO Offline OP
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So the dual action is rotary and orbital action combined?

Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331019 01/24/20 11:25 AM
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kschachn Offline
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Originally Posted by PontiacHO
So the dual action is rotary and orbital action combined?

Google is applicable here:

https://buffandshine.com/collections/dual-action-polisher-pads


1994 BMW 530i, 251K
1996 Honda Accord, 280K
1999 Toyota Sienna, 430K
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Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331040 01/24/20 12:00 PM
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Donald Offline
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It may also depend on how good you are. While a rotary is the fastest type of buffer it can damage paint if you screw up. Maybe harder to damage gelcoat than car paint.

I like the HF DA.


2015 Ford F-250 w/Powerstroke
2016 Subaru Crosstrek CVT (wife's)
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: Donald] #5331046 01/24/20 12:06 PM
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The Critic Offline
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Originally Posted by Donald
It may also depend on how good you are. While a rotary is the fastest type of buffer it can damage paint if you screw up. Maybe harder to damage gelcoat than car paint.

I like the HF DA.

It is a lot harder to damage gel-coat.

Even for automotive paint, the current flavor is to use lower-speeds on a rotary, similar to how rotary is currently used in Europe. With speeds <1500 rpm, the likelihood of damage is reduced significantly.


2011 Toyota Prius 1.8L - 203K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
2007 Honda Accord 2.4L - 143K - Valvoline Premium Blue Restore 10W-30
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331069 01/24/20 12:51 PM
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1978elcamino Offline
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I have the HF polisher, except for the somewhat short cord it actually works really well. Its the red one, not the drillmaster black one. Dont buy the HF pads, they are terrible.

Last edited by 1978elcamino; 01/24/20 12:51 PM.

2018 F150 5.0
2016 Ford Fusion 2.5
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331074 01/24/20 12:55 PM
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PontiacHO Offline OP
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Thanks. I’m in need of something that speeds up the process. The hull is one thing but add in the interior and hard top it takes a lot of time. I’d rather be on the water fishing instead of hand waxing-buffing.

Anybody using Woody wax?

I assume that I would need to do a cleaner first to remove the haze etc.

Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331166 01/24/20 02:56 PM
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Driz Offline
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Post a pic of what you got there. what year boat what kind. How many eons🤦🏻‍♂️ ago did someone buff it. Don’t be afraid of buffing through gell coat It’s hugely thick Only warnings buff OFF sharp edges if you can NOT INTO the edge. If you can help it . That’s the one place you really can cut in super fast if using heavy compound. Just be careful of that . Decals too, do those by hand in between ect. If there’s heavy haze you may have to use wet/ dry (. Black ) sandpaper and water or you’ll buff till October🤦🏻‍♂️
Do small portions at a time. Expect it to take a week if you’re smart. Start someplace easy to see and work on and alternate to a PITA spot then back again ect. Why🤣 to save your back, knees and mind.! When you get tired quit or you’ll start hating life. Do wear safety glasses always as that compound gets tossed all over.
HF low speed grinders Ok. Nothing high speed like the hi speed type. Don’t use one of those tie on bonnets throw it away!!! Get a good one.
Check out YouTube there’s plenty of good hull cleanup videos .

Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: Driz] #5331277 01/24/20 05:41 PM
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PontiacHO Offline OP
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Not sure how to post a photo. It’s a 23 ft center console. Not big but every surface needs buffed and waxed. Even the powder coated leaning post and t-top rails.

Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331282 01/24/20 05:50 PM
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Trav Offline
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Do you have a decent sized air compressor?


ASE L1, Master. Deutsch Meisterbrief.
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331312 01/24/20 06:40 PM
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bcossa2001 Offline
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I have the 6”HF Drillmaster. Use it monthly on cars. No issues and recommend it.....


"Facts are pesky things"

2003 Town & Country--143 k
2016 Fusion 8 k
2016 Fusion 34 k
2017 Santa Fe 8k
Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331331 01/24/20 07:21 PM
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ondarvr Offline
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HF buffers are good enough, they sell several different levels of performance.

Get the hook and loop pads in wool and foam, wool for faster cutting, foam for a higher gloss.

Use a multi step buffing compound system. Fast cutting products won’t yield as high of a shine as polishing compounds.

Not all gel coats buff out in the same way, some only require a quick buff, some need to be sanded, and on others nothing will make it look good again.

Do a very small area first to determine the exact method needed to achieve the desired result.

Re: Orbital Buffer - Boat Detailing [Re: PontiacHO] #5331590 01/25/20 07:16 AM
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PontiacHO Offline OP
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Thanks for the great info shared here. Now it’s a matter of making the time to travel 200 miles pull the boat from my wet slip and go to work. 1st world problems. Life is good.

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