Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools
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    Detailing Dunce akimel's Avatar
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    Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    Is it possible to abuse a tool, and if so, how do we specify the conditions for this abuse?

    Consider these much beloved abuses of the fork. Please watch these two videos before continuing with the rest of the article:










    Did Scuttle abuse the fork when he used it to straighten his feathers? Did Ariel abuse it when she used it as a comb? What does it mean to use the word abuse in this context? Does it even have any meaning?

    And perhaps the most philosophically interesting question: When Ariel combed her hair with the implement, was she using a fork or a dinglehopper?

    Clearly Ariel's use of the artifact to comb her hair contradicts the intent of the original creator of the fork. The inventor, whomever he was, presumably intended the fork to serve as an instrument to aid in the transfer of food to the human mouth. He most certainly did not intend it to be used to comb hair or feathers. Yet is Ariel abusing the tool? Of course, one might at this point invoke Ariel's ignorance. She is mistaken about the dinglehopper's original purpose. But let's assume, for purposes of discussion, that she understood that it was originally conceived for other purposes, yet choose to use it as a comb anyway. Did she abuse it?

    The answer is: No, of course not. The fork is a tool, and tools are functionally defined. Their identity does not lie within themselves but in their usage. In themselves tools are simply objects, things. Typically they are things that have been been made by human beings, i.e., artifacts. A thing becomes a tool, a specific kind of tool, by being used to accomplish specific tasks. In the hands of one person an artifact can be a fork; in the hands of another, a dinglehopper. Use defines tool identity.

    Eric and Grimsby may be shocked by Ariel's curious, nontypical use of the fork, but in fact she wasn't using a fork; she was using a dinglehopper.

    In the movie Becket, Thomas Becket introduces forks to the king and barons.
    Thomas a Becket: Tonight you can do me the honor of christening my forks.
    King Henry II: Forks?
    Thomas a Becket: Yes, from Florence. New little invention. It's for pronging meat and carrying it to the mouth. It saves you dirtying your fingers.
    King Henry II: But then you dirty the fork.
    Thomas a Becket: Yes, but it's washable.
    King Henry II: So are your fingers. I don't see the point.
    The barons did not see the point of the fork either and ended up stabbing each other. Did they abuse the fork when they used it for stabbing rather than for feeding? Did they misuse the fork when they decided to employ it as a weapon?

    If you are tempted to say "yes," then you have fallen victim to the aetiological fallacy: i.e., the blunder of assuming that if one has correctly identified the origins of _____, one has in fact provided a sufficient explanation and justification of _____.

    History is full of examples of tools being used to accomplish tasks never entertained by their inventors. As has been often pointed out, the dual action polisher was first marketed not as a paint polisher but as a wood sander. I do not know when someone first came up with the of adapting it to polish cars. Perhaps some people even objected to the idea. "It's a wood sander, man, not a paint polisher!" But of course there is no reason whatsoever why any given tool might not be adapted for new and different purposes. Tools, after all, are precisely tools. They can be made and re-made to be precisely what we want and need them to be.

    Is it a wood sander or a paint polisher? Is it a fork or a dinglehopper?

    In recent weeks I have come across on different detailing forums the claim that the "Kevin Brown Method" using the dual action polisher with Meguiar's non-diminishing abrasive polishes represents an abuse of the machine. As far as I can tell, those who make this argument are not claiming that the Method actually causes premature failure of the polisher, and no data is offered in support of such a claim; rather the claim seems to be precisely aetiological. As one person writes, "The pc is not designed to do what the KB method shows. I have no problem with the person themselves [sic] and have heard great things about him [viz., Kevin Brown], but promoting mis-use of a tool to me is wrong. To me and numerous others the pc is being pushed to do something it is not intended to do. It is a finishing sander for wood so it is not built for any added pressure." Note that abuse here is stipulated as use contrary to the intentions of the original designers. But clearly this is a non sequitur. The intention of either the original designer or the present manufacturer is completely irrelevant, nor does it matter how the polisher was marketed in the past, is marketed in the present, or will be marketed in the future. What determines proper use of a given tool is the actual use of the tool: Does it or does it not accomplish what the user of the tool hopes or intends by the employment of the tool? Even if the use were to cause "premature" failure of the tool, it doesn't mean that the tool is being abused. The tool could still be effectively accomplishing the work he wants it to do, and he may well judge that the benefit of operation outweighs the cost of replacement. Perhaps no other tool exists to accomplish the task that needs to be done. Perhaps another tool can do the work as well if not better, e.g., a rotary polisher, but he cannot afford to purchase it or does not have the skills to properly operate it.

