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Old 09-06-2009, 07:21 PM   #1
Dave KG
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Arrow Meguiars #205 - The Ultimate Finishing Polish?

Its called Ultra Finishing Polish and uses Meguiars' new Super Micro Abrasive Technology (SMAT) [am I the only one who thinks SPLAT when I read/type that?!]... Its been designed to rock the best and be the best finishing polish on the market, no doubting, Meguiars have gone for the jugular of Menzerna here! But for all its advanced technology, it is really any good? Is it the best, or is it just an also-ran....?

Well - here are my thoughts

I first started trialling Meguiars #205 back in the early months of the year. It would be fair to say then that I saw a potential for this product as not only was it matching the finishes from 85RD with little learning, it was also dealing more happily with sticky paint... I went to buy some, and noticed the price: over £30 for a litre makes it quite expensive, but I went for a bottle to see what like if you really learn its ins and outs - boy, I'm glad I did!

The Theory

The vast majority of polishes that see regular use in detailing use what are known as Diminishing Abrasives - these are abrasives that break down over the period of the polishing set, gradually reducing their cut and inceasing the level of gloss they can produce. This places finite work times on them, in that you need to work them for the desired length of time to get them to break down but also once broken down, you cannot work them further for a greater result... But the good side is that they are quite "plug and play": work the polish until the residue goes clear and you pretty much gaurantee a great finish but working the abrasives

The abrasives used in Meguiars #205 (and also #105) are quite different... Unigrit, they remain abrasive at the same level throughout the polishing set and do not break down. In some ways this sounds a bit "wrong" - sure if the abrasive is not breaking down, then it will leave marring in the finish as it always cutting. But this is not the case with unigrit abrasives, simply the application styles and techniques must change to get the best from them. Unigrit is not new - Meguiars have been using them before in the Solo range, MarkV in Mystique for example. You can also vary the cut levels by varying the pad aggression and the pressure applied.

With this in mind, Meguiars #205 is a product that is designed to offer the user a lot of flexibility: pressure and pad variations allowing different finishing and cutting abilities, which we will talk a little bit more about below

In Practice

The old school Meguiars polishes, the #80-series, had long work times and diminshing abrasives... they took a bit of getting used to but were highly capable once cracked. Times moved on, however and Menzerna were beginning to forge a lead in the polish technology front with new players such as Gloss It formulating ranges that were beginning to make the humble #80-series feel dated.

Meguiars' response for finishing polises is #205, and unlike a lot of its competition, they have chosen to go down the unigrit abrasive route described above. A risky move you might think, especially given the #86 Solo polishes lack of finishing abilities compared to its competition, both in-house against #83 and on the market against Intensive Polish, Final Finish etc. But in practice is where you start to realise just how good the move is!

Flexibility is the key... If you just start with #205, and use it as you've used other finishing polishes, you will likely find it a bit mediocre... good, pleasing to use, but nothing special. But #205 is not plug and play. It needs to be learned and you need to invest time and learn to change your techniques a little to really get the best out of what it has to offer. This not only applies to varying the pad to vary the cut, but also varying pressures and speeds midset to achieve the results you are looking for.

I have personally found that for finishing the best techniques are to spread the polish at slow speed, and then at moderate speeds of around 1500 - 1800rpm, work with medium pressure over the rotary head. This medium pressure allows for correction, removal of hazing and working of the abrasives... For finishing, I reduce the speed to 900 - 1200rpm and reduce the pressure to very light, this reduces the cut from the abrasives and transforms to polish from lightly correcting to burnishing. Working times vary from paint to paint, and it is best to experiment a little and learn what will achieve the best possible finish.

The beauty of this polish at this stage was becoming obvious for me - forget it being a pour on the pad and off you go polish. No way. There is much more to #205 than this! If you are willing to put in some time learning and manipulating your technique you can really reap rewards from #205 in terms of working flexibility from a single polish, that has left me feeling fundamental limitations to products using diminshing abrasives. Yes you can vary your technique with these too, but there's a finite working time, and finite level of cut that just reduces your full potential with the products - its a bit like a sports car with the traction control stuck on, you get a great finish automatically, but given a bit more freedom you can do just very slightly better. This is how #205 has left me feeling in practice.


