[email protected] wrote:
In my own time I fix,spray,polish cars at my house...
I work at Balco(Witbank)
Future plans is to open my own panel shop
I'd like to share my thoughts with you and hope you will take them as intended - i.e. I am not trying to knock you in any way, shape or form, but having spent a few years in the detailing game I have had the opportunity to see first hand what body shops do to paint, and so more than anything, I would like to try and share my thoughts on what they do wrong - hopefully this will allow you to separate yourself from the masses and produce some quality work.
I have obviously never worked in a body shop, so before all of the regular 'oh but you haven't used that specific product so you can't comment on it' crowd start jumping up and down..... what follows is MY OPINION
, and obviously assumes all body shops are the same (which we know they aren't)..... use it..... don't use it...
Firstly, the Farcela products you mention are used quite a lot in the refinishing industry, along with products like Presta, Bulldog and 3M... and from the small bit of research I did into them on a few of the international detailing sites I frequent, a few of the guys seem to favor it over say something like 3M - I would therefore think that, in this category of products, they are not bad at all.
So obviously in the refinishing industry, along with the 'production' detailing world (think commercial detailers, the corner garage etc) time really is money and so the guy behind the machine is forced to make the car shiny as quickly as possible. To do so, generally he will perform an aggressive cut with a rotary machine, a wool mop (as they like to call them) and a compound. This very aggressive combination allows you to very quickly remove a lot of paint off the car, and so this ensures a very quick removal of the defects (be they sanding marks or things like swirls or scratches). I would bet that in most cases, proper technique with the rotary has not been entrenched (not necessarily the operators fault - sometimes the boss simply sees investing in training as not important, believing more focus is needed on doing the painting well, and the polishing is 'not a big deal') and when you combine this with the 'one-size-fits-all' approach used by these guys, a couple of very serious issues arise.
Firstly, not all paint is created equal
... it varies in its inherent make up (different brands of paint), in how thick it has been sprayed and how hard it is. A typicaly VW OEM Paint job may be in the region of 140µ to 160µ and is typically quite hard whereas a repainted VW could be in the region of 250µ to 400µ and a little bit softer than OEM, or harder.....there is no consistency....
So in the above example, the dude polishing the repainted car has more than twice the amount of paint to play with.... if he uses a very aggressive combo (the rotary, wool pad and compound) it doesn't matter if he for example lobs off 30µ as it is a small % of the overall paint film build, but take the same 30µ off a 50µ clear coat and you have SERIOUSLY compromised the integrity of the paint. By the same logic, use an aggressive combination on HARD paint and it could remove for example 30µ but use that same combo on excessively SOFT paint and maybe it removes 50µ (the numbers are not important so please refrain from getting caught up on the specifics.... it is the principal that is important).
So, knowing this.... the main issue I encounter is that body shop guys will often remove much more paint than was necessary, more so on OEM cars - for example, a front door on a Subaru is repainted. When polishing, the dude grabs the products his boss told him to - step 1....rotary wool pad and compound..... he starts polishing the repainted door and sees how much effort is required to correct the (harder than OEM) freshly painted door. Once done, he then also polishes out the rest of the car (you know, to make it nice and shiny for the customer) and in so doing is removing so much more paint on the OEM sections, and could easily remove ALL the clear coat.
So, IMO, if you want to better the rest in this regard, you need to have some flexibility in your product range in terms of polishes that cut more, and some that cut less, and you need to establish if the paint you are working on is hard or soft, if the damaged is deep or not, and adjust your approach to ensure you remove as little of the paint as possible.
Secondly, poor technique
and/or being too aggressive with your combo leads to buffer trails. These are scratches imparted into the clear coat and look like this.
Although they look horrific, they are generally speaking quite shallow scratches and are relatively easy to fix, however I have dealt with a few cars where the buffer trails ran really deep into the clear coat and took a fair amount of work to get out. So with them being (generally) shallow, the approach used by most is to now use (still with a rotary and a wool mop and maybe if you are lucky, with a less aggressive foam pad) a glaze to cover up the buffer trails.... a glaze can be thought of (in an over-simplified way) as a thick creamy liquid that once applied to the paint, will settle in the valleys created by scratches, filling them and creating the illusion of perfectly flat paint. So the customer sees a car that looks perfectly polished, but once the glaze starts washing out, the buffer trails are revealed.
Also, I very often have to detail cars that have had body work done and the sanding/flatting marks are still very evident in the paint because the dude at the body shop never double checked his work and missed massive spots.
Another issue under the 'poor technique' banner is that of polishing over raised body lines and over the edges of panels where the paint is naturally thinner, leading to strike-throughs (where all of the clear has been polished off). Preventive measures such as taping off these sections would be ideal, but understandably in the environment where time is money, spending another hour on prep work (such as taping up prior to cutting) may not be feasible.
IMO if you want to separate yourself from the rest of the body shops in this regard, you will need to learn to finish off completely buffer trail free.... now again, I am not a rotary user, but from all the time spent frequenting multiple detailing forums, the one thing that seems widely accepted is that although it is possible to finish buffer trail free on some paints, it is not possible to do so on all paints all the time.... and most professional detailers will therefore tend to do their final polishing with a Dual Action machine, which physically cannot impart buffer trails into the paint.
Lastly attention to detail is generally lacking
... and some examples of this are running the buffer over door rubbers or exterior plastics and leaving polish residue in body seams. Again, the issue here is that time (and thus profit) is the driving force behind how the job is approached and it is not having a quality outcome that drives it.
IMO if you want to separate yourself from the rest in this regard, you need to up your price to allow the time for quality work to be done, and do slightly less volume but with more margin....
Polishing paint is a funny thing and there is no right or wrong way to get the job done.... if you and I both use a different machine, different pads, different polish and different technique, yet we are both able to remove (for example) 25µ of paint (to remove the defects) and leave the paint perfectly flat in so doing, then the end result would be identical....the paint would look the same, and would be in the same condition with the same paint film build left on the car. However, if you removed 50µ and left the paint perfectly flat and I removed only 25µ and left the paint perfectly flat, the paint would LOOK exactly the same, but yours would be a lot thinner and more like to experience clear coat failure sooner than mine.
In other words, the difference is not in what you see, but what you can't see....
In closing, it is often touted that the abrasive you use is the most influential element on the finish of the paint. Obviously, machine, pad and technique count too. Based on that, I have always believed you should use the best abrasives you can, but I have also seen how the use of what is perceived to be a 'cheap' polish, can deliver quality results... so I would perhaps rather be focusing on the overall approach to how the car is polished before I worried too much about the actual polish being used.
Hope this was of some benefit to you, otherwise, apologies in advance for the long read
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