Not Born to Buff

13 Jan

You might ask what my buffer is doing in the bathroom. I'll get to that.

I few months ago I ponied up and bought the Makita 9227c buffer/polisher. I'd accepted that no real buffing or polishing of paint, gelcoat, or stainless was going to happen by hand. I needed some horsepower, and followed many recommendations for this beefy, variable-speed machine, which cost about $250.

I am the first to show proper awe and reverence to a power tool, more so for anything that has a spinning blade. Before I use a table saw or circular saw I take all the proper precautions, check my surroundings, say a little prayer, and go to work. It is obvious what one of these things could do to a human body. But with my new Makita buffer, come on. Yes it's a power tool with lots of horsepower, but when I saw it with its lamb's wool buffing pad it looked so…lamb like. What's the worst that could happen to me, a rug burn?

As I was polishing the stainless on Condesa, the cord to the buffer got wrapped around the pad (at 1500 RPM, give or take) sucking my left hand into the disk. Luckily this violent action pulled the plug out of the extension cord, or it could have been worse. My left hand ended up lashed to the axle of the buffer so tightly that it looked like a pile of red and white candy canes. I assumed I had various broken bones, and wasn't even 100% sure all my fingers were still there. I carefully rotated the disk backwards, unwound 8 turns of electrical cord, and extracted my poor hand, which ended up bruised and battered, but with little blood. This was in the first ten minutes of using the thing. My left hand was sore for weeks.

The cord can very easily get tangled in the disk. Using the lambs wool pad, the cord wants to be drawn into the disk.

Flash forward a few months. I'm now very careful about the cord. I'm buffing the side of a sailboat, as I had great success with resurrecting the luster of Condesa's topsides, and well, I'll cut to the chase. The buffer is in the bathroom because that's where my wife's hair dryer is. The hair dryer is the best way I can think of to dry out the $250 buffer that has been dropped in San Francisco Bay, while running at 2000 RPM. 

Hearkening back to my very first article for SAIL many years ago, entitled Meatball Electronics Repair, I washed the offending device with fresh water, then dry dry dried. It worked. The Makita 9227c buffer/polisher can be submerged in salt water while in operation and survive, but I wouldn't recommend doing this while children are swimming nearby.


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