Buffing question

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RGVPens

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I'm thinking about some type of buffing system.

Would it make acrylic blanks look much different than polishing w/blue towel and one step?

Can you polish wood, Pens Plus, with the same wheels...or do you need another setup for that? And how much difference would you see?

Can you "spruce up" an already made pen without having to dissassemble the thing? Like one that hasn't sold for 3-4 shows and looking a little dull.
something like this...?

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leehljp

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I will comment on: "Can you "spruce up" an already made pen without having to dissassemble the thing?"
You "can", but buffing the metal will take any plating off. You might be surprised at how thin most of the plating is and the color of the metal under the plating.
 

Kenny Durrant

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I’ll second what Hank said. The platings will disappear in a heartbeat. I think you’d be better off with some good wet sandpaper and a set of micro mesh pads. Personally I like Glue Boost or the Mercury Flex CA. I slow the lathe down between 600-700 rpm’s and wet sand. Also a good light helps to pick up small scratches.
 

RGVPens

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OK...I should have left off the "spruce up" comment. It's sidelining my main questions...my fault.

Let me put it a different way.

Do any of you buff your blanks prior to assembly?
Wood or acrylic or both?
What type of setup do you use? Same for both?
 

leehljp

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I'm not trying to put you off with my answer, as I haven't done a lot of buffing myself. However it has been an interest and I have read many threads on buffing over the years. I looked in the library and didn't see anything there, but I could have missed it. I did a search and there are a huge number of threads and posts on buffing. I was looking for one or two particular ones for you, but couldn't find the ones I was thinking about.

Hopefully, some of the buffing experts will come on and give some pointers.

Until then, here is something to look over: https://www.penturners.org/search/80089/?q=Buffing&o=relevance

OH, here is one from about 10 years ago that still has some relevance:
 

Kenny Durrant

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Ok Gary I’m not sure how you read my comment. I do buff sometimes but if I spend more time sanding I don’t need to buff. When I’m finished sanding I use the white Hut Plastic Polish as the final step. After that if I see a scratch I missed I’ll try to buff it out. I wouldn’t say it better just a lazy way other than starting the sanding process over.
 

duncsuss

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To get straight to your question: Yes, buffing improves the finish beyond polishing.

How much depends on your technique and the compounds you use. Follow the link Hank posted titled "Buffing - kicked up a notch!" for the best advice I've read on how to do it right.
 

Todd in PA

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I got the Beall buffing system for Christmas from my wife, and it’s made a world of difference. With wet sanding, I’d always be left with some fine scratches, and spent a lot of time redoing my sanding to get it right. Since adding the buffing wheels, I can do the wet sanding quick, and know the wheels will work their magic to remove any fine scratches. The improvement in sheen before and after buffing is very apparent.
 

Todd in PA

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I buff both wood with ca, and acrylic without ca.

I recently started using Pens Plus, and have lightly polished it (after 24 hr cure) with the white diamond wheel to Improve shine.
 

Brian G

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As a last step after micromesh, I buff every pen finished with CA and every resin pen. I use the system you linked in the first post.

Perhaps my final finishing is overkill, but I'm usually in no hurry and enjoy the buffing part. Typically, I hold the blank longitudinally, count to 10 as I rock it back and forth on the wheel, rotate about a quarter turn, do that three more times, then flip it end for end and cycle through the process. Sometimes I spend a bit more time with resin that has blacks and dark blues.

I have found buffing to make a difference for me, and I don't foresee skipping it as a finishing step. I tried it with some friction finished pens, but didn't notice a benefit. I haven't disassembled an inventory pen just to buff it. Perhaps I may if I notice unsightly scratches in a pen made during my novice period.
 

wouldentu2?

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I took a black blank with my famous CA finish and sanded wet through about 2 billion sandpaper. Polished with Novus 3 and Novus 2 until it was perfect.

Buffed half with the Barry Gross 2 wheel system in your photo and compared them under a bright light and 10 power magnification and I could see a difference. I could also feel a difference.
I think it is worth it though the average person probably would not notice it. I buff CA, Corian and all the materials I call plastic.
 

mmayo

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The buffing system shown above with two tiny wheels is junk to me. I bought it so I know I made a mistake. I have two Beale buff systems with three large quality wheels - that rocks! For CA and acrylic I only use the first wheels. I have learned the wax makes pens hazy the next day and days after that. Why sell pens that look good only today.

I have two - one for pens etc and one for rings.
 

RunnerVince

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Could a few of you share your finishing process for comparison? Do you sand, then MM, then buff? Do you use any polish pastes (Hut's, McGuires, Dr. Kirk's, etc.)? Have you tried the pastes alone vs. pastes plus buffing? Is it redundant to use a paste on the lathe and then buff?

My process after the last coat of CA is to sand with 800 grit, MM to 12,000, then Dr. Kirk's Scratch Free, then Dr. Kirk's Micro Magic Steps 1-3. I'm personally very pleased with the final results, but I'm never opposed to improvement, and if I can skip 9 grits of MM and 4 grits of polishing paste in favor of two or three "grits" of buffing compound, I'd welcome the saved time.

(Note: I need to experiment with skipping either the Dr. Kirk's Scratch Free or Step 1 of the Micro Magic. I get the feeling that there's some overlap there, and at least one of the little tins isn't necessary.)
 
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