Tag Archives: buffing pads

  • 10 Tips on Buffing Auto Paint

    Buffing the paint on your car or truck can be a scary job if you think about it. Take a tool that spins a pad very fast and press it on your car. Press too hard or use it at the wrong angle and you could cause more damage than help, but do it correctly, and you could really make that new (or old) paint pop! Below we put together 10 tips on techniques and what products to use, and when.

    1.Don't mix buffing pads!- Buffing pads should never be mixed once you have used each one with a certain compound. No matter how much you clean the pad, you may never get the compound out, and it could cause swirl marks. Spend the extra couple bucks and get separate pads for each type of compound you will be using.

    2.Wool Pads- Only use wool pads for heavily oxidized paint, or after paint has cured for quite some time where a foam pad won't effectively cut the paint. You can actually do damage if you use a wool pad on fresh paint that hasn't 100% cured. Wool pads are really handy to have if you have a car with "patina" where you need to remove the years of oxidation your "barn find" may have earned. You'd be surprised how well that original paint may come up!

    3.Foam Pads Have Many Uses- Foams pads and compound are the 2 things you should be stocked up on if you are planning on polishing paint on your car or truck. Foam pads are available in a few different "grits" if you will (PPI or Pores Per Inch) is the official term). Most companies distinguish these by dying the pads different colors. Foam pads can be used for light cutting with the right compound, but they won't remove deep scratches like a wool pad might. The nice thing about foam pads is that they do not leave swirl marks like a wool pad might. Some like to strictly use foam pads just for this reason.

    4.RPMS are everything- One key to a perfect finish when buffing is to make sure you are running your buffer at the correct approximate RPM when doing each step. Generally wool pads you would do your heavier cutting at around 2000-2500RPM, while you'd want to finish at around 1100-1300RPM for final foam polishing. A slightly higher RPM can be used with the wool pads if you are lightly cutting with them, around 1600-1800 normally.

    5.Keep Moving- Often times damage with a buffer is done when you stay in one spot too long, or you are moving too slowly. The longer you stay in one area, and the slower you move, the more you heat up that area of the panel. Heat=bad when buffing, keep a rhythmic, uniform motion buffing a panel. Jumping around can cause you to miss spots or get an uneven final finish.

    6.Masking Tape Is Your Safety Net- Use painters or a quality masking tape to protect edges and areas you may easily burn through or catch with your buffer. Once you develop the "touch" you can work right up to these edges, but to avoid any accidents I'd still advise to tape off the car, then come back and work just the edges with your full attention on not pressing too hard or sitting in one place too long. You'd be surprised how quickly an edge can be buffed clean of the paint!

    7.Buy A Spur And Use It Often- Do not use sharp objects like a screwdriver to clean your buff pads, it can damage the pads, and I'd bet that you wouldn't want to mix the grime on your screwdrivers with your buffing pads. Instead, buy a buff pad "spur" to clean your buffing pads. Make sure you use these often, especially after finishing with that pad. Dried up old compound can cause damage to your paint if it isn't removed fully from the pad.

    8.The compound belongs on your car, not you!- Apply the compound to the surface you are buffing first then turn the buffer on and begin buffing the panel. Applying buffing compound to the pad itself will cause you to wear the compound as soon as you turn the buffer on and make a mess of anything near by!

    9.Do Not Let Your Buffing Pads Touch the Ground- Under any circumstance, do not set your buffer down on the ground, all it takes is your dog, the wind, your significant other, etc. to trip on it or knock it on it's side and the buffing pad touches the ground. The pad will instantly pick up dirt, rocks, etc. that all become extreme abrasives when you go to buff next. If this happens, do not use it until it is fully cleaned, to be safe it is even best to just replace it with a new one all together.

    10.Wash and Care for your paint often- This should be obvious, but in between buffing, waxing, or polishing your paint, make sure you are regularly washing your car and caring for the finish. It will make life much easier when you go to buff or polish the paint. Just before you begin buffing the paint, it is a good idea to give the vehicle a nice wash to remove all dirt and grime. Id suggest to do wash each panel down minutes before buffing even if you washed the entire car before. Again, even one piece of rogue dirt/grime can become an abrasive and when coupled with the buffer, become a scratch or swirl-maker.

    Follow some of these basic steps, and you could be on your way to a mirror finish!

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  • Save Your Hands! Metal Buffing Made Easy.

    As I've mentioned in other entries, I am a bit of a rare-wheel "fanatic". I seem to spend more time seeking out and deciding on the wheels I am going to be running on a project, than I do picking a paint color! Because of my love for rare, old wheels; I often end up with a set of wheels that need a lot of love. In the past I have been a stickler for polishing wheels all by hand. This means starting with 6-800 grit sandpaper, and working my way all the way up to wet 2000-2500 grit paper, and hand rubbing the finish out with Autosol. This takes a LONG time, is messy, and often left my hands sore for days after polishing up a set of wheels. I considered using a buff motor, but as with any DIY'er, I am always on a budget and I couldn't justify buying a buff motor and supplies.

