This here is the subject at hand. A '40 ford. Seen better days with the paint. Swirl marks, scratches, scrapes, nicks, etc. Unfortunately I have no 100% completed pics, but use your imagination. Anyway. Subject at hand, you can tell the paint needs some love. Materials needed for just buffing & polishing are simple. Get yourself a rotary buffer / polisher. (if you haven't done it before, maybe stay with a PC whatever oribital buffer...don't expect it to cut like a rotary does, however it IS harder to zip through your paint with an orbital) I use a Milwaukee myself - variable speed setup. I set mine up with 3M's hookit system - works awesome. The pads & backing plate are a "velcro" like system which allows super fast pad changes and quick changes whenusing a variety of pads for different purposes, like a wool (or even a coarse foam) rough cut with rubbing compound up through a fine foam pad with the final polish & machine glaze. I do use different pads with each step, and wash my pads frequently. It helps being OCD with the stuff as far as washing / maintence is concerned. From there, get yourself setup with your materials of choice. Personally I use 3M's Pefect It, I've also used meguires, Finesse It from 3m, etc. and they work about the same, just I now stick with 3M exclusively. They do work differently as far as cutting and such - some work better for some people than others, personally I found 3M to work awesome with HOK's clear as well as on older lacquer jobs, which is why I like 3M, everybody likes different suppliers, use what you like / can get a hold of. Aside from that I like to keep at least a half dozen micro fibre towels on hand. Unfortunately I dont have pictures of all the steps at this point, apologies. I also recommend having at least one if not TWO buckets on hand with 2 sponges, a hose, and some tunes worth a shit cranking on the radio. Tools needed - Milwaukee 7/9" polisher. 0-1750 rpm. my weapon of choice. 3m hook-it backing plate. Foam polish pad. wool compounding pad. rough cut. Glaze for light colors. The glaze for dark colors I don't have a pic of, but the PN on the bottle is 05996. I will warn you, to get yourself set up like this (and I haven't even covered the bottles of machine glaze / hand glaze) budget about $375-$400 if you buy it all new and are starting from scratch. It's not cheap, but when you use it often it pays for itself using high quality pieces. Step 1. Wash the vehicular implement. I use one sponge for the first wash after wetting & giving it a good blast to knock the loose crap off the car. Keep the first sponge in it's own bucket filled with soapy water. I do a first "initial" scrub down with that sponge AFTER giving it a good hose down to remove any loose crud from the top down. From there I hose it off. Then I grab my second bucket and second sponge (clean one) and wash the vehicle more thoroughly now that the chance for draging crap across the surface has been greatly reduced. yes, it's redundant and shows signs of being OCD, but such is life. Step 2. Dry off vehicle. I again use microfibre towels. If a towel hits the ground, throw it to the side and grab a clean one. seriously. Step 3. Get your wool buff out and your rubbing / machine compound. Put enough compound on the panel (dry by now) to cover about a 2' x 2' are ( I actually tend to do about a foot and a half by a foot and a half, although sometimes i'll work up to a 3' x 3'ish area). From there I like to swirl the buffer (without the pad spinning, make sure the pad is cleaned and prepped. I use a wheel sold for that purpose on wool pads. It's a little spikey looking thing that you run the buffer into while holding the tool against the spinning pad and working it back and forth. It pulls the compound in the pad out, and kinda "works" the pad in if you will as wool pads when new (even when used) should be worked in. Anyway, from there spread it across the area you will be buffing. Step 4. Start the bugger. I like to start slow and speed the thing up as the compound gets into the pad and spread around the panel to keep from flinging crap *everywhere*. Just my personal preference. Be careful to keep the pad flat to the surface rather than tilting the bugger at an extreme angle. That's how burns happen. burn through are *bad* mkay. Also when coming to an edge, sharp edges I'll mask off with 1/4-1/2 sometimes 3/4" masking tape. Rather not burn an edge and have to go back in and touch it up. Not good. I do sharp creases / edges by hand. It's worth the extra time. That said you can work edges a certain way.. by buffing OFF edge, NOT into. Into the edge WILL *very* quickly eat away the paint and leave you a nice burn through. not good. I personally start my buffer off slow and work it up to about 1500-1700 rpm with the first compound. I tend to apply light-medium pressure at first, and as the compound starts to dry (you'll be able to see it easily and if i remember i'll snap a pic of "wet" and "drying" compounds next week) I lighten up the pressure and let the buffer lightly glide across turning a higher rpm to more polish than "cut" if you will. You'll be able to see it bringing out the shine and removing the dullness of the paint, light scratches, etc. That said it WILL leave swirl marks. Relax. That's what the polish is for. It also might take you a time or two of buffing with the compound to get it to where it should be, which is a glossy finish, free of defects save for the swirl marks that chances are damn high will be there from buffing. If you wetsanded the paint, make sure the sand scratches are gone. In conclusion - buffer swirl marks = OK. Other marks - sand scratches, scratches in general, etc. = not ok. Once that is done wipe that area down thoroughly with a microfibre towel, also being sure to remove any compound for adjacent panels that may have found it's way onto them and check again. Step 5. I switch to a *fine*foam pad for the polish once the whole car has been buffed with the wool pad and compound. They do have rough cut foam pads.. but i like wool pads. I do the same kinda thing starting slow and working up with the rpm as it starts to dry and lighten up the pressure. you'll see it polishing out the swirl marks as you go. careful with edges again. More on this step later. Step 6 machine glaze - same thing as the polish procedure wise with a fine foam pad, just using machine glaze as a last step. note the door. fender compounded, polished and still needing to be hit with machine glaze and then hand glaze. That was only about 1/3-1/2 way through the process I go through. At that point the thing still needed the final polishing, machine glaze and hand glaze. I didnt touch the right side on purpose. It's been washed down, cleaned up, etc. but not touched with the buffer. I realize threads like this have probably been done, and not everybody likes shiny or should even consider getting close to their paint with a rotary buffer..but use at your own risk, and remember everybody does it differently. What works for me, you may hate / disagree with.