Correct use of Wool Polishing / Compounding Pads by TOGWT
Are used to cut or level a paint film surface with an abrasive machine polish (or compound) or to apply a polish to large surface areas. Aggressively removes 1500 – 2000 grit scratches, but will leave hazing, use a foam pad and a finishing polish to eliminate. Wool pads are made from various mixtures of wool and other materials (natural wool, foam and wool, blended wool and synthetic wool) Like foam a wool pads abrasive ability is closely tied to its composition i.e. generally the ‘softer’ the wool the less aggressive the cut
Paint Removed by Polishing
Using a medium abrasive polish and a rotary polisher will remove approximately 0. 1 Mil (3µ (Microns)) from the paint surface (typically 4 passes at 1500-1800 RPM) but there are many variables such as polish/compound and speed / pressure used that may affect the paint removed) There comes a point when you must judge wither removing a scratch will compromise the clear coat and if so you’ll have to ‘live’ with the imperfection.
If you have reservations about the amount of paint surface removed or the amount of paint coating remaining the use of a paint thickness gauge (PTG) is arbitrary
These numbers are offered as a guide only, as there are too many variables to provide any more than an approximation.
Wool pad compositions
Manufacturers control a pad\’s aggressiveness by increasing or decreasing the nap height. As you shorten the length from a 1.5 – inch, down to a 1- inch nap, the pad becomes much more aggressive because the individual wool strands are able to stand on end more readily. This creates a scrubbing action whereas the 1-1/2 inch strands lay down almost immediately when used.
Natural wool is most aggressive – 50/50 wool/acrylic blends intermediate – lambs wool the least aggressive Always use the least aggressive product first, evaluate the surface, then only if necessary `step-up\’ to a more abrasive product and / or pad.
Leaves clear coat finishes with less haze and swirls than conventional polishing pads, fibres can be compressed and still recover their natural shape, less shedding, as they are manufactured with more fibres per square inch than synthetic wool pads. A denser pile surface distributes and applies material evenly and consistently, natural fibres are tapered with no splattering of applied materials and less scratch marks.
Micro Mesh TufBuf® Polishing Pads
Black Lamb’s wool polishing pads are designed to repair clear-coat finishes, made from natural lamb’s wool, durable, well-balanced and effective that major automotive manufacturers use them, leaves clear-coat finishes with less haze and swirl than conventional foam or wool polishing pads.
The dense 0.75 – inch nap material has 60,000 fibres per square inch versus 13,000 per square inch for synthetic pads, this nap surface distributes and applies material evenly and consistently. This very soft 100% lamb’s wool pad can be used for final (finesse) polishing as it’s even softer the LC CCS
Gold Ultra soft foam
Foam and wool
These pads are a compromise with the safety of foam and the polishing ability of natural wool; a patented process encapsulates the base of the lamb’s wool fibres with microscopic polyurethane foam particles. Cuts like natural sheepskin but finishes like a foam pad, the foamed fibres resist matting and compression. The foaming process also creates minute air pockets at the base of the fibres, which improves cushioning and retention of compounds and polishes.
Purple Foamed Wool Pad
Foamed Wool is a patented process that places a bottom cushion of microscopic polymer foam particles under a top layer of lamb’s wool fibres. Lake Country Mfg. developed these pads for high production, OEM/Industrial users. Aggressively removes 1500 grit scratches, leaving a lustrous finish with no hazing by reducing compounding swirls while retaining a high gloss Patented process encapsulates the base of the lamb’s wool fibres with microscopic polythene foam particles. Cuts like natural sheepskin but finishes like a foam pad. Foamed fibres resist caking and matting, foaming process also creates minute air pockets at the base of the fibres, which improves cushioning and retention of compounds and polishes.
Note- not recommended for random orbital machines (Porter Cable 7424, etc)
A mix of wool and synthetic materials, this could be wool and yarn for cutting, wool and polyester for polishing, the more synthetic material content the more abrasive the pad.
This material produces heat very rapidly, so be very careful with these pads as they can quickly cause damage to a paint surface and can cause major surface marring a four-ply twisted synthetic wool pad can destroy a clear coat in a very short time.
