View Full Version : Rate Your Skill Level

Michael Stoops
Aug 24th, 2010, 03:13 PM
All egos aside, how far has your detailing education progressed?

Aug 24th, 2010, 03:52 PM
I have a couple hundred hours into DA polishing and have used a dozen different polishes/compounds and 7-8 different types of pads from Chemical Guys and Lake Country from their red/blue finishing pads to purple hybrid foam/wool Kompressor pads.

I have not gotten into rotary buffing or wet sanding paint yet.

With that said, I gave myself a BA ranking.

Aug 24th, 2010, 04:11 PM
I've been painting and detailing cars for nearly 40 years. When I started a rotary and wool bonnets were all we had to work with. Wet sanding was done by hand for the most part and 800 wet/dry paper was about it.

Through the years there have been marked improvements in equipment, sanding, and chemicals which has caused the trade to literally explode! Slow-start variable speed rotary's to DA polishers are incredible additions.

Foam pads are another great discovery. Learning and knowing what pad to use with which chemical at what speed takes time but give the user a tremendous amount of flexibility when correcting a fiinish.

I tried damp sanding a clear coat which uses 3000 grit wet/dry paper on a DA sander with a few squirts of water. It sand so slow and finely I was really surprised.

Aug 24th, 2010, 04:13 PM

J. A. Michaels
Aug 24th, 2010, 05:05 PM
I would have to give me a ba, also.

Aug 24th, 2010, 06:30 PM
My guess would be right between MBA and Ph.d iam very good at polishing but i havent taken the time to realy do wet/dry sanding, iam moving into that area tho, i just ordered the full line of Unigrit papers and backing plates.

Aug 24th, 2010, 06:48 PM
Ph.D - Mike and I damp/wetsand and rotary just about every car we work on and have dozens of wetsanded/dampsanded cars under our belts now

Bill Davidson
Aug 24th, 2010, 09:20 PM
BA (Below Average)... :chuckle1
I'm fairly good with the DA, but I haven't mastered it yet. With the number of combinations of pads, compounds and paints, you could spend years refining your techniques with the DA alone.

I still have to try a rotary and wet sanding. I'm looking forward to the experience. Perhaps next year in the Spring.

Aug 24th, 2010, 11:17 PM
It looks like I'm BA , I wanna perfect my DA skills before working with a rotary or even thinking about wet sanding

Aug 25th, 2010, 02:35 AM
I'm between HS newbie and a BA. I'm not as proficient with the DA as I'd like to be but I'm past the point of doing everything by hand. Although I still do some things by hand, I'm past the point of being comfortable with the DA. My ultimate goal is to be proficient with the rotary and sanding skills.

Aug 25th, 2010, 03:09 AM
I forgot to add my skill level. :poke

Based on my experience through the years, I'm experience lacquers, metal-flake, enamels, acrylic enamels, urethane hardeners, DuPont Imron®, single stage, and 2 stage color coat - clear coat finishes. I do not have any experience with the latest water based finishes but a close friend has been spraying them for about a year now and said they're pretty good.

Finish wet sanding included and some damp sanding I'll rate an MBA.

Aug 25th, 2010, 08:16 AM
I used to think I was a Ph.d, having 35 years of experience in the new and used car business with a rotary. After spending a few months here soaking up information from both pros and dedicated enthusiasts, I've downgraded my current status to something closer to high school freshman.


Bill Davidson
Aug 25th, 2010, 08:21 AM
I used to think I was a Ph.d, having 35 years of experience in the new and used car business with a rotary. After spending a few months here soaking up information from both pros and dedicated enthusiasts, I've downgraded my current status to something closer to high school freshman.


I guess that's the difference between production and passion. I'm sure we could learn a few tricks from you, on the production side that would benefit us.

(p.s. I recognize the humor in your post)

Aug 25th, 2010, 09:11 AM
I too will have to say I'm in between a MBA and a PH. D. I have wet sanded defects but I still feel I need more experience in that area. Otherwise I am proficient with the rotory. So I chose MBA.

Aug 25th, 2010, 09:11 PM
I'd go for BA, though I would love to get my MBA soon and hopefully reach PhD too. hehe.

Aug 26th, 2010, 12:06 AM
High School Drop out !:chuckle1

Aug 26th, 2010, 04:30 AM
Even though I voted HS Grad, I think it's really more like a college sophomore. I have experience with SOME power tools (rotary from years past, new to using a DA), lotza time with hand work.

Make sense?


Bill Davidson
Aug 26th, 2010, 11:36 AM
High School Drop out !:chuckle1

Thanks okay Ravi. Thanks for coming out though. Here's a sticker.

