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View Full Version : Let's talk about "Total Cut"



Michael Stoops
Oct 22nd, 2009, 12:15 PM
There is a lot of discussion about how aggressive one product is compared to another, often between products that aren't even designed to do quite the same task. Many of you have seen the cut scale shown on the side of most Mirror Glaze products but you may not be clear on just what they mean.

On the bottle of M105 Ultra Cut Compound you can see that the arrow goes all the way to the top - that's a 12 on the cut scale. But the M205 Ultra Finishing Polish and M80 Speed Glaze only register a 4 on the scale. Obviously then, M105 provides more cut than either M205 or M80.


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/809/146_M10532.jpghttp://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/965/170_M20532_UltraFinishPolish.jpghttp://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/1348/m802.jpg

But what does that "12" or "4", or any other number, really mean? Will they always provide that much cut? Isn't a "12" way too much cut when all I want to do is remove some light swirls? Should I use maybe something that registers an "8" or "6" instead?

You may have noticed that we do not provide a cut scale on our consumer products, and that is simply because there are just too many variables when dealing with the average consumer. And variables are what this article is all about.


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/1348/totalcut.gif
* NOTE: the above scale is not intended to be a precise quantitative indicator of changes in cut but rather simply of visual indicator that a change in cut exists. How much more or less cut any given product can achieve is dictated by a very wide range of variables.

Looking at the chart shown above, we see that the "Total Cut" is greater when a product is applied by rotary buffer than it is when applied by hand, and that G110 (D/A polisher) "Total Cut" is somewhere in between the two. You can also see that, for example, M105 always has more cut than M205 when used the same way. Not surprising since, as has been pointed out, M105 is a "12" while M205 is a "4". But even that doesn't tell the whole story.

The key here is that phrase "when used the same way". Let's just look at polishing with a G110 using M205, but with two different processes.


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/1348/process_comp.gif


Here you can see that Process 1 pairs M205 with the less aggressive pad, it's run at a less aggressive speed, and less aggressive pressure is being used than with Process 2. The net result is that Process 1 will provide less cut overall than Process 2, even though the same M205 is being used. It is the combination of variables that determines "Total Cut".

Some of the variables can have a sizable impact on total cut. When working with a rotary buffer if you move from a W8207 Soft Buff 2.0 Polishing Pad to a W5000 Double Side Wool pad, without changing machine speed or liquid, you will get a a huge jump up in total cut. The ONLY thing you changed is the pad. Or keep the liquid, the pad and the pressure the same, but change the speed of the rotary from 900 rpm to 1800 rpm and you'll get a sizable jump in total cut too. And all you did was run the machine at a higher speed. The G110 will return a similar change in total cut when doing the same experiment - same liquid, same pad, different speed - but the total cut will still be lower than that of the rotary buffer. That's because the machine has become a variable too, and a sizable one at that.

How extremely can you alter total cut when taking many variables into account? Try using M105 (cut rating of 12, remember) on a G110/W9207 Soft Buff 2.0 Finishing Pad/Speed 3/5lbs pressure and compare the total cut to M80 (cut rating of just 4) on a rotary/W5000 Double Sided Wool Pad/1800 rpm/5lbs pressure. Total cut on the M80 under these circumstances will be greater than the M105 combination cited above. (NOTE: you would probably never run M80 in this configuration - in fact, it isn't officially recommended by Meguiar's and is described here for illustration purposes ONLY)

At the risk of making this even more complicated, let's take a quick look at pad size when machine polishing. The increasing popularity of 4" foam pads has brought about a major variable. Sure, they make it easy to machine polish in smaller, tighter areas but they also alter the total cut. On a rotary buffer a smaller pad actually provides less cut (assuming similar foam construction, speed and pressure) because the speed at the outer diameter is lower than with a larger pad. We've already established that with a rotary buffer more speed equals more cut, so this slower speed at the outer edge of the pad falls right into that equation. On a D/A polisher the opposite effect results - a smaller pad gives more cut (again assuming similar foam construction, speed and pressure) because the energy is concentrated in a smaller area. The prevailing notion that you can not burn through or otherwise damage your paint when using a D/A needs to be reconsidered when using small pads. We've seen people damage paint while using a 4" cutting pad on a D/A running at maximum speed with a strong compound. When you compare that combination to a standard 6" or 7" pad with a mild paint cleaner used on speed 5, the increase in total cut is quite dramatic. It wasn't very long ago that this combination of small pad/high speed/aggressive compound was quite rare, but it's becoming more and more common place. And if you aren't thinking about how your changes effect total cut, you could be in for a surprise.