    All of these considerations lead me to the conclusion that the invocation of "abuse" is inappropriate when speaking of tools. It's a category mistake. Does it make sense to speak of the abusing of tools? One can abuse people, but can one abuse artifacts? If I spend $2,000 on a new iMac and then use it as a doorstop, I may well be guilty of not using the iMac according to the intentions of the original designers, and I am most certainly guilty of not exploiting all of its many advantages and powers; but I certainly have not abused it. It certainly works as a doorstop. Tools cannot be abused, just as they cannot be murdered, wounded, hurt, exploited, or offended. Tools cannot be treated unjustly. Tools can be broken, but they are never the victims of immoral acts. If we wish to speak of tool abuse, then it's important to recognize that we are speaking only figuratively, not literally.

    What then might the metaphor of tool abuse signify? Let's return to the Kevin Brown Method and the PC. It is alleged that because of the heavy pressure prescribed by the method, the Porter Cable polisher is pushed beyond its limits. It simply was not built to sustain the amount of pressure stipulated by the process. Hence it might make figurative sense to speak of KBM detailers as "abusing" their machines; but only if in fact it were the case that their machines were breaking down under the strain. Premature failure or breakage, in other words, might suggest a misuse of a tool. If I employ a piece of wood as a lever and end up breaking it, perhaps I might be plausibly accused of having "abused" the piece of wood, though this is still a figurative manner of speaking. But the metaphor fails as metaphor if the piece of wood is not damaged by my actions. Similarly, it makes no sense to speak of PCs as being abused by the KBM if they do not appear to suffer any significant negative consequences, beyond, of course, the normal wear and tear that all tools suffer simply by being used to accomplish specific tasks.

    But we can push the matter even further. Let us hypothetically assume that the KBM does cause the premature failure of the dual action polisher, premature, that is to say, when contrasted with other uses of the machine. Even if that were the case, that does not mean that the polisher is thereby misused or abused. We may well judge that the benefits of the KBM outweigh the costs, either in the short-term or the long-term. Please understand: I do not have the competence to make any judgments whatsoever about the Kevin Brown Method. I do not know if it is an effective polishing method or not. But if it were an effective method, then I might well decide to employ the method, even though I know that I might have to purchase a new PC in three years time instead of five years. Do we not in fact make these kind of cost/benefit analyses every day of our lives? All tools eventually break down through usage. The more miles I put on my car, the shorter its effective life-span; but that doesn't mean that I am abusing it when I drive it a lot. I bought the car precisely to drive it a lot. And this brings us back to the key point: tools can be broken or worn out; they cannot be literally abused.

    Does the Kevin Brown Method work? Apparently it does, at least so say many detailers who have tried it. Does the Kevin Brown Method cause the premature failure of dual action polishers. Evidence has yet to be presented to support this charge. So what then is left of the charge of tool abuse? Nothing but an abused metaphor.

    Cheers,
    Al

    (I'd like to thank my son Aaron Kimel for his help in the writing of this article. I have stolen from him several of his ideas, especially the insight that tools are functionally defined. He also recommended the scene between Ariel and Scuttle as a good illustration for my argument.)
    Swirls hide in the black molecular depths, only waiting for the right time to emerge and destroy your sanity.
    --Al Kimel

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    They call me fitty 3Fitty's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    Hey Al, I know you know which side of this debate I come out on but I'm interested to know if you are posting this wonderful piece on other sites?

    I've been reading your posts long enough to know that you are about the least provocative forum poster out there, however, I think this post *might* be taken as provocative by a small, but vocal segment of the detailing world.

    Well reasoned and very thoughtful. Well done!

    +Rep
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    3Fitty - Now recommending products I have never used.

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    Detailing Enthusiast CieraSL's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    It's the season premiere of "Akimel Says the Darndest Things"!

    JK Al! Very interesting and thought provoking article. A good read, and I enjoyed every bit of it.
    Shane
    1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera SL

    If you trim yourself to fit the world you'll whittle yourself away. - Aaron Tippin

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    Registered Member Kevin Brown's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    I am a bit biased, of course.
    That being said, this write up makes a lot of sense and I think it is... FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC, FANTASTIC !!!

    Wonderfully entertaining, and it is virtually unarguable.

    I hope you don't get a lot of slack over this, but if you do... OH WELL!!!
    In the words of the infamous John McClane of Die Hard fame... "Welcome to the party, pAL!!!"
    Kevin Brown
    NXTti Instructor, Meguiar's/Ford SEMA Team, Meguiar's Distributor/Retailer

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    Registered Member rusty bumper's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    How much pressure are we referring to with the KB method...15 to 20lbs.?

    I've been using about that much pressure on my PC for 10 years now, and it's still running OK from what I can tell.

    Interesting writeup.
    r. b.

