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Buffing issue - loses sharpness of shine when cooled

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I'm running into a really weird issue and wanted to see if anyone had any experience / advice.

I'm spraying Target EM7000 waterbased "laquer". I spray around 15 coats, then let it cure for a couple weeks (although below phenomenon also experience with a body that I'd let cure for 4+ weeks, just due to not having time to get to ir). Then level sand with 1000 grit and move up to 7000 before taking it to the buffing wheel. Using the Stewmac buffing wheel with Menzerna GW16. 

The issue is this: using just this one compound I can get the finish to a really good shine, with sharp specular reflections. Buuuuut.... wait a few minutes (presumably enough time for the surface to cool down again after buffing) and a certain amount of the sharpness disappears. It's like the heat causes the finish to expand slightly and it's super glossy, but then it cools and contracts slightly and small surface variations come back in and the glossiness is slightly less sharp.

Anyone come across this and have any advice? Is it just that I also need to do a pass with a finer compound afterwards? Is this just a drawback of using waterbased fiinish? Any advice?

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Hi and welcome to the forum!

In automotive shops they sell many brands of buffing compounds. One common nominator is that they come in sets of at least three grades of coarseness, the finest being a swirl remover to get rid of the holographic effect. Knowing that car industry has gone to waterbased finishes decades ago it seems logical to me that you should use a finer compound if you know there is one. And finally you can use wax for the ultimate sheen.

If there's a car body shop in your vicinity they might give you some hints!


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First thing I learned many, many years ago, for every coat of clear lacquer, allow 10 days min to harden since you most likely do not have a room to keep the temp slightly higher and constant. Even some 2K clear needs this.

The second, was how FAST the buffing wheel rotates. Any more than 800 RPM is too fast. 600 RPM is optimal with a 12"diameter buffing wheel

Third, never allow excessive heat to build up in or on the surface while buffing. Do not press it to the wheel, let the wheel do the work and pull away often.

Forth, as suggested as well by @Bizman62, use incremental polishes.

Fifth, always use a clean buffing wheel to start a NEW polish and grit.

Just my hard earned 0.02 cents worth!!!!!


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