Buffing my kayak

Ever since I ran a recon shop (cleaning cars not repossessing things) I wanted to get at my own buffer. It wasn’t high on my priority list, but I thought about it once in a while.

So a few weeks ago I did a little research and came across a site selling refurbished DeWalt equipment. I ordered a buffer and a pad. 7 days later both show up. On first inspection all looked well.

Unit in box.

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It has a new style handle that’s adjustable (forward and backward) and easy to change your hand hold. All was well until I tried to get the pad onto the backer. Hmmm, I’m no rocket scientist but 1 and 1 made 3 or possibly 4 in this case. The backer part that attaches to the buffer was covered in Velcro (the nylon part). However, the pad itself had no Velcro and no other way of joining to the backer.

I called the seller and had a very unsatisfying customer service experience. Considering I bought the pad on the same page as the buffer and it was labeled related product I assumed that they would work together. Alas, we all know what assume really stands for! After a few minutes of going back and forth it was apparent that we were not making progress and the rep asked if I’d like to talk to the manufacturer (DeWalt). Since nothing beats talking to the source I said absolutely put me through.

The DeWalt rep listened to my story and the first thing he said was the backer I bought was discontinued! Hmmm I thought again, good job your web site and the sellers are up to date as both still list it. So I asked “what are you going to do for me?” The rep suggested a combo backer and pad and said that this should work. “Should work I replied”, and asked what this solution would cost. Mean while I did my own search and found it on sale for $29.95. The rep ask if he could put me on hold and I said yes, a few seconds later he came back and said that it will work and he was going to give it to me for free! I thank him and said I really appreciated the gesture and got off the phone.

Since I had to wait another week for the solution to show I decided to try and gerry-rig what I had. A quick trip to the store and I had a tool of sticky back Velcro. I cut the Velcro into 3″ strips and stuck them to the pad which in turn I stuck to the backer. I plugged in the buffer and pulled the trigger and everything stayed in place. I reckoned the pressure of actually buffing would also keep the pad on, and I was correct.

So finally we get to the actual buffing!

Since my boat is an ex-rental it was you know what hard and put away wet on more than one occasion. The bottom was well hacked up but the sides were okay, only the odd gouge, scrape or mark. I picked up a few different types of buffing compound which proved to be useless and then I bought a bottle of Maguire’s # 9. This seems to work really well and I was able to buff out many of the minor scratches and marks. I went after a few of the really deep ones with 600 grid sand paper and then buffed. I worked at it over a few nights and a couple of hours yesterday. When I was finished with the Maguire’s I went over the whole boat again with blah blah.

Here’s a typical before shot.

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After shot.

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Not sure if the top needs a buffing yet, but in any event I think it can wait until the off season. Here’s hoping all the hard work will make the boat slice through the water better.

Some additional photos.

Buffer and gerry-rigged pad.

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Variable speed.

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Close up of buffer model tab.

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