Probably nowhere is the concept of variables dictating total cut more fully experienced than when using M86 So1o Cut & Polish Cream. M86 was developed specifically for use on fresh paint, primarily in a body shop environment, and is truly part of a "system". The system is comprised of a single liquid and four different pads; a heavy wool cutting pad, light wool cutting pad, foam polishing pad and foam finishing pad. The idea is to use the liquid with one of the wool cutting pads to eliminate sanding marks, an initial cutting step done at fairly high speed - something on the order of 1500 to 1800 rpm. You would then follow with the foam finishing pad to remove any holograms or light marring, and then finish off with the foam finishing pad at a speed as low as perhaps 900 rpm to obtain a flawless finish. The very same liquid used to pull out sanding marks will also provide a flawless, highly reflective finish? Because of the variables involved and their impact on total cut, yes.


http://archive.meguiarsonline.com/forums/photopost/data/1348/solo1.gif

So next time your goal is to remove defects from the paint, consider not only which paint cleaner or compound you'll be using, but how you'll be using it. You choice of machine, speed, pad construction, pad size and pressure will all impact how much cut you'll get out of the liquid.

One last thought - just because a certain combination of the above variables worked on your friend's or neighbor's car does not guarantee the same result on your car because, you guessed it, the paint itself is a variable! And you wonder why this is often referred to as "the art of paint polishing"!

TH0001
Oct 22nd, 2009, 01:20 PM
Absolutely TOP NOTCH article Michael... VERY NICE! Thank you for putting this together for us!!!

ClearlyCoated
Oct 22nd, 2009, 02:22 PM
Another well thought-out, well written MOL thread for my saved links folder!

Thanks Mike!

Dan Fisher
Oct 22nd, 2009, 02:38 PM
I Would not want to be the one to make that mistake with the small pads, high speed, heavy pressure!!! Outstanding article Mike, as already said one to keep for future referral !!!!!!

Hemin8r
Oct 22nd, 2009, 02:54 PM
Great job putting this together Mike. This here really does give a good idea of how many variables there are. :xyxthumbs

Bunky
Oct 22nd, 2009, 03:15 PM
Great chart !!!!!

Mikejl
Oct 22nd, 2009, 03:50 PM
Mike,

Excellent chart! Very clear and nicely put together. :goodjob2

Mike

73corvette
Oct 26th, 2009, 08:55 AM
Michael,
I'm a consumer not a detailer, but I'll tell you in doing mt vette I am learning a lot why the good detailers get the big bucks and I am also gaining a lot of experience by doing this myself, who said you can't teach an old dog new tricks,lol. I would have never tried this if it weren't for this forum and all the knowledge and help that I've received from all the guys on this forum and I thank all you very much for the for the kind reception that I received here.
You guys are the BEST!

Rich

irf@n
Oct 26th, 2009, 10:33 PM
Great guide!

Mark Kleis
Oct 27th, 2009, 01:31 AM
I'm really surprised this hasn't gotten more replies... :scratchhead1

This took a tremendous amount of meticulous research and work, and more importantly, it points out some very key concepts to paint correction that are often misunderstood, or missed completely by amateurs just getting started.

This is the type of guide that is worth getting printed out at Kinkos, laminated, and stuck in your detailing bag to stay with you where ever you go to detail.

Well done Mr. Stoops! :xyxthumbs

73corvette
Oct 27th, 2009, 04:49 AM
I'm really surprised this hasn't gotten more replies... :scratchhead1

This took a tremendous amount of meticulous research and work, and more importantly, it points out some very key concepts to paint correction that are often misunderstood, or missed completely by amateurs just getting started.

This is the type of guide that is worth getting printed out at Kinkos, laminated, and stuck in your detailing bag to stay with you where ever you go to detail.

Well done Mr. Stoops! :xyxthumbs
Mark
Truer words were never spoken, if were in this business that is just what I'd do.
Fact I'm not and I'm still going to do it.
Rich:hotrod2

xcfw
Nov 3rd, 2009, 09:39 AM
Thanks Mike. Would it be possible for you to comment on this, to help me get a better epectataion of cut. And yes, I'm a consumer and a noob to boot, just trying to get my head around it....