4 Ply 100% Twisted Wool
Each strand of high grade wool fibre is tightly twisted, allowing our pad to stay at a consistent level of aggression for longer periods of operation. Choose 3 inch, 4inch, and 5inch diameters with a 1/2inch or 3/4inch pile height.
Choose shorter pile for your most aggressive compounding and longer pile for aggressive compounding with greater durability.
50/50 Wool Acrylic
A unique fibre combination for light compounding comprised of 50% 4 ply twisted wool and 50% single strand wool/acrylic blend. Allows the operator to accomplish a range of light compounding to heavier polishing tasks depending on the compound or polish used.
Electrified White Sheepskin
The electrification process removes the microscopic barbs from the hairs in the wool resulting in a soft and effective compounding material that does not scratch the painted surface. Choose 3 inch, 4inch, and 5inch diameters with a 1/2inch or 3/4inch pile height.
Wool Pros & Cons
Pro -faster cutting generates less heat and therefore leaves the surface cooler, removes heavy oxidation much more efficiently than a form pad. Wool pads are easier to control compared to foam. They glide as the wool nap ‘lies down’ and will conform to vehicle body shape easily. Make certain to spur the wool fibres when it loads up with product.
Con -wool can leave micro marring (buffer trails) finish with a foam pad to remove. Don’t overwork the polish as wool will break diminishing abrasives faster than foam, the surface lubricants will dry up faster and you could end up dry buffing unless you’re careful.
1.Cut with wool pads; (foam produces the most surface friction heat) and finish with foam pads, the fibres of the wool pad leave a very fine micro marring on the paint surface.
2.Speed, the general rule is; limit speed on wool pads to 1500 RPM The bigger the pad the faster the cut, the coarser the compound, the faster the cut, the more aggressive the pad, the faster the cut Wool cuts faster than lambs wool, foamed wool is next and then foam. You pay the price for polishing too fast with swirl marks caused by the compound and pad combination.
3.Compared to foam; wool pads have a larger available cutting surface area per square inch, which is due to the structure of the individual wool fibres compared to that of foam, allowing faster cutting action with less friction heat, utilizing less downward pressure
4.The application of water – is not needed to supplement surface lubrication, but it helps to free the abrasive from sticking to the wool fibres. It also helps the pad to conform to surface contours more easily, effectively increasing the surface-area. Note- it may increase the abrasive abilities of the pad.
Urethane Backing Plates
Used by BMW, Mercedes and other European automakers in their assembly plants.
Advantages of Flexible, Urethane Backing Plates
•The Velcro® brand fastening material is moulded into the plate eliminating delaminating.
•The flexible edge reduces spontaneous heat build-up when transitioning from flat to contoured surfaces. These plates are recommended for compounding, polishing and finishing “soft” German clear coats.
•Vastly reduced heat transfer keeps motor heat from being transferred to the paint surface.
•Plated steel threaded insert will not cross-thread.
•Reinforced inner construction uses steel struts moulded into the centre hub for superior strength.
•Bevelled outer edge allows easy pad removal and replacement.
•5/8 – inch x 11 female thread is for US/CA rotary fitting.
•UK/EU is M14
Lake County (LC) – 43-125WH Grip Easy™ Moulded Urethane (5/8″ x 11) 4 7/8″ (125mm)
3M Perfect-it III Rotary Backing Plate – 125mm two different female thread sizes; M14 EU (09552) for use with threaded rotary polishers – Makita 9227CB and Metabo PE12-175) and a 5/8 – inch for US / CA (09553) made from an impact resistant synthetic nylon plate bonded to a 25mm thick layer of dense cellular foam. The highly flexible design allows for very easy transitioning from flat to contoured surfaces and the hook and loop backing material enables quick and easy pad changes.
Always use the recommended size backing plate for the sized pad you are using. Never use a backing plate that is larger than the foam pad or disc.
It is my intent to educate, based on five plus decades of experience; passing on to my readers the dynamics that take place; the cause and effect not just “ How” it works, but also “Why” it works Author of “Automotive Detailing, Inside & Out; a Knowledge Base for the Perfectionist “ and a series of 110 in-depth, unbiased detailing articles www.togwt.com/
Article Source: Correct use of Wool Polishing / Compounding Pads
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