Buffing Advice

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Buckmark13

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Aug 14, 2018
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I'm*getting ready to finish my first couple of projects; a pen and*a call.*

In regards to buffing, what is the ideal speed for Tripoli, White*Diamond, and then Carnuba Wax? And how much do you put on the 3 wheels?*

I experimented a bit last night with it.*The*Tripoli and White Diamond*seemed to work fine. When I*got to the wax, it actually made the finish much duller. Upon looking at it, I think I had to much wax on the wheel and had excessive build*up. I was also buffing at a slow speed as I didn't want to*"burn" it. I'm now wondering if I should use less wax and buff at a much higher speed into to get the shine.*

Appreciate any*suggestions and advice!

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TonyL

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I learned by experience for each material. I also learned how much pressure to apply. I believe those compounds may have recommended speeds. You can try Caswell Platings: https://www.caswellplating.com/ . I kept inspecting my work under a loupe in the beginning. After a while, I got it "right". Please forgive the lack of specifics.
 

monophoto

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The combination of my reading and my experience suggests that the ideal speed range for 8" wheels is 1000-1200 r/min.

With both tripoli and white diamond, you know that you have put too much on the wheel when you see it building up on the workpiece (especially on edges). The good news is that the excess does wipe off.

With wax, everything that I have read says that less is more - - - its best to touch the wax stick to the wheel for only a second or two. It's entirely too easy to put too much on the wheel, and that will mean putting too much on the workpiece. I think that if that happens, the solution is to buff for a longer period of time, but I don't have enough experience to be confident about that.
 
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I did quite a bit of experimentation and decided pretty quick to NOT use wax when dealing with a CA finish for exactly the reason you mention. I've determined since then that a properly applied and polished high gloss CA finish is "the nuts" and that the wax adds no real benefit. The CA is VERY durable and will retain its finish for a loooong time.
 

Terredax

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Don't use wax at all. There is no benefit, and it will dull the finish.

There is no specific speed for any compound. The RPM of the motor isn't the final RPM. There's a formula that uses the RPM with the diameter of the wheel, to give the surface speed of the wheel.

When loading the wheels, it only takes a small amount of compound. And they should be raked often, to remove build up of dried, contaminated compound.

Use light pressure against the wheel. The compound is what does the cutting, not the wheel. Too much pressure will build heat very quickly, and that is what causes the burn.

Use a different wheel for each compound to eliminate cross contamination.

The type of wheel has as much affect on the finish as the compound. There are several types of wheels, and they have specific uses and results. The quality of the wheel can very greatly, so stay with a reputable company.

There is a lot more involved in the actual buffing/polishing, i.e. the stroke and direction. That would take forever for me to type out.

An important thing to remember...
ALWAYS buff OFF of an edge. Don't let the top edge get against the wheel, or you will have a violent projectile that can cause injury, and will most definitely ruin your project.

I tried to hit the finer points, but there is more that I'm sure I've forgotten to list. It has taken eternity for me to get this far.
 

Buckmark13

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First of all, I apologize about all of the asterisks in the original post; not sure how they got there but I certainly didn't type them.

I really appreciate the quick responses!

TonyL: Thanks for the link. Caswell doesn't have anything specific under the three compounds, but they do have a great free download that I found with a ton of good info, much of which several of you have already mentioned. It can be found here for anyone else that may be interested:

https://www.caswellplating.com/buffman.htm

Thanks again - love this site!!!
 

JimB

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I don’t do a lot of buffing but from reading and experimenting I have found using very little compound is better than to much. As stated above, it only takes a couple seconds to apply the compound and even less with the wax. Using an 8” wheel I buff at 1500 - 1800 RPM. My buffing wheels get mounted on the lathe so I know the speed. Also as stated, light pressure.
 

Curly

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The instructions for the Beall buffer for the lathe states max RPM is 1800. I buff slower sometimes only 1000 RPM. It behaves like the wheel is softer. I only touch the stick for a couple seconds. I always wipe the part off before moving up to the next wheel so coarser grit isn’t contaminating the finer. I buff across the blank first then diagonally both angles and finally lengthwise. I repeat for the next grit up. As you can see everyone does it a little differently.
 

TonyL

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I have a Rikon 70-105 that I use as a 4 step buffing wheel (all 4 compound have their own mops). There are 2 that polish more finely than WD - the 3rd and 4th step. I attached a speed control foot petal on that lathe. That allows me to control my speed and a buffing pressure/friction/heat with each compound. There are dozens of ways to approach this; "mine" is just the one that works for me. I do add a synthetic wax at the end (without any cleaner component.....because that will add fine scratches). I apply it by hand, and remove after 10 minutes. The pens remains "scratch-free" all the way from my shop until I throw it on my desk and start using it LOL. Same thing happens when I deliver it to a customer. PS. I don't use MM or wet-sand (on acrylics, etc. and CA..but enjoy success with those materials and processes. I feel (and it may be an illusion) that I have more control and it is faster for me with less clean-up to buff.
 

BKelley

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Terredax is 100 % correct about SFM. You might be wise to talk with a buffing compound company tech dept. Tell them what material you are buffing, what degree of polish you require and ask what type buffs (muslin, cottion, sisal. Ect) and compounds they recommend. Lea Manufacturing at one time was extremely helpful to me with my buffing and polishing concerns.

Ben
 

Charlie_W

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I didn’t see exactly what you were buffing. Is it wood, a CA finish, Acrylic, or some other finish? Buffing compounds and wheels vary depending on what you are buffing.
I also have a soft flannel wheel with nothing on it.....no compound. With the Beall 3 wheel system, each wheel is buffing while applying the compound/ wax. I use a clean wheel for my final buff to help clean off any residual wax and provide the desired sheen. Many times, I will use a wipe on coat or two of Danish Oil Finish or Tung Oil Finish on some wooden turnings and only buff with the clean wheel.
Hope this helps.
 

Terredax

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The instructions for the Beall buffer for the lathe states max RPM is 1800. I buff slower sometimes only 1000 RPM.
I'm guessing that's because the wheels are spinning between two points, rather than being directly attached to a shaft, where it won't flex and come out from between those two points.

Most buff motors spin at 3450rpm, there are some that go to 3600rpm, and there are some that are two-speed and variable speed. Those usually go down to around 1750rpm.

We ran 5hp buffers with 24" wheels, and if I calculated it correctly, that is almost 21,000sfpm. It's not the speed of the wheel, it's the method of buffing. The faster the wheel spins, the faster it accomplishes the task, and the faster the part needs to move across the wheel. Lingering will create heat, at any rpm/speed, and cause damage to the part. Too much pressure against the wheel causes heat.

It doesn't really matter what speed the wheels spin, the method has to match and compensate for it. Using slower speed and/or a low hp motor, the method will be different than a high hp motor and/or higher speeds.

I now use a 1/2hp buff motor with 8" wheels. I buff parts for local car guys periodically. I also buff casket hardware on occasion.
 
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