For those seeking perfection in detailing, having a high gloss finishing polish is a must. These products contain very fine abrasives that work to smooth the surface of the paint to as near uniform as possible.
Having a flat surface allows light to reflect directly off the surface, giving the paint the deep gloss detailers and enthusiast pursue.
A product worthy of consideration is Menzerna 3800, also known as Super Finish Plus. Menzerna’s least aggressive polish boasts a gloss rating of 10/10, with a cut rating of 2/10. This product is not intended to be a stand-alone polish but rather it should be used to refine marks left behind after using a heavy cut polish.
Heavy cut compounds contain larger abrasive particles which effectively cut through clear coat to remove scratches, but just like when sanding wood, refinement is needed to smooth out the marks left by the heavy cut compound. Menzerna 3800 can be used to remove hazing and holograms from paint, which is especially useful if using a rotary polisher for the cutting stage.
Menzerna 3800 contains no silicones or fillers, meaning the polish will not mask any defects.
Menzerna 3800 Application and Usage
For this test, I am using a Vertool Forced Drive geared orbital polisher, with a 150 mm finishing foam pad from Menzerna. Before using Menzerna 3800, I used a rotary polisher to polish the section with a heavy cut compound.
The goal for this was to deliberately ignore every rule in detailing and tried to inflict as many holograms as possible. The photo below shows the paint after the rotary botch job.
Avoid polishing in cold temperatures (less than 5°C) and direct sunlight. Before polishing, the paint needs to be decontaminated, which includes chemically removing tar and iron fallout, followed by a clay bar if necessary to remove any embedded contaminants.
Priming the pad with extra product at the start of a polishing set will give the pad sufficient lubrication to ensure cutting occurs evenly, reducing haze marks. Approximately five drops of polish the size of a 5p should be applied to the pad to work an area of around 40 cm x 40 cm.
Using a low-speed setting, I spread the polish over the working area, before bumping up the speed to around 80%. After four or five passes, I up the speed to maximum for a final pass.
After a couple of passes with 3800, I could see the polish was ready to be wiped away. I was immediately impressed with the depth of the black paint as I inspected it with my light. All of the holograms had been removed, which is exactly what this polish is intended to do. There are still some deeper scratches in the paint, but these will not be removed by a finishing polish.
How is This Polish Best Used?
This polish is intended to be the final step before protection in a multistage detail. Paint with heavy defects should first be polished with a cutting compound, such as Menzerna 400. After this is done, there will likely be some polishing marks left, which can be quite obvious in direct sunlight, especially on dark paint.
This is where 3800 comes into play. The very fine polishing abrasives flatten out the paint to improve gloss. There would not be many scenarios where this polish would work as a stand-alone product, but if polishing any piano black trim, such as on B-pillars, you might get away with it. This surface is extremely soft, and the abrasives in 3800 will be enough to remove swirl marks on piano black trim.
Provided the pad is properly prepped, this polish does not fling when using an oscillating machine. The residue after polishing does not require very much effort to remove and does not leave irritating dust everywhere.
What Needs to Follow this Polish?
After using Menzerna 3800, wipe down with an IPA solution or panel wipe. While the polish contains no silicon fillers, some residue can mask defects, hence the need for a wipe down.
The polish should be used as the final step before then moving on to protect it with car wax or sealant.
Value for Money
250g of Menzerna 3800 usually can be bought for around £15.00 or less, or a 1 kg bottle for around £30.00. I used scales to weigh how much polish I would normally use to polish an area of approx. 40 cm by 40 cm. This ended up being about 8g.
I added extra polish in the photo below to account for priming the pad. I estimate there are between 20 and 25 sections on a VW Golf-sized car, meaning up to 200g of polish may be needed. It makes economic sense to purchase a larger bottle if you believe you will need it.
200g from a 250 g bottle will cost around £12. If a 1kg bottle is bought, 200g of polish will only cost around £6, which I think is very good value. If you have a larger car you will have to factor in extra cost, but a 250g bottle would still be sufficient to polish an entire car.
Level of Cut
As mentioned, this product has been designed to have a very low level of cut. Testing with a paint depth gauge confirmed this. I took average depth readings before and after a polishing set to determine how much clear coat had been removed. my readings showed that on average across the panel, less than one micron had been removed from the clearcoat (128 μm before polishing, 127.1 μm after).
This will vary depending on the hardness of the paint, but as a general rule, 3800 removes very little clear coat.
This product works exceptionally well to remove any marks left behind after using a cutting compound. The ‘before’ photo below is an extreme case, but as can be seen, Menzerna 3800 refined the paint very well.
It’s worth noting that the camera lens has picked up some glare, but to the naked eye, the surface is like a mirror.
Menzerna 3800 – FAQ
Will Menzerna 3800 remove scratches?
Menzerna 3800 is not intended to remove scratches, but rather to refine paint. It will, however, remove light swirl marks on softer paint types.
Does Menzerna 3800 contain wax?
No, Menzerna 3800 is a purely abrasive polish, so you will need to apply a sealant or wax to lock in the shine.
Can Menzerna 3800 remove waxes and sealants?
Yes, as Menzerna 3800 contains fine abrasives, it will remove almost all waxes or sealants. It will likely not have enough cut to remove ceramic coatings, however.
Does Menzerna 3800 contain fillers?
No, there is no silicon or fillers in Menzerna 3800.
Having used Menzerna 3800 for several years now, I am confident in recommending it as a final finishing product. You won’t get the cut that you get from some of their more abrasive polishes, but in terms of refinement, 3800 is tough to beat.
Not only did the polish offer good value for money and next to no residue, but it was also incredibly easy to use and I’d happily recommend this to beginners, enthusiasts and professionals alike.
This product is geared towards the perfectionist, for whom flawless paint is a necessity. It would be especially beneficial to owners of dark coloured vehicles, releasing the full gloss potential of the paint.