First Cleanup and Wax of part of the boat

We just recently took possession of DreamChaser and we have been doing small things to clean her up and prepare here.

For example down below, Deb painted inside all of the cabinets, lockers and the inside of the hull a nice white paint. This makes the cabinets and lockers brighter when trying to find something in them. That and it just looks a lot better.

I knocked all of the dirt robbers out of the sail cover on the main and washed all of the resulting mud off the cabin top roof. I figured we would take a shot at the new Shurhold buffer/polisher that we bought. It worked pretty good, we ended up with the whole kit (which included the polisher, a carrying case, applicators and a microfiber bonnet. You can get them at West Marine, but we found that they are actually cheaper on Amazon.

For tough or neglected surfaces, I have found that the best way to get the finish looking good is to follow a process that uses 2 different products and it takes going over the whole surface twice.  In short you want to wash the surface well and wait until it is fully dry.
I then use a product called “Buff Magic”   This is a polishing compound and not to get too technical, but it essentially starts out like a very mile rubbing compound, but as you work it with the orbital applicator, it breaks down and essentially continue to get finer and finer from a grit perspective.  It is the equivalent in sanding to going from 150 to 220 to 320 to 400, to 800 grit.  This stuff kind of does that on it’s own but I suspect
it would be more like starting at 800 grit and going up to 4000 or so.  I use a small chip brush and apply some strokes of buff magic in “x” patterns in about a 3 or 4 foot square.  Then using the foam applicator pad on about a speed of 3 or 4 on the device, you want to cover the entire area applying pressure.  For example go up and down and slightly overlap each run to get full coverage.  Then switch and go left to right  to go over the whole area again in the opposite direction.

MicroFiber Bonnet

After you apply this, you want to wait until it is dry and then go over it with a microfiber bonnet.
This completes the first step and you will likely notice a pretty good different already.  Now to take it to the next level you can apply a paste wax, synthetic wax or an engineered polish.  I prefer the synthetic polish as it has proven itself on some really oxidized hulls for me.

I apply this with a white applicator pad by putting a small amount on the pad.  A good hint is to hold the applicator against the surface when you turn it on.  This is the voice of experience talking, if you don’t the applicator will spin up fast and sling the polish on you.  

white wax applicator

I again run up and down over a 4-6 foot area and then do the same left to right.    Let this dry fully and you will see a chalking haze over the surface (much like you would if you were hand waxing your car).  When it is dry (15 minutes or so) buff off with a microfiber towel.
You can us the microfiber bonnet, but on surfaces that are not easy to hold the applicator, I found it easier to just hand buff it off with  microfiber towel.
This will really bring out the shine and you should see a very noticeable difference.  I did a small portion of the aft starboard side of the hull today.  It took about 2 hours or so.  We will slowly be working around the boat doing the same thing, but that will take some time and will require the dinghy in the water when we do it.  For some kicks here is a video of doing this application on the coach house roof.  You can see I kind of ran out of daylight in the video, but I was REALLY pleased with how good it looked when I was done.

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