Shurhold Shines Among Electric Buffers

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Practical Sailors endless testing of hull waxes and polishes gives us ample opportunity to try out electric buffers. Weve used countless brands and types over the years-from cheapos to professional grade-and decided to see how Shurhold Industries new Dual-Action Polisher compared.

Florida-based Shurhold touts its new variable speed (2,500-6,500 rpm) random-orbital polisher as a do-it-yourselfers tool that offers professional results. The lightweight polisher (about 5 pounds) has some great features: six speeds, quick-change pads, an extra long heavy-duty cord (20 feet), and a special GFCI plug that helps prevent electric shock in wet environments. Designed for marine use, the polisher comes with a rugged toolbag, a wrench for changing pads, a carbon brush, and two handles, one that is adjustable and the standard 90-degree handle.

For buffing and waxing, the $150 Shurhold matched our $200 7-/9-inch DeWalt DW849 rotary polisher and weighs less. Key distinctions are the Shurholds smaller pads (5.5 to 6-inches), dual-action, and higher minimum speed. The small pads get into tighter spaces, but some of our favorite products like 3M Finesse-it II call for a slower turning speed.

Another con testers noted about the Shurhold is its short warranty: one year. DeWalt tools are backed by three-year warranties, and Milwaukee gives its power tools have five-years.

The Shurhold DA polisher is well made, easy to use, comparatively inexpensive, and performs great. If you own a small to mid-size boat and covet a super-shiny hull, the Shurhold is a fine choice for buffing, waxing, and polishing projects. But if you own a large boat, understand polishing, and need a more versatile tool, a good 7- to 9-inch device than also can sand and grind would be our first choice.

PS tested the Shurhold on the well-oxidized hull of a 21-foot powerboat. Testers reported that the dual-action tool was relatively quiet and easy to operate. The job went fast, and the finish was top notch. However, it is worth noting that technique, pad selection, and polish choice can matter as much as tool selection. Weve gotten great results from $50 rotary polishers, too, but a dual-action polisher offers the DIYer a little more margin for error. (For tips,check out this past article.)

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Darrell Nicholson, editor of Practical Sailor, grew up boating on Miami’s Biscayne Bay on everything from prams to Morgan ketches. Two years out of Emory University, after a brief stint as a sportswriter, he set out from Miami aboard a 60-year-old wooden William Atkin ketch named Tosca. For 10 years, he and writer-photographer Theresa Gibbons explored the Caribbean, crossed the Pacific, and cruised Southeast Asia aboard Tosca, working along the way as journalists and documenting their adventures for various travel and sailing publications, including Cruising World, Sail, Sailing, Cruising Helmsman, and Sailing World. Upon his return to land life, Darrell became the associate editor, then senior editor at Cruising World magazine, where he worked for five years. Before taking on the editor’s position at Practical Sailor, Darrell was the editor of Offshore magazine, a boating-lifestyle magazine serving the New England area. Darrell has won multiple awards from Boating Writer’s International, including the Monk Farnham award for editorial excellence. He holds a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton Master license and has worked as a harbor pilot and skippered a variety of commercial charter boats.

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