All about wool pads

The first step of polishing paint is using a wool buffing pad. Here is everything you need to know about it. 

  • The goal of step one is to remove wet sanding scratches and all texture from the paint. 
  • There is a point where the paint will be shiny, but there’s still more work to do with a wool pad; and this is what makes the difference. 
  • When using a soft or diffused light, such as fluorescent tubes, the texture of the clear coat can be seen. There will be a slight grain left in the clear coat, and the only way to remove it is by buffing with wool more, until it is gone.  Foam will not remove this. Pay attention to the direction the grain is going, and very slightly tip the wool pad so that it is running against the grain of the paint. 
  • Low speed is very important!  No more than 800 rpm’s is needed. This allows you a lot of control.  Any faster, and too much heat will build up in the panel. You do not want this. Sudden heat from the friction can cause new paint to die back, and even possibly solvent pop. It could be possible to actually ‘warp’ the panel. Any air pockets in body work could be forced out. The paint just doesn’t look quite as clear when heat is used to work out scratches, the clear coat can end up looking slightly ‘pinched up’.   So, keep it slow!
  • Use a good heavy cut compound. Menzerna 1400 works very good. Combined with True Polish wool pads, it removes a lot with easy, and the quality of the wool doesn’t leave behind marks and texture from the wool. 
  • Use water borne cleaner.   Buffing is made easier when compound is cleaned off. Since polishing compound is water based, water borne cleaner is needed to remove it from the paint. If you’re struggling with an area, getting the panel clean again can help tremendously.  Isopropyl alcohol works even better, but be careful!  Alcohol can be aggressive for some paint. 
  • Use a spur to keep the pad clean. I usually run a spur in the pad before I start just to get some of the loose wool out of it. And then use it quite a bit while buffing.  
  • No wool pad lasts forever. It might be tempting to stretch out the life of your buffing pads as long as you can. Don’t. The wool breaks down, and it’s a struggle to get paint flat. When you get to a point where it’s taking a lot of work to get the grain out of the clear coat, it’s time for a new pad. 
  • Paint build up.  Buffing removes paint, and that paint gets built up in the buffing pad.  At a certain point, it can’t be washed out. That paint build up can start to tear the paint up more while you’re buffing. Also time for a new pad.  It doesn’t make sense to save a few dollars, and end up doing much lesser quality work and have it take longer besides. 
  • When you’re done with a wool pad, there should be no scratches remaining, at all. Clean the paint down good with water borne cleaner, and then check your work with a single spot light.   This will make random scratches show up even better.  Do no move on until every single scratch is gone. This. Is. Important!   
  • Pay attention!!!

2 comments

  • I’ve always used wool pads first and couldn’t agree more . I enjoy your posts so more please.

    Salvador Hernandez
  • Thank you! You don’t know how many polish reps say wool is obsolete! I have been painting for 30 years and nothing companies to wool after sanding. Keep the blogs coming, thanks again. Ed

    Edward J Birmingham

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