Shining in Degrees

Shining in Degrees

I had a short day at work because I was heading out for a road trip to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Falling Water in Western PA. It was organized by a friend of mine, and the van was leaving NYC at 6pm Friday! This didn’t leave me much time for work on the car, but I was determined to get some work in, even if it would only be for a few hours.

Friday the 13th greeted me with a flat tire on the Toyota, but I wasn’t going to let it stop me. Twenty minutes later, I was driving out of the garage with the spare mounted on the car! I got to the shop at 10:30am, leaving me 4-1/2 hours to buff, and wax the car. Since the car was washed last week, I immediately moved her outside to a shady spot, and gathered my supplies.

There is a lot of discussion in books and Internet about how to wash, buff, wax, protect, and shine your car. No one method is correct, and I don’t expect to know the way, but one thing I read over and over, was the fact that you can really damage paint if you try to use a high speed buffer. Well, I was about to use a high speed buffer on my paint!

Why was I about to do this? My paint looks great, but if you ran your hand across it, it felt slightly rough. It shined nicely, but the slight roughness was from dirt working it’s way into the paint, and the fine scratches it caused. Buffing the paint would remove the rough texture, and give the paint the chance to really shine. François has a power buffer, with a wool pad just for this type of buffing, but I was concerned with screwing up the paint. I had used this buffer once before to buff the glove box door, but now I had a whole car to paint if I screwed up! François told me it would be the fastest way to get results, but I would just have to be very careful. The whole week at work, I mulled over what to do. I’ve hand glazed a car before, and it was not enjoyable, but I certainly did not want to ruin my Ferrari’s paint because I didn’t have patience. After some thought, and some calls, I decided to give the power buffing a shot! I figured, there would always be a first time to learn something new, and I need a thrill in my life every now and again!

I started in an inconspicuous spot, and went slowly. There’s a rhythm, and feel that you start to feel, and things progress. Doing small spots and keeping in mind the contact and the direction of the spinning buff was important. It took my slow and careful technique three hours to completely buff the car, so I can’t imagine how long it would have taken to do the same by hand.

After the buffing, I wiped the car down with some flannel towels and began applying wax. I used “One Grand Blitz” wax, a favorite of mine because it goes on nicely, shines well, and is not nearly as expensive as that “X” brand! As the wax was buffed, the car really came alive! The paint was so much brighter, and the overall effect brought the shine that much higher. I finished just in time to clean up and call it a short day. So short, that I forget to take pictures of my work, but take my word for it, it looked damn good!

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