Tag Archives: buffing
Many people confuse polishing and buffing, and when you are working in the automotive industry, it is important to differentiate between the two terms. Polishing is a process that removes a moderate amount of metal from a metal piece using coarse to medium abrasives in stages. After polishing a piece of metal, the piece will have a “brushed” type of look, and you will not be able to see reflections in the metal. Polishing removes small scratches and minor surface imperfections. During an auto body restoration or repair project, polishing will come before buffing. If you run your fingernail over a scratch on a vehicle's surface and it gets caught on the scratch, the area should be polished before buffing. Polishing a piece of metal enough will ideally even out the surface nicely during repairs.
We recently held a live tech demo on the basics to buffing metal. I gave some insight on the basics, tips, tricks, and safety when buffing. We had a great response for the Q&A and ran out of time to answer all of the questions. I wanted to answer all questions we missed live, so below are the answers for any we missed. Thanks for watching and drop us a line if you have an idea for another live tech demo! -Matt/EW
Datest41- How do you take pits out of chrome plated pot metal?
worker9270- How d you take pits out of chrome?
We had a lot of questions about this. The short answer to this is that you can't remove pits or rust or major imperfections in chrome. Chrome is a coating and much like paint once the rust or pitting is coming up from under the coating it can't be fixed without removing the coating and treating the surface. Minor spotting can be polished out of chrome, but major defects like pits, rust, flaking, etc can not be fixed with out stripping and chroming the part again.
alanbarclay73- Any tips for cleaning and protecting a rusty cast exhaust manifold?
The best way to clean a rusty cast manifold is to media blast it, then apply one of our exhaust manifold paints
swayman007- Can you use any of these to polish out scratches in glass?
The blue "plastic" compound may help with some hazing, but scratches (especially if you can feel them with your fingernail) are tough to get out of glass. Our Pro Glass Polishing Kit for Deep Scratches will be the best bet in that situation.
xplodee- Do you ever cheat on super soft metals by starting with emory compound rather than sanding?
I'd be a liar if I said I haven't! The only thing you have to be careful with is that it is easy to take too much material away when using the buff motor and a heavier compound or more aggressive buff wheel than suggested for that metal. Just be VERY careful when doing that and check your progress often.
wildfire02- Wouldn't it be better to polish really small parts in a vibratory polisher?
A vibratory polisher or tumbler works GREAT for small parts, but admittedly it does take quite a long time to get parts mirror polished with a tumbler. If you have a big pile of small parts to polish, I'd definitely say use the tumbler, but if you just have a handful or just a couple small items, it might be quicker/easier to use a buff wheel. It really depends on the situation.
swayman007- Can you use these wheels on a polisher sander for like polishing diamond plate?
It could be possible, but you have to make sure that the buff wheels can safely mount to your polisher and that the polisher rotates at the correct RPM range.
Datest41- What sort of wheel is used for step 1, 2, 3 and step 4?
I covered that in the video, but it's also laid out in a chart in a tech article on or site here: HERE
mimiof6- Does is matter what rpm the motor is?
It depends on what you're buffing and the size of the wheel and motor you're using. We recommend 3600 for most metals (lower is acceptable for plated parts and softer metals) and 1800 for plastics with a 10" buff wheel.
kennyredman- How often do you use a sisal wheel- would it have been appropriate on that rough sandcast?
The sisal wheel is used for heavy cutting and smoothing metal. It works well for smoothing rough metal when coupled with our greaseless compounds.
xplodee- the brass parts i polish are antique fans sitting inside?
It depends on the conditions they are exposed to, but we guarantee at least 3 months, but probably longer if they're inside a climate controlled situation.
wildfire02- do you have to change wheels with different compounds because of contamination or not mix?
It's a best practice because it is difficult to get ALL of the traces of old compound off of the wheel and it could be counter-active to the polishing procedure.
dreamboat77- don't you mean white compound? Rouge is red?
The white compound is referred to as "White Rouge" throughout the industry. Not sure who started that or why, but there is white AND red rogue compound. Red is generally the final coloring compound and a bit more delicate than the white rouge.
Datest41- what color is step 2?!?
It depends on the material that you're buffing or polishing. We have a good breakdown of the steps in the tech article on our site. You can see that here: Here
swayman007- how do you determine what size wheels to use 6", 8", or 10"?
It depends on the buff motor that you're using. Check your motor for details on which is best. We have a chart in our buffing tech article on the site. You can see it Here.
xplodee- What does everyone do to collect the dust from their buffer?
One idea I didn't hit on during the live feed was that you could let a shop vac run during the buffing process to pick up the dust thrown by the wheel. It isn't as good as a air filtration system, but it is a similar concept.
JorgeCardoso- I want to see how to work with the expander wheel, do you have any video?
We do not currently have a video on using the expander wheel. We'll work on getting one put up ASAP!
bamadio- You sell a 2 speed buffer motor. In what situations do you use each speed?
The higher speed is used for metal and the lower speed is normally used for plastics and delicate metals or plated parts.
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!
Related Eastwood Products: