Just in case you missed it, the last couple of issues featured how-to stories on detailing a vehicle. The first installment covered the proper way to wash and protect a truck's paint and interior. It was a pretty basic story, but it had some good tips to help you do a better job. The second story delved a little deeper and showed how to use a D/A polisher to remove stubborn swirl marks. Swirl marks can be removed by hand, but not very easily. Meguiar's new D/A polisher, combined with some ScratchX, made quick work of those tiny little defects.

Now it's time to really get into some serious stuff: color-sanding and rubbing, or for those in the know, cut and buff.

When paint is applied to a vehicle, it almost never fails: There's bound to be some texture or orange peel on the surface once it dries. Now, there are painters out there who can spray a smooth gun finish, but even these finishes can be made smoother by following our advice.

The products we used for this article come from Meguiar's Mirror Glaze professional line (more info later in the story). The one thing that you can't get from Meguiar's is the rotary buffer. There are a lot on the market, and how much you plan to use one will dictate which to buy. We know that the DeWalt 849 and the Makita 9227CY are good choices. The DeWalt is a little heavier than the Makita, but both of them feature a variable speed control, which is crucial for this job.

Although we're pretty good with a buffer, we're no experts. So, we made one more trip to the Meguiar's facility to get hands-on instruction from Director of Training Mike Pennington (you might remember him from the D/A story last month). Mike had a hood that was fresh from the paint booth and in need of a cut and buff. The orange peel of the paint is typical of what you'd see, so it was a perfect candidate.

The Products
Here are all of the products needed to perform a professional-style cut and buff. Everything you see here can be purchased from Meguiar's except for the buffer. The company's Unigrit finishing papers feature uniform grit particles for an even sanding pattern, which eliminates the risk of deep sanding scratches. There are two different pads and polishes in the photo, each with a specific use. The wool pad combined with the 105 Ultra-Cut Compound will remove the bulk of the sanding scratches. The foam pad and Swirl Free Polish will take out any swirl marks left by the wool pad. The Final Inspection will help clean the area before the job and keep it nice after you've finished.