    Here at Eastwood, we put together a Polishing/Buffing Kit that makes my life so much easier when it comes to polishing up an old set of alloys (and doesn't break the bank!). The kit comes with the essentials to get that mirror-polish look that everyone wants. I took the kit home and found a good way to turn your regular home electric drill and vice into a buff motor.

    I first laid out the kit to see everything that I got with it, and pulled out specifically the buffing pads and compounds I would need.

    For the job I was doing, I was restoring some polished aluminum lips on a set of vintage three piece race wheels. The lips were quite tarnished from years of use on a dedicated track car. I had previously used a few of our Hot Coat Powders to coat and restore the rear barrel and center portion of the wheel. Here are a few shots of the parts I powder coated. You can see in the first picture an example of how the lips looked almost gray before I used some buffing magic.


    Before I began, I decided to get the dirt, grime, and residue from the sticky wheel weights off of the lips. The buffing wheels and compound will not work miracles, they do need clean/residue free metal to begin with! I used a can of PRE, a rag, and some elbow grease, which made the residue came off quite easily, even the old duct tape residue they had over some of the weights!

    Next, I got the drill clamped into the vice and a polishing wheel into the drill. At first I tried an upright position with the drill, but I later found that clamping the drill into a horizontal position really made things more comfortable for me while buffing. I decided to start with a triple stitched buffing wheel and the brown compound. The brown compound is quite aggressive, so if you have a part that still has some shine to it to begin with, you may want to start with the less aggressive gray or the white compounds to avoid causing yourself more work.

    You can see below that even just starting with the brown compound, the difference between the area I had worked and what I started with. Luckily I was only working with 13" wheel lips, so this process went quite quick.

    Although the stitched pads seemed to be the best buffing wheels for the job, there were some heavily tarnished areas in the valley of the lips that I couldn't get to with the stitched pads. I changed out to a small cone wheel, and it blew right through the tarnish.


    I also began using the softer "pear shaped" buff cylinder with the white compound to get the base of the lip where it bolts together. These spots are important to get nice and polished, as the bolts are so close together, it is nearly impossible to repolish them by hand with rubbing compound. So the better they look to begin with, the less work it is to maintain that finish in the future.

    After a few hours of work I had all 4 lips polished, and WOW what a difference! You can really see the mirror polish coming out when doing the last step with the white compound. For the final step I used a microfiber rag and some Norton Detailer to remove any final buffing compound residue. Finally after assembly I could stand back and admire the difference between the wheels before and after.

    To keep the mirror polish in place, and seal the lips from further tarnishing, I like to use our Metal Protect for an invisible barrier and easy cleaning in the future.

    As I mentioned, any of the Eastwood Buff Motors will do the job just as well, but sometimes we can't always justify the space or money required to own one, and have to come up with creative solutions like this. Feel free to comment with any of your tricks, tips, or hints when buffing!

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  • If it isn't broken, try making it better anyway!

    Here is another sneak peek into what we have been testing, designing and developing in our R&D department. Lately the shop has been buzzing, and I was able to snap off a few pictures and hold the guys down for a few minutes to get the scoop on what they were up to!

    Recently our first batch of new Eastwood Welders have hit our warehouse and we have been working on getting these out to all of our customers that had pre-ordered. Because of this, we decided we'd break open a welder and do some more "real world" testing. We decided to build something that one of our customers may work on themselves. Below is a few shots of one of our R&D guys Mark welding up a roll cage from local roll cage provider S&W race cars. This thing went together nicely and was a treat to weld! Mark laid out some quick beads and the pile of tubes started looking like "something" pretty quick! The production welders performed flawlessly, just as all of our test units had done. We are excited to hear some reviews on these new welders and check out some of your handy-work with one of these!

    With it getting to be show season, a big thing people are doing is polishing all the shiny bits on their ride. We have some additional/new buffing pads coming available in our catalog shortly. These are just in time for "polishing season"! Below you can see the assortment that Joe is trying out on a painted test panel. You can see how well the test piece shines with just the small portion he had done. Keep an eye out for these real soon! I know I'm excited to try them out on the lips of my new (to me) multi-piece race wheels I am refinishing!

    Here at Eastwood many of us are as much enthusiasts as our customers. Because of that we are always looking to hone our skills and learn as much as possible about any product we currently sell. Today we had a master auto body technician come in and do a tutorial on some important techniques when using our spot welder. I found this very informative, especially when it came to the correct time to use each of the accessories for the spot welder. We hope in return we can pass some of this knowledge to our customers when you may have any questions or concerns. We also filmed this stud welding class and we are planning to edit this into a comprehensive video that we will be hosting on YouTube and also on our site. We hope that you can benefit from these tips as much as we did!

    As always, thanks for reading and let us know if there is anything you'd like to read about or any topics you'd like more information about!

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