What would be the total cut difference between the posssible combinations I have to work with this week. And just to make it an easier comparison lets assume equal speed and pressures (while acknowledging that they do have a big effect in themselves)

Products- UC, SwirlX and 205
Pads- 8207 and 9207 on a 110

UC/8207 would be the most cut obviously, and 205/9207 would be the least.
But what about the other 4 possible combos- where do they fall?

UC/8207 >Swirlx/8207 >UC/9207 >205/8207 >swirlx/9207 >205/9207 ???:dunno Or how do they stack up/cut down?

TIA

Michael Stoops
Nov 3rd, 2009, 01:41 PM
Your list from most to least aggressive is pretty much right on the money, but the colored pairs shown below would likely be so close in total cut as to be a wash - depending on the paint you may not notice much of anything between them. Again, this assumes equal speed and pressure.

UC/8207 >Swirlx/8207 > UC/9207 > 205/8207 > swirlx/9207 >205/9207

Consider, however, that you'll generally work a polishing pad with a bit more speed and pressure and you might want to reverse the order of the colored pairs. But again, you're kind of splitting hairs. You certainly don't need to do ALL of these steps, but we suspect you already understand that.

RaskyR1
Nov 3rd, 2009, 02:50 PM
Excellent write up Mike! :xyxthumbs

HealthyCivic
Nov 11th, 2009, 09:06 PM
Mike,

Thanks for the great post. Phillips used to mention all the time how it wasn't just the product, just the pressure, or just the pad that determined the outcome but a combination of all of those things. Your post demonstrated this very well and I can definitely save this to show to the next guy I encounter who's unclear about why he's not getting the results he wanted or expected while using a particular product.

Garage Troll
Dec 13th, 2009, 07:43 AM
This is a great write up. So I guess when I get my Soft Buff 2.0 polishing pads I should try some M105 on the deeper clear coat scratches huh? They look like someone rubbed up against the side of the car before I owned it. It wouldn't be such a big deal but since the other side was repainted due to a kid hitting it with a bike it really looks off when looking at it with a flourescent (sic) light.

Would you guys suggest starting with a slower speed on my PC and lighter pressure and then stepping up to a faster speed and more pressure? I'm getting the feeling that that's the way to go.

Michael Stoops
Dec 14th, 2009, 08:56 AM
Garage Troll, can you feel any of these deeper scratches with your fingernail? If so, then the best you can generally expect is to perhaps minimize their appearance but you most likely won't get rid of them. If you can not feel them, however, then you should be able to eradicate them.

Starting with too slow a machine speed when defect correction is the aim generally just ends up with a poor result. If you're finding that a product like SwirlX is doing a great job on all but the most stubborn defects, then step up to Ultimate Compound but keep the machine at the same speed and use the same type of pad. Don't change multiple variables at one time as you won't get a true comparison of the two products.

Kevin Brown
Feb 22nd, 2010, 04:58 PM
Just happened across this thread by way of Mike Phillips' thread about SMAT aggressiveness:
http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=40514

I think you should make the diagrams on this thread easier to find. These diagrams go a long way towards helping eliminate the confusion that always seems to accompany discussions about aggressiveness, especially when consumer items are compared to professional items.

Way to go, Stoops! :bow

zaidgreat
Feb 22nd, 2010, 06:15 PM
Maybe we should let consumers products not to be compared to professional products? :xyxthumbs

Therefore less confusions will arise.

BTW Micheal Stoops, good thread....thanks

Daniel Kinder
Feb 22nd, 2010, 07:29 PM
Fantastic thread! :xyxthumbs

Thanks for taking the time.

B2319
Apr 2nd, 2010, 06:06 AM
I'm a newby and this answered so many of my basic questions. I thank you for all of the effort put into this article. You should have this as the first page in a newby forum.

FRS
May 30th, 2010, 11:02 PM
Valuable info there.

Thanks!


:hotrod2

Dgioconto
Aug 14th, 2010, 11:38 AM
Very precise and instructive. Great reading!

So we must be careful to read some "comparative"
spread around the Internet.

Tanks!

rapport25
Aug 17th, 2010, 11:49 AM
In a word fantastic. :worship


I have just purchased my first g220 d/a and I love it!!! Can you advise if I can use dc01 paint cleaner with a d/a or am i wasting my time.

I have various from ulitimate compound/scratch x 2.0/swirl x/dc01.

I know everyone keeps saying least aggresive. Please help a meguiars fan from the uk.

