Can you use a random orbital polisher with Boat Scrub?
George K. asked:
I used Boat Scrub on my sailboat hull with pretty good effect, but had trouble getting an even base shine for the Boat Polish. My long-neglected fiberglass canoe got the Boat Scrub treatment, but it took lots of elbow grease to get ‘er done. Would a RO polisher be too aggressive?
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Many professional use random orbital polishers with Boat Scrub when they are doing large areas but it requires a special technique and a little practice to get the best results.
First wash the area with a solution of Boat Clean Plus and water in a 1:4 solution. Use a Marine Power Mitt or other aggressive, not scratching material to wash the surface aggressively. You need to remove all surface pollutants and loose oxidized material so that you do not grind it into the gelcoat.
The polisher should have a foam pad, covered with a lambs wool bonnet. The bonnet will be picking up and holding the oxidized gelcoat which will be abrasive so it’s important to work a small section at a time (3 to 4 sq ft or 1 M sq). When you get this area deoxidized and shiny, rinse it clean and also remove the bonnet and rinse it clean before proceeding to the next section. The polisher will fling material all over the place, so be sure that you wear protective clothing, eye protection or a face shield and protect adjacent areas where you do not want the Boat Scrub and oxidized gel coat to land. (interior of the boat, seats, tops, neighbors boats, etc.) Use tarps or plastic sheets and masking tape.
Apply the Boat Scrub to the surface and start working it with the polisher. Practice will determine how much pressure you apply. Not enough and it will not work very well, too much and you will get swirl marks. A good place to start is try to apply as much pressure as the weight of the polisher would exert if it was on a horizontal surface and no additional pressure were applied.
Do not let the polisher sit in one area, but keep moving it around in circles,back and forth, and up and down. Apply more Boat Scrub as required to get the entire surface covered. (you will use more Boat Scrub using a mechanical buffer that if you did it by hand, so allow for this when buying the product).
Do not let the surface become dry. If it starts to dry, apply more Boat Scrub to the area otherwise the fiction will cause burns and the polisher will cut aggressively into the gelcoat.
TIP FROM THE PROS: Keep a bottle of Boat Clean Plus handy and spray the surface from time to time. It keeps the surface sufficiently damp and the surface active ingredients helps to lift the oxidized material off the surface. This technique gives faster results and a smoother, more even finish. This will also remove staining, discoloration or yellowing more effectively.
When you are through, rinse with fresh, clean water. When dry, go over the area with a clean, dry lams wool bonnet to enhance the polish and shine. This will also reveal any areas that you missed as they will appear as streaks. Re-do any missed or streaky areas until the hull shines. If fresh, clean water is not available, wipe the area well with a terry towel and then buff with a clean lams wool bonnet as above.
Thanks for your question,