A finishing polish is often considered the last step in the polishing process. It is a very fine polish that has a low grade of cut but a high level of perfect finish. A finishing polish can remove oxidation, marring, very light swirls and some of the minor imperfections.
Why a finishing polish
When polishing, you adjust the grade of polish that you are using, depending on the grade of cut that you need. For deeper imperfections, you would need a polish with a higher level of cut. For very shallow imperfections you can get away with only using a polish with a low grade of cut. Since polishing means that you are removing a small parts of the surface layer, you don’t want to remove more surface then you need to. Therefore the recommendation is to start with the lightest product and slowly work you way up until you get the result you want. A finishing polish is the last refining step you should do after using a higher level of cut. A finishing polish will offer little cutting power, but will allow for a much more smooth finish. Just like the other processes in polishing, you might need to do several passes before you are completely done.
Types of polish
There are 2 typical types of polish when looking at finishing polishes. The chemical polish or the abrasive polish. In practice the difference in result is very low. The biggest difference will be made with the choice of pad. Some manufacturers add certain oils to the polish that will give a Glaze effect, which will aid in hiding small imperfections that are left after polishing. Unfortunately this means it will only hide these imperfections temporarily, and won’t remove them.
A little known technique allows for achieving greater results then normal. This technique is called Jeweling and increases the level of finish by decreasing the level of cut even more then normal.
Quote from the article about Jeweling
Jeweling is the act of applying a finishing polish on a finishing pad on very low speed. The rotation speed of the rotary or DA is turned down to its lowest setting. Then a clean finishing pad is used to slowly work in the finishing polish. This step takes a lot of time, because you still need to work in the polish. Although the difference in gloss is almost not noticeable, it does add depth to the paintwork. Because of the relatively small improvement (compared with the time it takes), this step has little use for those who charge their customer an hourly rate, or those who need to do a certain amount of cars per day.
Jeweling isn’t always written in the same way, it can also be written as “jewelling” (American English).
Exception to the rule
Although a finishing polish is made to refine the surface to a perfect result, it can be used to achieve more polishing power. The Kevin Brown Method revolves around the technique of using a finishing polish to achieve higher level of cut. This is pretty much the exception to the rule, however this is mainly achieved by using a different polishing pad. Knowledge of the technique helps to understand how this is achieved.
How to use a finishing polish
Using a finishing polish is not different to any other polish. The main difference can be made by changing the polishing pad. A pad with more cutting power will increase the level of cut and the polishing power, but might interfere with the flawless finish you want to achieve. In general the recommendation is to match the pad with the grade of the polish. A finishing polish should be matched with a finishing polish pad.
Out of all grades of polish, the results achieved when using it by hand is the closest to machine application with a finishing polish. Due to the low level of cut, the difference between these 2 types of application are very small. However, abrasive polishing still prefer to be machine applied due to the polishing agents needing to be broken down properly.
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