Aug 27th, 2010, 08:35 AM
I've voted for BA, but there's no accurate category between that and HS grad. That's where I'm sitting. Less than 100 hours with a DA, but plenty of gumption to learn and experiment. I believe that a lot of my education comes from learning BEFORE doing :) I'd rather learn the easy way, thank you!
And thanks to MOL, I've come leaps and bounds farther than I ever would have without this site. Truly a wealth of information here - thanks :)

Aug 27th, 2010, 11:30 AM
I don't like working by hand, but am not "proficient" with a DA. I like using a DA, but need more experience. I think Mr. Stoops' description of proficient would include "able to make proper product and pad decisions". So although my education has progressed, but probably at that high school level yet due to limited experience.

Sep 1st, 2010, 09:45 PM
I rated myself an MBA, but would consider myself not quite graduated yet. Kinda in the "done the hard work and busy finalising my thesis" stage.

I am proficient with the DA and I am comfortable with the rotary, but wouldn't be as bold to claim that I am proficient with it. I've done quite a bit of wet sanding, but have not yet tried damp sanding.

Sep 2nd, 2010, 11:30 PM
I rated myself a BA. However, I won a trip to visit Auto Geek (see this thread: http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/company-forum-news-headlines/28172-win-trip-autogeek-show-car-garage.html, (http://www.autogeekonline.net/forum/company-forum-news-headlines/28172-win-trip-autogeek-show-car-garage.html) specifically posts #1, 8, 50, and 67), and so I will be attending both of Mike Phillips' classes. Will give me some hands-on experience with rotary buffing and wetsanding with one of the great masters. I can't wait!

Michael Stoops
Sep 3rd, 2010, 01:06 PM
Congrats on winning that trip, Shane, that's just awesome! You'll have a great time, Mike Phillips is an excellent teacher and just a nice guy all around. Have fun....... and let us know if you need to up your skill level rating when you get back!

Sep 13th, 2010, 08:17 AM
With all the added knowledge I've acquired over the last 4-5 years on MOL and some of the other forums, along with 20+ years experience, I'd like to think I've now received my Ph.d. :)

Flash Gordon
Sep 13th, 2010, 08:37 AM
3.5 microns from hack :burnoff

Sep 13th, 2010, 12:55 PM
3.5 microns from hack :burnoff


Sep 24th, 2010, 11:37 PM
After five plus decades of detailing / paint renovation / wet-sanding I would consider myself a Ph.D, although in recent years it purely an academic / teaching Ph.D

Sep 27th, 2010, 10:34 AM
I'm actually only a high school grad (freshman in college) but when it comes to detailing I'm somewhere between MBA and PhD. :coolgleam

john m.
Sep 27th, 2010, 08:38 PM
Im definitely a BA, though skill level wise whenever I see the work done by lots of the other guys around here its easy to keep your ego in check :D

Oct 13th, 2010, 04:48 PM
After 32 yrs I learn something with every paint correction and I stay at the Holiday Inn down the street every chance I get.

Oct 20th, 2010, 12:06 PM
Since starting here I was a strong H.S. Graduate. I decided to skip my BA/BS and go for the MBA. Once I feel good there. I will be buying the needed items for wetsanding. Tons of good info in the class section.

Nov 5th, 2010, 07:52 AM
I have learned so much from the great TNOG and Saturday events here. I feel so lucky to live in the area and be able to take advantage of what you here at Meguiar's make available to the enthusiast. The D/A buffer works for me and I feel very comfortable using it. The process of doing the job is what I have learned from you. I was one of those guys that just wax my car 4 times a year. I now do the 4 step process 1 a year and then just maintain it. It saves me time and the results are superb. A quality product that is easy to use and great help received from the people that work at Meguiar's is something not found often in today's market. I run a car club and I get such a kick out of showing up after doing my car which is silver and pulling into the event and parking right next to another silver car that uses a pro to detail their car with a different product that is way expensive, only to have them start a comparison between the two cars. The other person immediately opens their trunk and breaks out a micro fiber towel and their quick detailer and start wiping their car. Questions are then asked, who details my car and what expensive product do they use. When they find out I do it myself and the product I use, I first get that look of disbelief and then the questions of can I help them get the same look. I have converted so many people. Thank you again for all the wonderful help, you are awesome!

Nov 6th, 2010, 12:24 AM
oh man i havent even graduated high school

Dec 2nd, 2010, 03:11 AM
I would have to say MBA

Dec 2nd, 2010, 01:27 PM
I said BA, but feel I'm really a few credits short since I've never yet done an engine detail...