Rappy Scottwax2

Murr1525
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:05 PM
Yes, DC1 can be used.

It will still be mild, but the pad will allow some minor defect removal, more than by hand.

Still probably not the best choice for defect removal, fine for regular cleaning.

rapport25
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:24 PM
Yes, DC1 can be used.

It will still be mild, but the pad will allow some minor defect removal, more than by hand.

Still probably not the best choice for defect removal, fine for regular cleaning.

Great thanks :xyxthumbs:xyxthumbs. I was thinking of using it on a new car detail and car that has very fine swirls/cleaning. E.g cars I have detailed in the past that dont need u/c or swirl x but just a very mild cut.

I would imagine as most people suggest do a test spot first then decide. In the uk they still stock dc01 and as I have 4 bottles left I would like to use it up.

Is there anything to be gained by using all 3. starting with u/c/swirl x/dc01 other than more time? I have a friend who wants me to detail his porsche. Its not a daily drive so I have plenty of time to fit it in around my day job.

Murr1525
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:37 PM
It would be very rare to need all 3.

You want the cleaner to leave a good finish, and UC may leave some marring on some paints, so you would want a milder cleaner to follow up. But would usually just need one or the other mild cleaners, not both.

SwirlX is a cleaner/polish, so adds some oils that the other products dont. But following up with a proper pure polish (DC2) is going to be the best way to polishing oils on a show car.

Poki
Aug 17th, 2010, 12:53 PM
Great write up! Thanks. Now for the embarrassing thing I learned....I really never have purchased Mirror Glaze items but have seen them on the shelves. Never paid any attention to the red arrows....duh...what a neat idea and easily signals the cut of the product. Sure saves reading a lot of fine print and trying to determine exactly what it's trying to tell me. :poke

rapport25
Aug 17th, 2010, 01:11 PM
It would be very rare to need all 3.

You want the cleaner to leave a good finish, and UC may leave some marring on some paints, so you would want a milder cleaner to follow up. But would usually just need one or the other mild cleaners, not both.

SwirlX is a cleaner/polish, so adds some oils that the other products dont. But following up with a proper pure polish (DC2) is going to be the best way to polishing oils on a show car.

Thanks for your help, again :xyxthumbs.

I have heard about that on some paint finishes uc can leave some marring. My plan is to follow with dc02 followed by nxt tech wax 2.0 and gc carnuba plus when it finally lands in the uk!!. For now it will be 2 coats of nxt tech wax 2.0.

I would imagine since the launch of u/c and swirl x there really is no use/need for dc01.

Murr1525
Aug 17th, 2010, 02:01 PM
Some people still want something milder that SwirlX, but the 'need' isnt really there.

BlackScreaminMachine
Oct 7th, 2010, 05:29 AM
This is indeed a fantastic artical and people should really give it a once over, especially when they are correcting paint.

rmatamorz
Oct 7th, 2010, 06:44 AM
Wooowww your articles are just a great guide.... to bad that in my country we don't have all of Meguiars products. :( but I do have what I need to make my car shine..

npj
Feb 27th, 2011, 05:44 AM
can you feel any of these deeper scratches with your fingernail? If so, then the best you can generally expect is to perhaps minimize their appearance but you most likely won't get rid of them.
Hi

This is a really informative article and I must thank you for taking the time to write it, this has helped answer many questions. I am a big fan of maguiars and only use meguiars products. I have a few deep scratches on one side that I need to try and remove. I have read your aforementioned comments that if you can feel the scratch that you are only likly to minimise the scratch rather than remove it.

I will buy some UC and use with my Meguiars DA and 8207 pad, then use progressivly less aggressive proucts/pads. This should hopfully minimise these deep scratches.

Once again thank you Michael Stoops for this excellent article that has helped me answer a number of questions.

SoCalAnt
Mar 16th, 2011, 09:23 PM
My mind just got blown. Excellent post. Thank you for this.
:worship

DYNAMIC
Apr 18th, 2011, 08:26 PM
thanks mike just by reading all this now i understand! now how do u now what kind of cut to use on what paint .::rolleyes:

Michael Stoops
Apr 19th, 2011, 07:29 AM
thanks mike just by reading all this now i understand! now how do u now what kind of cut to use on what paint .::rolleyes:

That's what your test spots are for - you don't know for sure if the paint on a car you're working on for the first time is hard, soft or otherwise until you do a test spot or two.

