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Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       04-12-2011, 2:37 PM Reply   
I'm looking to polish my boat as it has some oxidation on it and just needs a good cleanning and waxing for the season. Does pretty much any angle grinder tool work? I see a company like dewalt makes many different sized grinders I just wasn't sure if I would have issues trying to find buffer pads and such that would fit the chuck if I didn't buy a certain one?

My dad just has a small orbital buffer and I wasn't sure if it would be good enough for polishing the gelcoat. Not sure what RPM it is.
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       04-12-2011, 4:01 PM Reply   
angle grinders spin some massive rpm's... most wheels/pads are not designed to spin the rpm's a angle grinder does.

most all circular polishers are variable speed and have a "soft start", also the arbor for the tooling is going to be different.

I bought a cheapo from northern tool, google it, you can order online. Its been through my complete boat a few times and a friends 21' cuddy and still works great. the casing and everything looks exactly like the matco one I was going to buy for 6 times the price, likely produced at the same factory over-seas.
Old    Chris Ritzen (EnderWiggin)      Join Date: Mar 2011       04-12-2011, 5:12 PM Reply   
I've not used it on a boat, but on the cars I use a Porter Cable 7424. It's a variable speed random orbit polisher. It doesn't spin which is advantageous for the car as it won't "burn" the paint but still does an excellent job at polishing. I'll then wax it with the same machine (different pad).

I don't know what the risk is on a boat for "burning", however, like Bryce said, angle grinders do spin huge RPM's. If you want to go the spinning route, go with a "variable speed" polisher like a Dewalt. I've used those in the past with a medium cut or a fine cut compound and it does wonders. Again, this was on paint. Follow that up with polish, then wax (not using the spinning polisher, just get a Fleet Farm cheapo waxing machine).
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       04-12-2011, 6:03 PM Reply   
I went through many trials and tribulations with random orbit and different pads in fear of "burning" the gel as mentioned by Chris, take my advice and dont waste your time with random orbit trying to remove oxidation. I used 3m heavy cut compound and a wool bonnet (those 2 combined is about as agressive as you can get) w/ a circular polisher and never had a problem "burning". Take your time, get comfortable moving the tool, keep your compound "workable" if its completely dry, STOP. When i first started i was given the advice to spritz the area with a squirt bottle (water) to help the compound spread and be more workable. Minimal swirl marks, nothing that a quick glazing/fine cut compound didnt take care of, use your orbital for that w/ a terry bonnet.... and you'll be set!! have fun....
Old    Bryce (brycejb328)      Join Date: Aug 2009       04-12-2011, 6:06 PM Reply   
oh and i always catch myself using the wrong words... polishing and compounding are 2 way different things... your using a compound to remove oxidation
Old    Sparky Jay (wake_upppp)      Join Date: Nov 2003       04-12-2011, 9:31 PM Reply   
"Any angle grinder tool work?" As long as free wheel speed doesen't exeed around 1700 to 2000 rpm, or the speed is adjustable, one of the two.
Old    Chris G. (chris4x4gill2)      Join Date: Sep 2009       04-13-2011, 5:17 AM Reply   
I would rather use a variable speed polisher myself. Besides the RPM differences, I think your going to have a hard time getting pads that fit the arbor of the grinder. I'm pretty sure most are going to have different size threads
Old    Jeff D (Jeff)      Join Date: May 2010       04-13-2011, 6:09 AM Reply   
I've used this polisher to compound then polish most of my 23' boat (I get bored doing too much so I've been working in stages):

It doesn't have the torque that I would imagine a really high end one would have but I think I paid $27 w/ tax at the local Harbor Freight and it gets the job done just fine.

I use a 3M SuperBuff polishing pad and the little 3M adapter with it. These pads seem really expensive but they're two sided so they are the equivalent to two normal pads.
Old    Dave (bcrider)      Join Date: Apr 2006       04-13-2011, 9:02 AM Reply   
Thanks for the info guys. I also called a customer of mine who is an auto detailer and talked to him about tools. He is going to talk to one of his reps to get be a better price on one.


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