When you polish a surface, the level of imperfection defines how much work it will be to achieve a perfect finish. This can either be a 1 stage polish, a 2 stage polish or even a 3 stage polish. Different types of stages needed, define slightly what pads and/or polish you are going to need, and might give an indication of the time-frame needed.
What makes it a 2-stage polish
A 2 stage polish is, as the name might give away, a combination of polishing steps that is made up out of 2 steps.
When you are going to polish an area, you want to minimize the difference in dept between the surface itself en the maximum depth of a surface imperfection. If a scratch is 3 micron deep, you want to remove 3 micron to achieve a perfectly flat area.
Polish comes in a few different grades: finishing, fine polishing, medium polishing, heavy polishing and cutting compound.
Using just 1 type of polish means that you either remove a lot in a short time-frame, or that you need to polish very long to finally get there.
Let create a hypothetical situation:
Lets say that 4 different polishes remove an exact amount of paint in an exact frame of time (in real life it depends on many different variables).
- Finishing polish: 1 micron in 10 minutes
- Fine polish: 2 micron in 10 minutes
- Medium polishing: 4 micron in 10 minutes
- Heavy polishing: 6 micron in 10 minutes
- Cutting compound: 8 micron in 10 minutes
The surface you are going to polish has a surface imperfection that is 5 micron deep.
You always need to work your way down from rough to least rough. So you would always want to finish with a finishing polish.
There are a few different ways you can tackle this:
Problem: takes a very long time.
Problem: takes a long time.
Problem: 3 different stages.
- #1: This would be a 1 stage polish, but because it takes 50 minutes it is not a smart choice.
- #2: With 20 minutes, this 2 stage polish would be a decent choice, but sometimes the jump from a medium polish to a finishing polish might be to big. Would be the choice to make if you are in a hurry.
- #3: Also a 2 stage polish, but it takes 30 minutes. Would be a good choice if you have the time.
- #4: Still takes 25 minutes, but you would need 3 different pads and you will be using 3 different products. Not the most logical choice.
Reasons to choose a 2 stage polish
There can be several reason why you would choose a 2 stage polish:
- You are in a hurry
- You only need to do minor corrections
- You feel/think/know that a 1 stage polish would be to little
- You don’t have sufficient pads to do a 3 stage polish
- You don’t have sufficient products to do a 3 stage polish
Whatever the reason might be for you, a 2 stage polish has its benefits and its downsides. The main benefit is that you can achieve decent correction results in a short period of time. The downside is that it might not be enough to fix all the imperfection you might encounter. Especially professional detailer that have to work with fixed time-frames sometimes need to make a general decision based upon: what approach will remove the most imperfections in the least time.
How to save yourself time
Make the decision to work with either SMAT or DAT.
When you are working with a medium polish, and you want to skip the need for a fine polish, because you want to jump to the finishing polish, you probably want to use a DAT polish. This will start out with the cutting power of a medium polish, but after working it in, you will finish with a very fine polish. Which will minimize the jump from a medium polish to a finishing polish.
However, keep in mind that a medium DAT polish will remove less microns of paint then a medium SMAT polish, simply because the SMAT polish will retain its cutting power whereas a DAT polish will become more and more fine, cutting less and less as you work it in.
Make the right decision for you situation and you might save yourself a lot of time.
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