Buffing operations can generally be divided into two operations: cutting down and coloring:
Cutting down is a preliminary step that uses a coarser grade buffing compound. In some cases, this process can yield an acceptable appearance.
Coloring is a lighter duty buffing intended to bring up the luster on the work surface. The coloring compounds use finer mesh abrasives to enhance and brighten the work piece.
Buffing wheels and compounds work together, either to carry the abrasives across the work surface to cut and color, or to generate sufficient frictional heat to impart a polished finish. Compounds are available in liquid and solid forms for use with buffing wheels. Grease-less compounds are available in grit ranges from 60 to 600.
The compounds are applied to a wheel and are designed to deburr, blend machine lines, and remove surface imperfections. Each compound is designed for specific alloys and plastics.
Buffing wheels are produced in a range of designs, fabrics, and constructions. Generally, the work piece and alloy will determine the best option for the application.
Most Common Buffs:
Sisal buffing wheels can be a dual-purpose cut down and buffing wheel.
Standard cotton buffs are available in once-sewn around the arbor hole or spiral sewn to provide more rigidity and density.
Bias-Cut, or Air-Way, buffing wheels are made from pulling out. Bias buffs have a longer life, run cooler, and more consistent than standard cotton buffs. There are a variety of cloth count and treatment options on Bias-Cut buffs to help match the best wheel with the finishing application.
Specialty cotton buffs include small diameters, shaft-mounted wheels and cones, felt wheels, and cones and wool bonnets.
Note: Buffing is a low RPM operation. The wheel and compound generates enough heat to help "pop" the polish. Too high an RPM can prevent the luster and color, creating a surface haze, either from excessive heat and/or wheel frays that whip the work surface.