Enough talk... lets let the piccies do the speaking now. First of all, a couple of direct sunlight pictures, showing the clarity achieved from #205 used as a finishing polish on details - both cases applied as discussed above, medium then light pressure to burnish the finish:

On soft paint (Ford above) and more medium hardness paint (Ferrari below), the clairty achieved by learning the polish and the paint was hugely impressive for me.

Some examples of the polish finish under the Sun Gun on recent details where I have used #205 as the finishing polish:

When assessing the clarity of the finish, look at the metallic flake ping (sealants dont achieve this, a properly burnished finish does ), and the detail of the light sources in that you can not only see no swirls, the reflection is good to the point you can see the detail of the Sun Gun / Camera Flash

A few pics of cars, finished with #205 as the finishing polish - waxed here as well, but of course this adds little or nothing to the finish. The results you see below owe their clarity, depth and gloss to the finishing polish used, which was #205 in all cases...

Have to say, I am very impressed with how it has been working for me lately and based on my current results with it, #205 will become a staple part of my detailing

My Opinion

Best - its a very difficult term, and a very hard thing to say that something is the "best" but for me, #205 certainly comes closer than any other finishing polish to achieving this accolade. Every other I think is great, lovely finishing but just as good really as the next one... 85RD was the exception, but now #205 for me is just that little bit better as once you have learned to be flexible with it, think on your feet, this polish rewards your learning much more... it takes the gloves off, and leaves you, the user, with more choices and this for me is what makes #205 the best finishing polish on the market today... yes, I do think it is better than 85RD. And better still, it has a bit more cut than 85RD when you want it too! But vary your working style and technique to achieve the cut, the paint removal that you are looking for.

Nothings perfect though! The price - over £30 a bottle! Its nearly double that of 85RD, but it isn't doubly as good, remember 85RD is a superb finishing polish... but somehow, the cost will not stop me buying a product which is freeing up in some ways my rotary style, and really allowing me to push my own finishing abilities to new levels.

Against its main competition, #205 is not beaten. 85RD is superb, it is the main rival product but it is fundamentally limited (not a bad thing, its a superb polish) and this just hands the advantage slightly to #205 if you are willing to learn how to maximise its potential. Other finishing polishes from Gloss It, 3M for me just lack that little something over 85RD, and alongside #205 they are still very good indeed but for me, just not quite as good.

Overall - #205 Ultra Finishing Polish. I think Meguiars have done well with the name here, a cracking product for the rotary polisher and well work considering if you are looking to take your rotary finishing up just a notch

Review of performance on DA to follow after more experimentation
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:34 PM   #2
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Nice review, its on my list of things to try once the scholl has gone
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:35 PM   #3
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Dave, as always, SUPERB write-up. Simply the best.
Have ordered some 205 myself so this has come in handy.


edit : noticed you mentioned rotary polish all the way through. Will this be good for a DA too ?

Last edited by nudda; 09-06-2009 at 07:47 PM.
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:36 PM   #4
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Nice write up Dave, am looking to add some new finishing polishes to my setup and may well consider this too
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:51 PM   #5
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great write up as usual Dave...
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Old 09-06-2009, 07:58 PM   #6
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thanks Dave - useful write up
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:00 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by nudda View Post
Dave, as always, SUPERB write-up. Simply the best.
Have ordered some 205 myself so this has come in handy.


edit : noticed you mentioned rotary polish all the way through. Will this be good for a DA too ?
Initial results for me are suggesting I am getting just slightly better results with 85RD on the DA and the tables turning the other way for the rotary... however its too early for me to say just now, rotary is my primary tool so its always the one I can give a detailed opinion on first... I take more time by DA (strange you may think) as I have to go through various application techniques to see what will work best for me.

Will post up soon when I have my thoughts though, as it may be I just need to vary methods on the DA around a little bit to extract from #205 what I was easily getting by rotary
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:05 PM   #8
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Awesome write up Dave, very detailed and well written, I guess it will take something very special to drag me away from 85RD.
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:05 PM   #9
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interesting write up there Dave
as always i look foward to reading your reviews as it helps me to understand the product far better and its capabilities. in return say someone like a semi like myself to polishing is able to comprehend what type results can be achieved with a particular product
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Old 09-06-2009, 08:12 PM   #10
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Nice review Dave, I have been using #205 for a short while and the finish it produces is right up there amongst the best, I concur the price at first was a shock but after using the product it was soon forgotten, a big fan of the older megs polishes and certainly another decent product to add to the arsenal.
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