Took the Ugly Duckling in to last night’s Thursday Night Open Garage. I knew it would be like putting lipstick on a pig, and this pig did look a little better afterwards. O.D.’d on pizza and root beer, so I may not remember everything that happened, so here's a stream of consciousness account:

1. Stoops started off right away with, “I thought you said this bike was ugly, it looks kind of stealthy, not bad at all . . . “ And then I pointed out the overhead light was burned out and shined the Garage hand light on it. Stoops quickly back pedaled, “Ack! The paint is seriously swirled, what did you do it?” The bike is a month old. Those swirls were installed by the dealer, they come with the free wash, no extra charge.

2. The specs on the DA Power System tool state it is for on “corded 3/8 - 1/2" drills with 1,500 - 2,500 rpms range.” The Garage drill looked like the standard workhorse DeWalt 1/2 inch 7 or 8 amp variable speed drill, Not trusting these old eyes, I passed it to the closest T-NOGger spectating who confirmed the label said the drill is rated 0-850 rpm. Hmmm. The Craftsman 19.2v C3 cordless variable speed I brought with me is rated 0-400 on the “low” setting and 0-1400 on “high.” The DAPS was tried on both drills. The Craftsman had no apparent advantage over the DeWalt, because even though the speed was higher, as it turned out some pressure had to be put on the DAPS on this particular paint and torque of the cordless was not as high under pressure as the corded drill. For future reference, I have to try the DAPS with a spec drill, i.e., corded in the 1,500 - 2,500 rpm range.

3. The process to remove the swirls from the paint begins with a polishing pad (the maroon ones) and some Ultimate Polish. Noticeable improvement. Switch to M100 Pro Speed Cut with the buffing pad. More improvement, but some hazing develops. Next up, M100 with a polishing (yellow) pad. This combination was getting closer but still coming up short. Turns out an optimum combination (I’m sure there are more than one) for this particular paint was M100 on a yellow pad on a Meguiar's G110v2 da polisher. The DA polisher just had more grunt than the drills. Whether this was because one drill’s top speed was significantly below the DAPS spec and the other, while at the low end of spec speedwise, may not have had sufficient torque for being battery powered rather than corded, is an unanswered question.

4. At this point is should be pointed out that anyone who has ever taken the 101 or Advanced classes at Meguiars, or spend any time at all around Stoops, has heard him say “The most important tool is your head.” You see this with any professional who is good at what they do, whether a surgeon, a lawyer, the CPA who tactfully suggested you avoid the offshore investments and instead found you a gray area that would be less likely to trigger an audit, what they all have in common is an approach to their job that involves a combination of a good arsenal of tools, technique, some knowledge of the science of their craft, an artist’s touch, practice times 3, a focus on the goal and a willingness to try different things and different combinations to achieve that goal. If you don’t have the courage or luxury or personal liability insurance coverage to try out different things, borrow your grandma’s 1980 Chrysler LeBaron to practice and experiment on and apply Stoops’ advice to use your head, in this case to avoid getting caught.

5. There are too many small surfaces and sharp angles on this particular bike. The pads would get caught in some small area or hit up against a turn signal light or something sticking out and go flying off (use a freash pad when this happens). After going over as many surfaces as possible with the DA polisher, yellow pad, M100 the rest of the job was finished by hand. In almost total darkness, as the bike was outside the garage and the light was lost while I was stuffing my face with pizza. Just before taking off, I wheeled the bike into some light. Still lots of swirls, but those swirls were shiny! More than one Tnoggers remarked on how nice it looked in a bad light, one even sharing how he’d come across the same good-looks-in-bad-light phenomen with girls he had dated.

6. Ultimate Black worked really well on some plastic panels I tried it on. In the daylight this morning there was some very noticeable contrast with the spots I missed applying it last night in the dark. This improvement was in factory new plastic. When I took the bike in for the 600 mile service, someone ArmorAlled the area inside the front cowling and the Ultimate Black is a huge improvement over that shiny greasy look.

Didn't have time to get to cleaning the seat or the wheels. Need to go back to the next TNOG to finish the job and try out some new stuff.