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Detailers Tip: Claybar
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blackf0rk
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PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2006 10:33 pm    Post subject: Idea Detailers Tip: Claybar Reply with quote

Due to the overwhelming response to the poll question "Do you Claybar your vehicle", with "What is Claybar?" I've decided to inform everyone of this wondrous substance; which coincidentally seems to be a monster to people who do know about it.

First, let me say that claybar is a safe thing to use on your car if used correctly. And using it correctly is simple, with the appropriate knowledge. Many people have heard horror stories of people ruining their car's finish, or putting scratches in the clear coat that they couldn't get out. The scratches that people come across are not necessarily from the clay, but the limited knowledge as to what it's actually doing. In all honesty though, you should have nothing to worry about after reading this...

Different types of Automotive Clay

Claybar isn't just colored clay dug up from your grandmother's garden. The clay used is technically called "Automotive Clay" with different grades/types. Just like sandpaper or steel wool, different grades refer to the abrasiveness of the clay.

You can get moderately abrasive clays like Clay Magic (the typical, and most popular blue bar clay), or less abrasive clays like Pinnacles Ultra Poly clay. Some clays will remove the wax (abrasive), and some wont even remove it - just the contaminants on the wax.

How to use the Claybar

More than likely you're going to be using Clay Magic's claybar - since it's the most readily available at automotive stores like AutoZone. Even though many people classify this clay as moderately abrasive, you shouldn't feel afraid to use it.

The important part of claying is prepping the clay and the surface where the clay will be applied:

1. Tear off a small (US Quarter sized ball) of the clay; About 1/3 of the Clay Magic's clay bar. The reason we do not use the entire bar is because if we drop it, we have to throw it away.

2. Typically, new clay (at least Clay Magic's clay) is quite stiff when new. You need to knead it so it's soft. Use clay lube (or quick detailer, the same thing) while kneading it. If you do not knead it when it's new, you will probably 'cause visual micro marring that can only be taken out with rubbing compound and a lot of elbow grease (if you don't have a buffer). The heat of your fingers will eventually soften the clay so it's not so stiff.

3. Prep the surface by wiping (not rubbing [back and forth motion]) off the panel to remove any lose dirt/dust. You can do this with a little quick detailer and a micro fiber. We recommend actually cleaning the car with auto-soap and a microfiber sponge or even better: A real sheepskin mit.

4. Spray the panel with the clay lube (or quick detailer, same thing) and begin rubbing the clay over the panel. Keep spraying the clay lube over the panel to keep it wet and gliding over the surface. You shouldn't very much pressure at all. Depending on the severity of the panels contaminants, you might be able to feel (or hear) the clay picking up all the crap that the washing couldn't remove.

5. You'll want to keep kneading, folding, and twisting (called "cleaning") the clay often. This ensures that the things picked up in the clay are not subjected to the panel pass after pass - thus possibly causing micro-marring or scratching. If you feel that it's picking up a lot of dirt, clean and twist the clay more often. The scratches that people most often encounter from clay are from the contaminants that the clay picks up; they don't clean the clay and they subject their paint to grit in the clay, pass after pass.

If you drop the clay, throw it away

Can I use something besides Clay Lube?
Yes. You can use quick detailer. They're actually the same thing. Some people like to use soapy water, but this is not recommended since many kinds of soaps break down the clay after a certain amount of time; it falls apart. You can experiment though - it seems some people do not have problems with soap and Clay Magic's clay.

Do I really need to use clay?
Yes. Using clay is an essential part to detailing your car. And any professional detailer will tell you the benefit of using it. Depending on the severity of your cars paint, feel the panel before claying. Undoubtedly you will feel somewhat of a rough surface. After claying, the surface will be very smooth. In fact, you will feel the panel become smooth as you're claying it. Claying is the best foundation for prepping the paint and getting it ready for your next step(s).

I can't see the difference!
Even if you cannot see the immediate effects of your effort, do not be discouraged or skeptical. Remember, removing the contaminants from your vehicle will ultimately improve the overall look of your paint once all of the processes you choose to use are done. It's a small part in an overall process that adds to the whole.

Can I use my claybar to remove scratches or spider-webbing?
No. Claybaring the surface of your paint will only remove the contaminants on the surface, or contaminants just embedded into the surface of the paint. Swirls and spider-webbing appear because something has removed part of the clearcoat. Claybaring doesn't reduce the clear coat or knock it down to remove these defects.


Last edited by blackf0rk on Wed Sep 05, 2007 9:56 pm; edited 7 times in total
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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 1:40 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Worth noting is that if you don't have quick detailer spray, a good quality car shampoo (mixed with water) is a suitable lubricant for the clay bar as well.

I've found that claying is easily done after washing the car once or twice and all the excess dirt has been removed. With a fresh bucket of soapy water and a thoroughly rinsed or fresh sponge, you can wet down an area using the soapy water, use the clay bar, then rinse with clean water.