Dec 6th, 2010, 09:25 PM

Dec 7th, 2010, 07:50 AM
I started washing cars at a a vw dealer in 1958 when I was in the 9th grade after school. Since I was a total car nut, and wanted to buff my 1948 chevy convertible, the guys in the body shop started showing me how to buff out cars. Before long I was buffing and detailing used cars for the dealership. They furnished me a big heavy rotary, wool pads, some coarse compound, some fine compound and corn starch. From there I worked into the body shop and was painting cars before I graduated from high school.

I always used a rotary but bought a PCXP when they first came out. I was used to a rotary so never used the PC and forgot I had it until this summer when I stumbled onto a detailing forum. I must say that after using it and a shurhold that I bought ( I didn't even know Meguiar's made one then ) I really like them and am looking forward to getting the new DA microfibre system when it is finally released.

I wouldn't dare rate myself since at 67 I'm still learning. I always remember what my dad used to tell me when I thought I new it all.

Son, when you know it all, your as good as you are ever going to get.

Dec 14th, 2010, 07:39 PM
Guilty still in high school but wanting to take the step in to DA polishing glory.

Jan 30th, 2011, 04:14 PM
I placed myself as MBA because I use D/A and rotary while my wet sanding is limited to spot corrections by hand. With that said, I'm not comfortable saying I'm proficient with the rotary. I still prefer to fine tune the finish with my Flex vs trying to do it with the Makita.

Jan 31st, 2011, 05:52 AM
Have owned a lot of fast toys over the years. I always put the priority on making things go fast first then making them look good second . As I have grown older my priorities are starting to change!!
I would say a BA.:hotrod2

Mar 21st, 2011, 06:13 AM
Why is there no "Kindergarten" option? I haven't even polish by hand. My paint is currently curing. New to cars and detailing. 100% Pre-Chool Noob.:D

Oct 23rd, 2011, 07:13 PM
I actually started the other way around. I learned how to use the rotary first, thanks to some help from the local Meguiar's traning facility. And I've watched tons of instructional videos on rotary and DA polishing. Now that my DA is here, I think I will have quite an easier time to adapt and master this machine.

Oct 24th, 2011, 08:41 PM

Although, if anyone remembers, I won the monthly giveaway at MOL and my G100 and I have bonded pretty good....just not that good...

Oct 25th, 2011, 05:09 AM
Detailing for over 15 years I consider my self a master. But ther is always new tricks to learn.

Garage Troll
Nov 26th, 2011, 11:04 AM
I'm pretty darned proficient with the D/A and have dabbled in some wet sanding. I'm not bad with 3000 grit but I would really like to learn to use a rotary and more importantly becoming proficient in wet sanding.

Nov 27th, 2011, 02:28 PM
I'm a complete Newbie but I think I've picked up the D/A rather quickly thanks to this site! I've gotten some amazing results that the boss has really been impressed with.

Nov 28th, 2011, 02:59 AM
The more I learn, the more I realize what I don’t know. Then at some point, I hope to have learned enough to realize, that I know nothing at all

Nov 28th, 2011, 12:21 PM
intermedite..im great but im no expert.

Aug 15th, 2012, 11:32 PM
BA i might buy a rotary in the near future

Aug 16th, 2012, 02:39 PM
been a high school grad for nearly 10 years here.

Apr 21st, 2013, 08:52 PM
For exterior I am a Jr high student. For interiors, I probably have 2 Ph.D's.

Just bought my first da, but have been doing mainly interiors for 6 years, and have seen it all.

Apr 23rd, 2013, 05:39 AM
I would say I'm about a person going into there senior year and still learning on detailing. I've learn a lot over the years. I've been detailing since the 90's. I would watch my father clean my mothers vehicle and his on the weekends when I was little. So over the years I've been keeping my cars that I had cleaned and to this day still doing it. But now detailing others admit grew into a contract business.

Apr 23rd, 2013, 10:55 PM
I would say I'm in between High School Grad and BA. I am quite proficient with using my hands to correct paint time is basically my only constraint. Although I have experience with orbital polishers which I feel is very similar in feel to DA Polishers but with a lot less power and with limited compatibility with different cutting/polishing/finishing pads.

As for interiors, I've also been doing them for a long time but nothing too intensive. For that, maybe I'm a long time high school grad.

May 30th, 2013, 05:54 PM
I used to be ok. I was proficient, but this was back in the late 90's! I had a rotary buffer, and a 6" orbital waxer. I remember using #2, #9, #7, and #26. Getting back into it, with a d.a. has been so much fun. In a lot of ways I feel like I'm starting back in kindergarten! However, I'm absolutely loving being back behind the polisher. The new tools, chemicals and pads have proven to be a real advancement on the art. I love the new smat chemicals. They had been something I was longing for in the old days. We'll see. I've been caring for my neighbors cars the past couple of years by hand with "not as ideal" tools. Now that I'm in the game again, we'll see how long before I develop any proficiency!