We can give you a great starting point for the vast majority of paints - Ultimate Compound, W8207 Soft Buff 2.0 polishing pad, G110v2 set at speed 5, moderate pressure - but from there your test spot will tell you how long you need to work a given area, how much more or less pressure you need, or if UC is either too aggressive (very delicate paint) or not aggressive enough (very hard paint). That's where your constantly developing skills come into play. Look through the threads from pictures from our Saturday classes (http://meguiarsonline.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=36) and you'll see that this is what we've used exclusively since UC was introduced. And you'll see it's success on a wide variety of cars, most of them black, most of them in pretty rough shape to begin with. And keep in mind that the results are from doing a pretty quick test spot at that - spend a bit more time and the results can still be better. All depends on what you want to achieve.

marley
Apr 30th, 2011, 11:58 AM
nice one thanks, very helpful

AUS
May 20th, 2011, 04:22 AM
this article helped alot, thanks michael...


as a note:

You would then follow with the foam finishing pad to remove any holograms or light marring, and then finish off with the foam finishing pad at a speed as low as perhaps 900 rpm to obtain a flawless finish. The very same liquid used to pull out sanding marks will also provide a flawless, highly reflective finish? Because of the variables involved and their impact on total cut, yes.

should it be polishing or finishing??

Michael Stoops
May 20th, 2011, 06:57 AM
as a note:

You would then follow with the foam finishing pad to remove any holograms or light marring, and then finish off with the foam finishing pad at a speed as low as perhaps 900 rpm to obtain a flawless finish. The very same liquid used to pull out sanding marks will also provide a flawless, highly reflective finish? Because of the variables involved and their impact on total cut, yes.

should it be polishing or finishing??
Keep in mind that very few compounds can be used to both remove sanding marks and finish out to a very nice, clear and glossy finish. M105 can, under certain conditions, but that's pretty rare for almost any compound, and darn near impossible for most.

The intent of this article is to describe the varying levels of cut that can be achieved with a given liquid, not necessarily how far you can stretch that liquid. M86 So1o was engineered to be a one liquid system with the cut dramatically varied by pad selection, tool speed, etc. That is simply not the case with most compounds however - their total range is not that broad. Try finishing out with M84, for example, or removing sanding marks effectively with M09, and you'll see what we mean.

AUS
May 20th, 2011, 12:19 PM
ahaaa...thanks for the clarification Michael

pistonslap8814
Feb 7th, 2012, 06:36 PM
This is an excellent and incredibly educational read.

Slidder
Sep 24th, 2012, 07:35 PM
Mark: As you stated: "This is the type of guide that is worth getting printed out at Kinkos, laminated, and stuck in your detailing bag to stay with you where ever you go to detail. . . . . . . .

As with the article Mike printed on the DA buffing 101 and now this article, I just finished printing it off and it's in a plastic liner, in my Detailing Information book that hangs on the wall of my shop. I'm not an expert with this "disease" of buffing so when I create a problem or need help in solving one, I always pull my book off the wall and with articles such as Mike writes, I can always count on finding a solution. IF the solution is not in my book then in my shop I also have a laptop that is extremely useful so I can log onto the forum/s and look for solutions that way also. Great information is a wealth of knowledge.

FFP10
Dec 10th, 2012, 09:00 PM
It's all clear to me now! Excellent article

grldjns
Jan 20th, 2013, 04:53 PM
Great job putting this together Mike. This here really does give a good idea of how many variables there are. :xyxthumbs

I just bought an rv it has a fiberglass. can I use that on my rv its an 06 and has oxidation on the front and back. I bought the med cut cleaner and polish you think that will work on my problem

mark o
Feb 25th, 2017, 12:35 AM
I have a truck I hunt in. the truck is pretty scratched up, so I figure I can kind of practice on it to see what

I can and cant do. would you start with the 105. thanks

Nick Winn
Feb 25th, 2017, 07:16 AM
I have a truck I hunt in. the truck is pretty scratched up, so I figure I can kind of practice on it to see what

I can and cant do. would you start with the 105. thanks

Hey Mark O,

Are you using a DA Polisher or a Rotary Polisher? How severe would you say the scratches are? This will help us recommended a system or products to address the defects. You could also start your own thread & post some pictures of the truck also.

- Nick

mark o
Feb 25th, 2017, 09:49 PM
I have a wen rotary buffer. scratch x want work. most of them you can feel with your finger nail. if you would like I can take some pics and put on here.