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    Registered Member Markus Kleis's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    What I find particularly humorous about this situation (I too saw it elsewhere, but decided not to jump into the quagmire) is the fact that the PC7424 and DA polishers are ALL being used for an unintended purpose if used for detailing at all!!

    They were original purely made for sanding, and then later made popular for use in detailing (by Meguiar's I believe?).

    So if the people making the claim that heavy defect removal is "wrong/abuse" because of the way the tool is used, then ALL automotive applications are also wrong! It's a sander!

    Or am I wrong?

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    www.6speedonline.com the_invisible's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    Yes, tools can be abused, literally.
    That is not a matter of philosophy, but a matter of practicality.

    For instance, according to the Porter Cable PC7424 Warranty Terms & Conditions, tool abuse can be implied as follows:

    use of improper chemicals, negligence, accident, failure to operate the product in accordance with the instructions provided in the Owners Manual(s) supplied with the product, improper maintenance, the use of accessories or attachments not recommended by Delta, or unauthorized repair or alterations.

    If the Kevin Brown Method meets one of the above conditions, then the Kevin Brown Method does involve tool abuse. An abuse that is clearly stated by the manufacturer, not one of mere metaphor.


    With that said, I am not familiar with the Kevin Brown Method. I am aware, however, that Kevin Brown has exhibited a thread about altering a rotary buffer. That, as it appears, is tool abuse.

    Back on the topic of the KBM. I don't see how shortening the life of a polisher could affect the well-being of one's life. If having to spend another $200 prematurely could impact your quality of life, then you have other life problems to deal with. Also, I have yet seen any instructions or side-by-side comparison pictures, or any comments (subjective or otherwise) regarding the KBM. Until there is any more solid evidence of the KBM, this method of detailing is just like The Little Mermaid... A Fairy Tale.

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    www.6speedonline.com the_invisible's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    Update:
    Just read a little about the KBM. It doesn't look it involves tool abuse of any kind. In fact I've been using the KBM for quite some time without knowing it. I learned that kind of pad priming from the instruction of my Orbital Buffer years ago. KBM is now calling this method his own now? Hmmm...

    Al Kimel, why the discussion about tool abuse and KBM? I don't see how the two relate. Although, I felt the needs to express my point that tools can be abused.

  9. #9
    Registered Member Kevin Brown's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by Rusty Bumper View Post
    How much pressure are we referring to with the KB method...15 to 20lbs.?
    An interesting question, and one that is not simple to answer.

    Before we discuss specifics, it is important to understand that an increase in downward applied pressure is often required when buffing pads are being used versus a sanding disc.

    A typical sanding disc utilizes a flat, hard, and pliable material as a backing, and the abrasive grains are glued or laminated to it. These are typically referred to as film backed discs. An abundance of pressure is not needed (nor desired) when sanding wood or paint because the abrasive grains are already positioned tightly against each other, and the grains are resting on the same plane. It is therefore relatively easy to level the material being work on. Adding excess pressure knocks the abrasive grains loose, shortening the life of the paper. The loosened grains are often trapped between the disc and sanded surface, forcing the grains into the softest material (usually the wood or paint- ouch!).

    Another type of sanding disc uses a thin foam interface between the attachment material and the abrasive side of the disc. These are typically referred to as foam backed discs. Often, the abrasive grains are attached to a very flexible or soft material. The soft interface and very pliable material allow the face of the disc to easily contour to the surface being sanded. Generally, no added pressure is needed for sanding with this type of disc for the same reasons previously listed. Should the user desire a bit more leveling capability, downward pressure could be increased to compress the foam. Once the foam has fully compressed, the abrasive grains will be forced into the paint. Usually, if extra leveling of the surface is desired, it is best to find a suitable film backed disc.

    If added contouring capability is needed, a foam interface pad can be inserted between the sanding disc and backing plate. The film backed disc will still cut the sanded material more level than a foam backed disc because the grains are attached to a material that will not allow the grains to "push" into the material they are attached to.

    Regardless the type of disc being used, one way to increase leveling capability is to use a larger stroke machine, or dramatically increase the oscillation speed. There is too much specific information about this topic, so you will have to take my word on this for the time being (this topic is discussed at length in my "paper").

    Now, let us delve into the dynamics of the buffing pad!
    The first thing to consider is that when we use a buffing pad, we are dealing with a LOT thicker foam material than the foam backed discs typically use, even with an interface pad placed between the backing plate and disc. The next thing to consider is that the abrasive grains are NOT permanently attached to the foam. Certainly, some of the grains attach, some roll about between the foam and the sanded surface, and other grains attach to the foam and then release. Finally, it must be understood that the abrasive grains are not evenly distributed. Some areas of the pad may have NO abrasive material attached to it, while other areas may have grains stacked upon other grains. The unevenly distributed material can sometimes cause microfine marring (or hazing) of the paint surface.

