Optimum Pad Selection

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Ok, it looks like we haven't had any pad discussions in a long time, so let's talk about the current pad selection from the Optimum store. It looks like the current lineup (excluding microfiber, which I'll get to later), in order of aggressiveness, is this:


Hyper Wool Foam Pad

Orange Waffle Foam Pad

Black Waffle Foam Pad

Blue Waffle Foam Pad


Now I remember a few years ago when the colors of the (then) Hyper Compound and Hyper Polish were changed to orange and blue, respectively, to match the waffle pads. One can kind of extrapolate to today that Hyper Compound (white) would be matched with the (purple) Hyper Wool Foam Pad, the Intensive Polish with the Orange Waffle, and the Hyper Polish with the Blue Waffle.


So I'm trying to understand how the Black Waffle fits in and what it would be used for. I thought maybe this was the pad for doing a one-step, since it seems to be in-between the Orange and Blue, but the product pages suggest it is the followup to the Orange Waffle...which I thought was the Blue...


I understand that polishing aggressiveness is a combination of pad, polish, and machine, and that anything is just a general guideline because every job is different, I'm just trying to understand how the pads fit into the "system" and also how it relates to the crème polishes, which have a slightly different level of cut to their sprayable cousins.


So that brings us to the microfiber pads, and how these compare contrast with the wool and foam, what people are using them for, etc. I have to say although I have the Optimum microfiber pads, they are my least favorite out of the 3 brands of MF pads that I have.

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The black waffle is pretty good at one stepping with Intensive Polish. I did a Tacoma at work with that combo on a Porter Cable 7424, and it removed a majority of the defects and left a clear, glossy finish. 


Both Intensive Polish and Hyper Compound cut and finish better than the orange waffle foam. 


I have had decent results with the orange and Hyper Polish, but not so much luck with the cutters. I'll spend more time with them, but for foam cutting, the green "polishing"  foam from Buff and Shine always cut and finished better for me, than orange and yellow Buff and Shine or Lake Country sourced foams.


Before I took delivery of my Optimum pads, I was using my old stand by green, blue, and red  Buff and Shine / Hex Logic pads and was very comfortable with them. 


One issue I do have is concerning center holes in pads allowing for the spray polishes to shoot right onto the backing plate (no real problem), or into the backing plate's network of cooling chambers in my 3M 20206 backing plates, or the plates in my Rupes tools. This is the main reason I picked up the Optimum Microfiber Cutting pads. I have the Hyper Foamed wool, but use a cap from the Optimum bottles over the center hole. It works, but the non center hole pads are better for me in that respect. 



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