Very much appreciated!
The reason I'm set on hand polishing is because I don't want to burn through anything!
Nick is the resident expert, but if you're closer to Plano I can show ya how easy a DA is to use - just to get rid of the skeered feeling. (Where as Nick can confidently teach you how to use it, I can't as I'm still learning a bit myself.)
I can see mistakes happening where a DA would do damage...not paying attention and the metal hitting the paint...etc. As far as the pad/polish burning through, it just seems if you keep it moving slowly you'd never have a problem. I bet you'd have to be a complete moron to burn through the paint with these things.
Now, I suspect a full blown rotary is a totally different story.
Claying...I wish I would've learned to do it earlier. Best bang for buck and effort IMHO.
This is also a great source of information. Like me, you probably trust people from this site but still like to read a bunch more. Plus, it can help save you from asking questions. Just an all around good research site.
Finally, as Nick is beating around the bush I think...*I* would NEVER hand polish whole cars personally. My mind wants to cry as even with a polisher from start to finish I'm probably outside 9-12 hours on a car depending... That's simply exterior wash, engine bay, tires/wheels removed/cleaned, interior, clay, polish (once) and wax.