    To minimize the possibility of hazing, the pad should be properly primed with the buffing liquid, and firm and even pressure should be applied to the machine. FIRM does not mean FORCED! Firm simply means that the pad needs to have an even distribution of pressure applied to it. This accomplishes several things. First, the abrasive grains will cut consistently and evenly when they are contacting the paint surface level to each other. Picture this: If we were hand sanding, we would try our best to keep our hand backing pad level to the paint surface so that the paper could evenly abrade the paint surface, right? Firm pressure across the pad achieves this. Secondly, we want the abrasive grains to attach themselves to the foam. Certainly, we do not desire all of the grains to be attached because the loose and rolling grains serve a purpose, too. Primarily, their movements mimic rolling little spheres (think of ball bearings). This movement helps the pad to glide along, and as the grains roll about, they contact the grains that are attached to the pad, knocking them loose, and allowing them to possibly reattach to a different area of the pad, and in a different position.

    The original question was "How much pressure?!"
    Again, not so easy to generalize! If a short stroke machine is being used in conjunction with a tall or very soft buffing pad, then the buffing pad will likely cushion or negate a majority of the machine's oscillating movement. In this scenario, a LOT of pressure would be needed simply to deliver the machine's movements (this has NOTHING to do with any particular polishing procedure).

    These could be considered popular short stroke machines:
    3/32" diameter orbit- Metabo SXE400 or several air powered units,
    3/16" diameter orbit- DeWalt DW443, Festool Rotex RO150 FEQ, or the Griot's Garage RO (original machine),
    7/32" diameter orbit- Makita BO6040

    If a long stroke machine is being used in tandem with a short or stiff pad, there may be no need to ADD extra pressure to the machine. The Dynabrade 61379/61384 Dual Action Buffing Head features a 3/4" diameter stroke, which is huge.

    Most random orbital guys are using machines featuring a 5/16" diameter orbit. So, imagine the possible combinations!

    Machines utilizing a 5/16" orbit are:
    Meguiar's G100, G110, G220,
    Porter Cable 7424, 7335, 7336, 7424XP
    Griot's Garage (new machine)

    By now, I hope it is clear why blurting a generalized "amount of pressure" is not so wise.
    We have not even discussed the effects of pad diameter, but most guys know that a small diameter pad will deliver more pressure per square inch than a large diameter pad of a similar type.

    I will say that if a large amount of pressure is going to be applied, it should be done in very short bursts only.
    If enough pressure is being applied to stall the rotation of the machine, try using a different pad, a higher speed setting, a larger-stroke random orbital machine, a forced rotation machine, or a rotary machine (in that order).

    Another discussion with good information can be found here:
    http://www.detailingbliss.com/forum/...tml#post160091
    Kevin Brown
    NXTti Instructor, Meguiar's/Ford SEMA Team, Meguiar's Distributor/Retailer

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    They call me fitty 3Fitty's Avatar
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    Re: Dinglehoppers and the Abuse of Tools

    Quote Originally Posted by the_invisible View Post
    Update:
    Just read a little about the KBM. It doesn't look it involves tool abuse of any kind. In fact I've been using the KBM for quite some time without knowing it. I learned that kind of pad priming from the instruction of my Orbital Buffer years ago. KBM is now calling this method his own now? Hmmm...

    Al Kimel, why the discussion about tool abuse and KBM? I don't see how the two relate. Although, I felt the needs to express my point that tools can be abused.
    Because he is WAY to modest to answer for himself, Kevin is a real innovator in the detailing world and not someone who would puff his chest out and proclaim his greatness (even though he is probably on a very short list of the best detailers in America). As I know it, Kevin didn't even name the "KBM", it was named by another detailer (maybe Todd Helme - or someone else).

    In any event, I think the point of Al's original piece is that "abuse" is a descriptive word we associate with people. "Domestic abuse", "physicial abuse" and "psychological abuse" are all terms which carry a significant societal stigma and thus, the term "abuse" is rather harsh when discussing the topic. "Unintended use" seems much more appropriate, but at that point, I refer to Mark's post above which correctly indicates that upon it's creation, the DA was not "intended" for polishing.

    In that vain, Q-tips were intended to clean my ears but to a great job on my vents!

    That last thing I'll say on the issue is I think it is most prudent EVERYONE hold back judgment on the KBM until the paper is released. I don't presume to speak for Kevin when I say this, but I believe the KBM is "slightly" more than pad priming and pressure.

    At last read, I think I saw that the paper was 29 pages long... kind of tough to talk about pressure and pad priming for 29 pages. My guess is that there is a "tad" more to it, than that, so why don't we all wait to read it before we can make judgements about thie substance of the topic.
    ----------------------------------

    3Fitty - Now recommending products I have never used.

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