Don't clay when the car is hot or in the direct sun. If you clay and you get clay sticking to the car, cool the panel down with lots of cold water then use a lot of lubricant and the clay bar to remove the sticking clay. It won't come off during the wax or just with soap and water. I've been able to clay on hotter days and semi-direct sun by being aggressive with the cold water and focusing on small areas so the body temperature stays low where I'm working.

Also, don't reuse clay. Once you've broken a piece off and used it, throw it away. A full clay bar can do 3-5 cars if you don't lose clay to droppage.

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 4:13 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Learned something new today. Thanks guys!

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PostPosted: Wed May 17, 2006 9:30 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Oops. I've been using the same complete bar of clay on two different cars now...I knead it between panels or when it picks up contaminants...

I guess I'll be going out to buy a new bar the next time I do it...

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 1:47 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Question for you guys. I clay'd and waxed one of the Impala's last week. When I made passes over the lubed area, the lube was quite visibly dirty (what was once clear became BLACK). Now, I wiped this off and continued, but you make no mention of wiping it off. Is there something I'm missing?

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 9:45 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Desi wrote:
Question for you guys. I clay'd and waxed one of the Impala's last week. When I made passes over the lubed area, the lube was quite visibly dirty (what was once clear became BLACK). Now, I wiped this off and continued, but you make no mention of wiping it off. Is there something I'm missing?


Did you clean it well to start? I used white microfiber towels to wipe off the excess lube (which the bottle says to do anyway) and it wasn't dirty at all.

I did this (the right way) for the first time this weekend. 8:00am on Saturday, i got up, made my coffee and got outside before the sun was shining (last time i did this it was 80* and in the sun so i stopped (the lube evaporated as soon as i sprayed in on the car). I washed and Autodry'ed the car and started on the hood with the clay. I could, as blackf0rk suggested, actually HEAR the crap being picked up as i rubbed the clay across the panels. I probably used more lube than necessary, but it's no big deal.

Unfortunately, the wife had to leave at 10:30, but i was able to do all metal panels and the front bumper in that time.

Once i get her back from the dealer, she's gonna get washed up again, a quick wipedown with clay & lube, and then some swirl & scratch remover and polish/waxes. She'll be purrrrrdy once again!

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PostPosted: Wed May 31, 2006 11:09 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

In my detailing process I do not wipe it off. But that's because when I am done claying, I wash the entire car off again; to remove that clay residue.

Also, before you clay you need to make sure your car is clean. Otherwise you'll be picking up dirt unecessarily.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:04 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

not sure if anyone else has seen this or not but just in case, i am a huge fan of turtle wax ice. as soon as i used it the first time, i realized that i will never use another wax again. that being said, once i saw that they also now produce a "liquid clay bar" i had to buy it. i got it for about 13 bones at wal-mart. i just used it yesterday as it was finally about 45* outside and i could definitely see a difference. i love it! i recommend it to anyone who likes shiny stuff.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 2:11 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

http://www.turtlewax.com/main.taf?p=2,1,1,4

That stuff actually works???
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 8:59 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

yeah thats the one. i think it did an outstanding job. the only thing is that it says on the directions to only do one portion of the car at a time. take heed to that. i did one quarter panel, looked great. did the hood, looked great. then i thought, well this is going pretty smooth, ill just do the whole passenger side all at once really fast. WRONG. if you leave it on the car too long it leaves a white residue that you have to wipe of instead of just rinsing. other than that, i thought it was an excellent product, but then again i have never actually used a real clay bar. fact of the matter is, there was a noticable difference.
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 6:31 am    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Hey there Blackf0rk...

Many thanks....the instructions/ explanation is very timely for me.

I too have learned alot here, and it's relly not all that SCARREY now....!!!!

THX
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 2:00 pm    Post subject:  awsome Reply with quote

Well i finally claybared mine and omfg it is smooth as glass again i used the maguires kit. came wiht everything the lube clay detailer and wax. the question is how often do you do it?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2007 3:36 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

As often as you want to wax it, really...b/c that should follow the clay.

I attempted to clay the car last week and it just wasn't working. I could not for the life of me get dirt (or something) from the rockers, the bottom of the doors and the rear bumper. I don't believe it was paint, though. It is possible there was still wax on it from a quick jobby i got at the local Delta Sonic Wash, Wax & Lube, so i couldn't get to the actual dirt...they must not have cleaned it very well before they waxed it.

Gonna wash her down with some dish soap this weekend to see if i can get to the stuff...if not, i'm in trouble. No matter how hard i wash those areas, none of that stuff comes off. It looks just like your typical road grime build up from not washing the car, but it just won't go away. Mad

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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:40 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

hey buf, did you ever get that grime off of the rockers and bumper? i have the same prob right by the bottom front wheel wells on both sides. i've tried everything and still can't get it off.

mods, admins - sorry for posting here, i didnt know if i should start a new thread for this. feel free to delete as i should've done a search.. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Wed May 30, 2007 7:51 pm    Post subject:   Reply with quote

Thanks, this is a good one. I also was eyeing the Turtle Wax Ice Claybar, since i have the Turtle Wax Ice Wax, and it's awesome.
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